Posted in Favorite things, Places, Thoughts, Travel

The Colors of Life

… that I miss a lot. Among tons of excitement life in London has to offer, its parks and gardens are things that I treasure so dearly (it is one of two best things in London). Especially when the leaves change colors during the most beautiful season of the year.

It was a period of life when I captured the same views for ten times in every corner. Sat on the bench while watching people, lay down on the grass while looking at the beautiful sky. Walked slowly around the quiet garden admiring my shoes, counting my steps, and taking some shadow selfies. Listened to my loud mind asking random things that I didn’t bother to answer. The period when I felt such enormous gratitude inside.

The period that I remembered telling myself often,“when life is on the low, remember that it was once this high and glow”.

It was one of the periods when life was the most beautiful and the heart was indeed beyond full.

Kew Gardens
Kyoto Garden
Southwark Park
Brockwell Park
Hyde Park
Posted in Review, Travel

Memperpanjang Paspor (+Anak) di MPP Jakarta Selatan saat Pandemi

Mudah, cepat, sepi, praktis.

Setelah tiga kali ganti paspor sejak pertama kali punya, baru kali ini prosesnya semenyenangkan ini. Paspor dewasa di atas tahun 2009 hanya perlu dua dokumen untuk perpanjangan : eKTP (asli dan fotokopi) dan paspor lama (asli dan fotokopi). Ngga perlu ada dokumen apapun lagi.

Sedangkan untuk paspor anak masih perlu dokumen-dokumen lain yaitu :

1. Paspor lama (asli-copy)

2. Fotokopi akte lahir

3. Fotokopi kartu keluarga

4. Fotokopi buku nikah orang tua

5. Fotokopi eKTP kedua orang tua

6. Surat pernyataan izin orangtua untuk memperpanjang paspor tandatangan di atas materai. Ini saya bikin sendiri.

Semua dokumen harus dibawa aslinya untuk verifikasi.

Pendaftaran dilakukan melalui aplikasi bernama APAPO (antiran paspor online). Bisa diunduh baik di Android dan IOS. Setelah memasukan data pribadi pilih mau perpanjang atau permohonan paspor baru. Nanti bisa pilih dimana kita mau perpanjang.

Setelah pilih MPP Jaksel, lalu pilih tanggal dan jam tersedia, lalu keluar barcode. Selesai.

Mal Pelayanan Publik Jaksel ini hanya melayani perpanjangan paspor baru karena hanya seperti outlet kecil di lantai 3. Jadi kalo untuk permohonan paspor baru harus datang ke salah satu kantor imigrasi wilayah.

Dalam situasi pandemi ini, masuk ke MPP perlu scan barcode yang nanti juga digunakan untuk keluar. Masuk ke lantai 1 lalu diberi nomer antrian dan bisa langsung ke lantai 3.

Sampai lantai 3, imigrasi ada di sebelah kanan. Waktu itu kami datang sesuai jadwal jam 11. Kosong ngga ada antrian sama sekali. Cek dokumen masing-masing, isi formulir, dan pengambilan foto dan biometrik.

Imigrasinya cuma bilik kecil seperti ini

Total dari datang sampai selesai untuk tiga orang sekitar 40 menit. Semua nyaman dan menyenangkan.

Kecuali, petugas yang ada di biometrik.

Penuh dengan basa-basi dan pertanyaan ngga penting yang tidak menyenangkan. Komentar-komentar sampah pun sesekali terdengar. Kalo ngga ada dia, saya kasih lima bintang. Tapi, karena ada dia, empat cukup.

Selesai proses foto dan biometrik dikasih tanda terima buat pembayaran dan pengambilan. Pembayaran bisa dilakukan di ATM yang tercantum di kertasnya. Petunjuk pembayaran juga sangat jelas.

Pengambilan paspor bisa dilakukan dalam 3 hari kerja dengan membawa kertas tanda pengambilan, bukti pembayaran dan kalo mewakili orang lain dalam satu keluarga harus menyertakan fotokopi kartu keluarga. Kalo yang bukan satu keluarga harus dengan surat kuasa.

Paspor lama di atas adalah paspor biasa. Paspor baru di bawah adalah paspor elektronik. Harga penggantian paspor biasa masih sama Rp 350.000 sedangkan paspor elektronik Rp 650.000.

Paspor baru sudah ada. Biarpun kapan dipakainya masih tanda tanya.

Posted in Favorite things, Places, Travel

London Night Lights

Few weeks before the departure, I finally managed to experience one of the most wanted thing to do after three times being in London : to see London at night.

It was beautiful. It felt even more special because it was also the farewell after more than a year living there. Seeing the city centre full of lights, walking from Oxford Street to Piccadily Circus then a night bus ride to Tower Bridge.

I won’t write long about this. Hope the pictures and the video showed the beautiful scenes enough.

That night, Frank Sinatra’s London by Night became the soundtrack on my head :

London by night is a wonderful sight
There is magic abroad in the air
I’m often told that the streets turn to gold
When the moon shines on Circus and Square
Deep in the dark that envelops the park
There’s romance in each cigarette glow
Down by the Thames, lights that sparkle like gems
Seem to wink at each girl and her beau

London by Night was indeed a wonderful sight.

Posted in Places, Review, Travel

Long Haul Flight with Emirates during Covid-19

I decided to book with Emirates over Qatar after reading that the latter didnt make PCR test compulsory for flying. Beside that, it’s been a while since I want to try Emirates again after the last time in 1994.

My first flight abroad to Manchester was Emirates and it was so impressive. So, this time my expectation was quite high.

And that became a jinx.

The reality was not up to the expectation. From check-in counter until on-board services.

We spent more than 1,5 hours queuing for check in and it was packed of people. Heathrow was full on the day we fly.

During boarding, it felt like we were not in Europe anymore. It was messy, crowded and the staff didnt do much to fix it. They called us based on seat rows. It was scheduled to take off at 13.40, but the plane was finally taking off at 15.00. Last minutes passengers kept coming.

The plane from London to Dubai was full, at least almost full. Three seats filled with two passengers, while the four seats with three passengers. Not sounds too good for current situation, right?

In a flight, they distributed a snack with hot drinks and a meal time. I didn’t order child meal considering it’s been always too bland but they still gave child meal for the little girl. The food variations on the tray was just so so. From the taste to variations. Fruits were absence. The taste was nothing extraordinary, or this is maybe really about my expectation speaking. The best airline meals that I have tried so far, the best one still goes to JAL. So does the service.

They dont give any special amenities for children, which Qatar does and also, as far that I know, Qatar gives face shield and child mask to little passengers. Safety kit were distributed on London-Dubai flight. It contained 3 ply of masks, gloves and wipes hand sanitizer.

Flight attendants were all wearing face mask, cap, and gloves. They’re attentive enough. In Dubai-Jakarta flight, I asked milk for the little girl to one of the FAs but she said they didnt have any other than the small cup to be poured on tea or coffee. I said it was okay. I just asked few of them. She gave me two and later returned with more in a cup. I said thank you and happy with the gesture. Not long, there were two FAs stopped by my seat and they handed me a box of white milk, and that was so far the most impressive service I had during two flights with Emirates that day.

But overall, I couldnt help comparing them with the service I received during two flights with JAL. So, the standard has been set pretty high. Something that is Japanese always do, in almost every aspect of life, just like when I write here.

Honestly, I didnt have any regrets choosing Emirates over Qatar, although it means losing a chance to earn the Qmiles points. I was curious about how their service and it’s been few times that I canceled Emirates for not losing Qmiles points.

My experience might be different considering the day we had the flights was the first day when lockdown was lifted in England. So people might have been waiting for that. Time they will be able to get out of the cold weather and fly to somewhere warmer.

Despite everything I wrote above, the most important things was they flew me safely back home. In current situation (and any situations), the most important thing of any services could do is to get their job done.

Posted in Langit Senja, Thoughts, Travel

Sekolah Anak di London

Sebagai orang yang punya cukup pengetahuan (dan ketertarikan) masalah sekolah dan pendidikan, satu tahun lebih di London ini membuka mata lebih lebar lagi tentang kedua hal tersebut.

Sebelumnya saya cukup yakin tentang apa yang saya mau untuk anak saya, (merasa) tau sekolah mana yang pas buat anak saya, dan sudah mempersiapkan hal-hal yang mendukung ke arah sana.

Tapi, beberapa tahun belakangan, dengan banyak hal yang terjadi, dengan kejutan-kejutan yang dikasih oleh yang punya hidup, baik dan buruk, saya seperti dipaksa untuk belajar lagi semua dari awal.

Setahun ini saya belajar banyak dari hal-hal yang saya alami di sini. Salah satunya dari sekolah anak saya.

Saya sudah pernah cerita betapa saya suka sekali dengan sekolah anak saya. September ini di tahun ajaran baru, anak saya mulai masuk ke year 1. Year 1 di sini masih lebih mirip TK B. Masih seperti perpanjangan dari Reception tahun lalu.

Sekolah negeri di sini, secara gamblang terlihat gratis. Padahal sebenarnya ngga. Semua dibayar oleh pajak. Seperti kebanyakan negara Eropa, pajaknya itu tinggi sekali, tapi semua dikembalikan untuk kepentingan umum. Makanya bisa ngga perlu khawatir bayar sekolah, biaya pengobatan kalo sakit, bisa nikmatin transportasi umum yang baik, taman-taman kota dengan playground yang bagus dimana-mana, dan masih banyak lagi.

Kami datang ke sini dengan visa kerja, jadi berlaku juga sebagai pembayar pajak. Kalo inget bedanya besar gaji (pak dokter) sebelum dan sesudah pajak, bisa sakit kepala dan nyeri dada. Maka itu jarang inget, jadinya alhamdulillah seneng-seneng aja. Justru yang lebih terasa enaknya. Seperti bisa periksa apapun gratis, kacamata dan periksa ke dokter gigi anak pun gratis.

Balik lagi ke masalah sekolah. Di sekolah Langit, setiap level hanya ada dua kelas, masing-masing kelas sekitar 25 anak. Dari Reception sampai Year 1, temen sekelasnya sama. Baru akan dicampur di Year 2. Dalam prakteknya dua kelas ini main sama-sama. Jadi, antara kelas A dan B kenal semua teman-temannya.

Kelas di sekolahnya ini menggunakan nama-nama dari alam seperti warna pelangi dan batu-batuan. Di Reception, Langit masuk ke kelas Magenta, di Year 1 kelas Indigo.

Selain ngga pusing masalah pembayaran sekolah (kecuali beli jumper dan jaket sekolah), di sekolah juga disediakan makan siang gratis. Selama di Reception, Langit bawa makanan sendiri, tapi setelah lockdown, ikut makan di sekolah. Makanannya pilih yang menu vegetarian atau paling ngga fish and chips plus sayur dan buah.

Sekolah ‘ngga bayar’, makan siang gratis, berikutnya : sekolahnya dekat. Di sini kita bisa tinggal di mana yang cocok baru cari sekolah. Karena sekolah negeri cukup banyak dengan kualitas yang sama. Jadi ngga perlu pusing dengan jarak antar rumah dan sekolah. Anak-anak ke sekolah naik scooter dan sepeda. Kami kadang-kadang naik bis, sekitar 15 menit.

Selain jarak, salah satu hal paling ideal buat saya adalah jam masuknya, jam 8.45. Buat anak-anak menurut saya pas. Salah satu alasan saya pilih TK yang sebelumnya di Jakarta adalah karena mereka masuk jam 8.30. Waktu masuk ini kasih ruang yang cukup buat anak dan orang tuanya supaya bisa melewati setiap pagi dengan waras.

Untuk ukuran sekolah Indonesia itu siang banget, tapi buat saya ideal karena dengan jam masuk seperti itu, sebelum sekolah, Langit di umur menuju enam tahun ini, bisa melakukan rutinitas paginya tanpa terburu-buru.

Setahun di sini, saya seperti memformat ulang semua kebiasaan dan bersyukur sekali untuk itu. Rutinitas pagi dalam setahun belakangan adalah :

1. Bangun pagi sekitar jam 5 lalu sarapan kecil (roti,buah, susu).

2. Solat subuh sama-sama dan hafalan qur’an surat pendek.

3. Waktu bebas 20 menit buat main. Biasanya main lego, main apa aja sesuka dia.

4. Latihan piano. Piano ini sekitar 30-40 menit.

5. Sarapan besar (nasi dan lauk) lalu siap-siap ke sekolah.

Semua rutinitas pagi ini dijalankan tiap hari, tujuh hari seminggu tanpa kecuali.

Jam belajar sekolah di sini cukup panjang, sampai jam 15.30. Dulu saya ngeri sekali dengan jam belajar sepanjang ini lima hari seminggu. Apalagi sebelumnya di Jakarta belajar cuma 3 jam 3 hari seminggu. Tapi ternyata, setelah dijalanin, biasa aja dan anaknya pun keliatan seneng aja tiap pulang sekolah.

Hal ini mungkin dikarenakan faktor senang selanjutnya : sekolahnya santai. Ngga ada itu PR-PR. PRnya cuma satu : baca buku. Baca bukunya pun bukan berarti anaknya harus sudah bisa baca, tapi dibiasakan suka membaca dengan didampingi orangtua.

Bukunya pun disesuaikan dengan kemampuan masing-masing anak. Bukan soal cepat-tidaknya bisa baca. Jadi, ngga ada yang peduli juga buat bandingin satu anak dan yang lain. Masing-masing anak diberikan dua buku untuk dibaca selama seminggu. Nanti di satu hari akan ada sesi baca satu lawan satu dengan gurunya atau diminta menceritakan kembali tentang isi buku tersebut. Semua aktivitas baca ini ditulis di satu buku : reading record.

Fokus utama di tahun-tahun awal ini hanya tiga pelajaran : reading, writing, dan basic math. Ada pelajaran lain seperti science, art, tapi bukan yang utama. Di sini ngga ada ulangan, ngga ada UTS, UAS, kecuali di akhir year 1 (atau 2 ya?) nanti ada tes spelling.

Di jam belajar sepanjang itu mereka juga punya waktu free flow di mana anak bebas nentuin mau ngapain. Main di luar, baca buku, atau apa aja yang tersedia.

Selain sistem yang berjalan, hal lain yang saya agak berat sekali ninggalin adalah lingkungan sekolah ini. Gurunya, teman-temannya, orangtua muridnya, semua bagian sekolah ini baik. Auranya positif.

Guru-gurunya encouraging sekali. Saya yang banyak khawatirnya tentang banyak hal, setelah parent teacher meeting, kaya menguap semua kekhawatirannya. Tau kalo anak saya yang semi berkebutuhan khusus baik-baik saja, ngga ada yang lebih disyukuri dari itu. Di sini, punya kebutuhan khusus, bukan masalah besar. Semua diperlakukan sama dan punya support sesuai kebutuhan.

Grup WA orang tua murid ada, tapi jauh dari annoying. Ngga ada yang spamming pesen atau forward WA ngga jelas, aktif kalo emang ada yang penting banget, ngga ada pressure apa-apa. Pas banget buat saya yang males basa basi. Perbedaannya jauh sekali sama grup wa sekolah di Jakarta dulu yang tiap hari ‘berisik’ sekali. Ada info yang bermanfaat, tapi lebih banyak yang ngga.

Kalo ditanya masalah teknis, sekolah ini udah punya semua yang saya perlu buat sekolah anak yang ideal.

Kecuali satu hal yang mana buat saya paling krusial.

Masalah solat.

Tantangan hidup di negara empat musim adalah waktu solat yang berubah sepanjang tahun dan ketika winter ini adalah yang paling sulit.

“Ah, anaknya kan masih kecil, belum wajib juga”.

Itu makanya saya selalu percaya timingnya Allah itu ngga pernah meleset. Dikasih ke London pas sekali umur Langit segini. Dalam segala hal. Termasuk solatnya. Kalo kesini lebih besar lagi, saya akan gelisah gimana dia akan solat kalo pas winter solat zuhur, asar, maghrib semua dihabiskan ketika masih di sekolah.

Tahun lalu dia hanya baru solat maghrib dan subuh. Tiga bulan lockdown, bisa lengkap solat lima waktu, dan saya ngga pengen mundur lagi ketika waktu untuk wajib solat mendekat.

Mungkin ini satu-satunya hal yang bikin hati bisa lebih ringan buat pulang.

Solat ini hanya satu bagian tapi buat saya yang menentukan semuanya karena solat bukan ‘cuma’.

Perjalanan mencari sekolah ke depan ngga akan mudah. Saya dan ayahnya banyak sekali diskusi dan revisi tentang pemilihan sekolah ini. Kami tau yang kami mau, tapi tentu banyak konsekuensi yang mengikuti dan ngga ada jalan lain selain kompromi.

Sekolah di London cukup banyak sekali membuka mata dan pandangan tentang apa yang kami mau dan perlu dari sebuah sekolah. Mau jadi apapun anak saya nanti, pada akhirnya seperti yang pernah saya tulis sebelumnya, saya cuma mau anak saya jadi manusia yang baik.

Posted in Places, Travel

Brighton : Stone’s Throw from London

It took only less than two hours from we stepped out from our home in south east London until we arrived at Brighton Railway Station.

Brighton is just one hour away from London Bridge Station. Although it’s more popular and suitable for summer holiday destination since the city is located by the sea, but short visit during weekend in autumn was not a bad idea either.

I always have a specific idea inside my head when choosing a destination. Brighton chosen because of a stunning by a picture from BBC here.

It’s been called the greatest wildlife spectacle in Britain and the winter months are the best time to witness this. Brighton and Eastbourne are well known for their dramatic displays.The picture is called Murmurations.

Murmurations are huge groups of starlings that twist, turn, swoop and swirl across the sky in beautiful shape-shifting clouds. Just before dusk, small groups of starlings from the same area come together above a communal roasting.Then, to Brighton we went. Stayed at budget hotel three minutes from the station, booked a room without breakfast, no other specific itinerary than watching the show at the beach.

The beach is fifteen minutes from the hotel.The first day spent at the highlight of Brighton, The Palace Pier. It’s a fun fair by the sea. Opened in 1899 and has survived two world wars. Home to fairground, restaurants, and deckchairs to enjoy the sea view.

The place is perfect for a sunny bright day, but we happened to have a heavy rainy day during the visit. Cold, wet, with strong wind. No sunset view.Just like the wise words say, “If it rains on your parade, dance in it”, so we did.

The little girl enjoyed few rides in the fun fair, and I had my chance to witness the main show although it wasn’t as planned. Bought a pack of hot donuts and ate it by the sea, still with the strong wind and rain.

We went back to the hotel for short rest then having dinner with the doctor’s friend and her husband who lives in Brighton. Our dinner was classic indian food which I found pretty good.

The next day, we went out early to explore the city. Hove Beach Hut, rows of colorful houses by the beach, to Open Market which that time was still closed because we were quite early. From the market, we accidentally found a playground and let the little girl play for a while.

The Lanes is one of the famous spot in Brighton. Small local shops sell many kind of things from clothes to vintage items. Survived this place without a single purchase and stick to theme of the trip.

As the weather was getting dark, we went back to the hotel to have lunch in a small japanese resto nearby. Japanese food never failed to comfort the tummy in a rainy day.

It’s been a while since the last time we had short nap in between during traveling. We had short nap and woke up when it was almost sunset. Hurrily dressed up and off to the beach by walk to catch the sunset.

This Brighton trip might be the most plain that we have ever had so far. Maybe because it was kind of trip that should be done in one day like Oxford and Cambridge.But, the beach and the funfair for the little girl was worth the budget spent.

Been trying to put some pictures and all failed. Maybe later.

It feels slightly sad and glad knowing that Brighton might be our closing trip in this country. Sad for leaving luxurious things that we could never have in Jakarta yet, so glad to be given so many chances to explore the beauty of this country.

We have had more than we could ask for. And that’s enough. Alhamdulillah.

Posted in Favorite things, Places, Travel

Autumn in London

My favorite season and month of the year is here. The beautiful colors are everywhere and I couldn’t get enough of them.

These below taken from few locations like Kew Gardens, Stratford, Brockwell Park as well as my lovely neighbourhood.

Inspired by James Clear newsletter opening :
Autumn is in full swing here in Ohio (London) and the fall colors are starting to pop. Wherever you are today, I hope you’re enjoying some beauty as well.

Posted in Favorite things, Places, Travel

Two Best Things of London

It is their parks and their integrated public transportations.

Two things that I envy the most once we return. Their parks are huge, clean and beautiful. You can have picnic during summer, reading book with beautiful autumn leaves view, having conversation while sipping a coffee and munching some snacks in their small square all over the city. The big ones usually have a proper playground. A chance to spend a year enjoying lots of playgrounds in this city is one of my daughter best privileges during her golden period. My heart is crying a lot whenever the thought of losing such things appear.

Below are some pictures about those two from my recent trips around the town.

1. Kensington Garden

Late Princess Diana most favorite royal parks.

Not far from the lake, there is Kensington Palace, currently the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children, Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank and soon their little bundle of joy.

2. Green Park

The park leads to Buckingham Palace. Visited this park on the first day of autumn 2020.

Waiting for all the leaves show their beautiful autumn colors.

3. Primrose Hill Park and Playground

Their TFL services are not all excellent but, I couldnt ask any better. You can go everywhere for your daily activities with any means of transport available. Bus, underground,and my most favorite overground. It takes time yes, but a year using it everywhere, trying every underground line, getting off in some random stations, walking in small lanes without specific destinations and map help, then when the feet are tired, you can just find the nearest underground station then making stop in the line that will bring you home or the closest station where you can catch your bus.

One of this pandemic blessing in disguises is a more comfortable experience in riding underground and overground. I spent the last few weeks riding on underground, overground, or long bus ride to any random destinations with one purpose : reading and finishing a book. What could be better than reading a book while having an empty carriage all for yourself?

I have said this countless time yet never tired to repeat it :

Living in London, during this specific time, in good health and wealth, being allowed to experience things that I treasure a lot, is truly one of the best chapters of my life.

And I’ll always be forever grateful for this.

Posted in Places, Travel

Regular Life VS Occasional Tourist in London

It’s certainly different vibe between living and being a tourist in this city.

Regular life in London is either dealing with house works and the little girl’s lessons or having short trip mostly between school and market. The uniforms worn are sneakers and shirt with backpack, shopping bag or shopping trolley. Two hours spent by moving from one supermarket to another, choosing which ingredients to buy, standing and thinking hard on the pastry section, the discounted fruits and vegetables, making decision which item to be taken home in When it’s Gone Its Gone section.

Always go home with bags full of stuff.

While being (regular) tourist in the central spent by walking around Leicester Square-Covent Garden-Seven Dials-China Town-Oxford Street-Regent Street then finished at Piccadily Circus. Dressing up wearing blazer, nice blouse, and suede boots. A proper attire to be comfortably going in and out certain stores.

Two hours spent by choosing books on the sale basket, went in and out few book stores, stopping by little shops around the corner, taking the less crowded small alleys, people watching, listening to different languages spoken everywhere, enjoying performance from street musicians while munching some snack brought from home.

Always go home with the slightly lighter bags since the snack and water bottle are gone. Almost no stuff bought, unless it’s something needed.

Just like today, playing tourist in the last batch of lovely summer weather. Moving from one landmark to another by walk without maps. Just turned left or right in any interesting streets seen, until the time was up.

Went home by the nearest tube station and stopped at the interchange station for Jubilee line. Sitting in front of a couple, watched the girl busy cleaning her new spotless white shoes. Turned out it was Alexander Mcqueen. No wonder then.

London underground has never been so comfortable than ever. Space between seats, mask on for everyone. No more sardened in tube madness.

Arrived home tired yet happy. Had a bowl of cereal for lunch, short nap and changed to the usual uniforms. Comfortable shirt and sneakers. Ready for school pick up.

Enjoying the regular life as much as being an occasional tourist in this city, something considered far beyond lucky.

Posted in Favorite things, Places, Travel

Got Lost in (Small Parts of) Cotswolds

Beside Lake District, another point of must visit in UK is the beautiful villages under the name of Cotwolds. Cotswolds consist of many beautiful villages and AONB areas.

We couldn’t visit them all and chose which one that suited our preference and of course, budget. Although tourism is currently trying hard to return to bussiness, traveling in summer is as expensive as the pre-covid situation. At least, for me.

For the same hotel, the price for one night in summer is three times than it is in the autumn. But, since there was one full week off schedule from the doctor, summer holiday was only one week to the end, so off we went.

The Map of Cotswolds

Our trip started from Cirencester-Bibury-Bourton on the Water-Stow on the wold and went back home from Moreton in Marsh.

I found a good offer to ride on the bus to Cirencester, which is considered as the capital of Cotswolds. One way ticket for three at £19 was too good to be missed. More, for some place that only took 2 hours from London Victoria coach station. Even better, a local bus from our flat took us directly to the bus station.

Just like last trip to Lake District, we went to many places but this time it was less uncomfortable because we didnt do car hire. We would rely on the bus and taxi. It was actually more expensive, but choice was limited.We stayed at two different hotels, one in Cirencester and another night in middle of Bourton on the Water and Stow on the Wold.

We arrived in Cirencester at noon and it was still another three hours for check in. So we waited and visited Abbey Ground Park in the city centre. There was a playground and a picnic table for us to enjoy our packed lunch. After an hour, pouring rain came and we had to keep going. Fortunately, it didnt take long and we also could do the check in before 3 pm.

It was nice to let go all those bags from the back. My age doesnt fit with backpack kind of travel anymore. Cotswolds was an exception.

We had short rest and prayed in our nice room then continued to explore the town after that. It was slightly bigger than Penrith. More tourists were seen but very far from crowded.

There was nothing much to see there. The church, the beautiful village houses and its lovely garden, and the little shops. We missed to see Cirencester Park, as it was closed at 5 pm. We arrived there five minutes before it was closed.

After that, we had dinner at a Thai restaurant and it was pretty good. The better thing, we chose a perfect time to travel. UK government made a campaign Eat Out to Help Out to help food and beverage bussiness. Dine in for 50% discount every Monday-Wednesday in almost every restautant across UK. So, we truly only paid for half than the usual price for our dinner that night.

We planned to revisit Cirencester Park in the morning, but the weather said no. It was heavy rain from early morning and our plan for that day could fail miserably. But, the show must go on, right? We took taxi to Bibury from the hotel. It took only 20 minutes riding. Bibury has one most photographed street called Arlington Row.

These houses belong to the real people. I couldnt imagine how much the tourists caused them disturbance all year long. Since it was raining that day, there were only one or two groups of tourist while we were there.

I felt less guilty since it was raining so we only spent no less than 15 minutes there. Funny that it had been sunny and burning hot for the last two weeks but it was rain hard right when we visited. We only stayed for an hour in Bibury since it was almost nothing to see other than the famous row. In the planning, we would take bus to Bourton on the Water but we missed it and had to take taxi again instead.

It wasn’t as near as expected and paid pretty expensive taxi fare was unavoidable. But, that day, the weather wasn’t on our side. It was even raining harder in Bourton on the Water. That became my concern since Bourton on the Water was the highlight of this trip.We stopped at one of the small restaurants to have some warm drinks and snacks while waiting the rain stopped.

After an hour, the rain seemed showing no good intention to let us wander without getting soaked. So, we had no other choice but to proceed to the next hotel by catching the next available bus. The next bus would be within 30 minutes since we finished eating.While we waited for the bus, we looked around the small shops near the bus stop.

I always found little shops in the small town charming. If we looked carefully, one or two usually have something unique that you couldn’t find anywhere else. It wasn’t comfortable window shopping with all the heavy bags on the back and shoulder, almost no picture taken since the other hand was busy holding the umbrella. I was quite dissapointed that we just missed Bourton on the Water like that. Because we might never comeback twice here.

The hotel was only 15 minutes bus riding from centre. It seemed near, but we couldn’t do it by walk because there was no space for pedestrian. We had to pass a big road that was impossible to walk there. We spent the rest of the day inside.

Maybe the rain understood the price of the hotel so it made us use it very well by staying there as long as we could.The idea of returning to London without paying proper visit to Bourton on the Water was too unbearable. So, changed plan was made.

We supposed to visit Stow on the Wold city centre in the morning before heading to Moreton in Marsh station for the train to London. We dropped it and decided to return to Bourton on the Water once again.

The weather was on our side too that day. It was sunny and warm.We became the first one who showed up at breakfast lounge and left the hotel right after breakfast by taxi. We arrived at 9.10 am and had asked the driver to pick us back around 12.10.

We had at least three hours in Bourton on the Water. Bourton on the Water is always on the top list in any Cotswolds article. It is considered as the Venice of Cotswolds. It’s a very beautiful village with the water view and little ice cream shops by the river. Lovely is such underrated word to describe it.

So grateful for such weather and a chance to enjoy Bourton on the Water in a sunny day, although with the price of skipping Stow on the Wolds.We couldn’t just get everything, right?

We came and left Bourton on the Water at the right time because when we arrived it was quiet and peaceful and when we left, more crowd and traffic seen around the city centre.

This might be one of the less comfortable trips we had so far. It had the feel of day trip with the weight of stay overnight trip. Traveled without luggage and took our backpacks only. We carried them everywhere just like backpacker. It was uncomfortable, especially when you’re no longer a teenager or in your 20s. But, it could be a good thing for the little girl.

We heard more of her nagging and whining on this trip. Moving places without car hire, bags on the back everywhere, long walks in cold and rainy weather, sunny and sweaty without scooter, and many more. It was even more uncomfortable since she is now having her own opinion, wants, preference, and knowing she has to adjust hers with others too. She has to compromise, wait and understand that sometimes, or many times, she just couldn’t get everything.

Facing many more uncomfortable situations on her own in the future are obviously unavoidable.Thus, no other way than to prepare her for the job. It’s ten times harder on the trainers.

Who is happy watching the child ‘suffer’, listening to the whining and nagging?

We’re not. But, we must.

I

It was short, a trip with a bit of unpleasant weather, yet I still found it was worth all the hassle and money.It was a good decision to go on the beginning of the week.

I learn that the elder needed equal rest days at home as the days spent on the road.

Go when you’re young. Don’t wait.