TRAVEL THERE: STRANDED IN A FROZEN DICKENSFEST
“You can’t always get what you want!” The Rolling Stones were spot on with that one – especially when it came to this vacation. The Polar Express gypped me out of my luminaries on the Riverwalk and then followed me to the beach.
My mom used to say things like, “If you had the sense God gave a goozle,” (and I’m not exactly sure what a goozle is) but I’m sure my husband was thinking the same sort of thing as we froze our assets off, strolling down the Strand.
Important, but Chilly Anniversary
I was expecting big things from this British-flavored festival with its side order of Victorian literature. This was the fortieth Dickens-on-the-Strand and for the first time, it was a three day festival, not just an overnight flash in the pan. What I didn’t expect was London! Actually London has been warmer the few times I’ve been there. This was more like the cold, wet, windy day I’d visited Coventry Cathedral and had nothing but a thin windbreaker between me and the chill. I think that’s the coldest I’d ever been up until that day in Galveston.
Bill really does deserve the Champion Husband of the World Award – at least in the travel department. Anyone with any sense would have headed back to Dallas after our frozen stay in San Antonio, but not me. I was going to Dickens on the Strand and I had friends to see. The friends were worth it. Dickens? Not so much. The festival may have been in full swing the day before, but on it’s inaugural first Sunday, it was a ghost story, and not in a cozy Christmas Carol way.
Still, we found a cheap place to park, walked several blocks to the entrance, paid our fee and landed virtually nowhere. A few braves souls strolled the streets in their Victorian finery, but we had to decide who was dumber for showing up – us or them. A few performers mounted stages and tried to entertain the lost souls wandering the Strand, but it was cold enough out there without stopping and standing in one place. The greatest hub of activity was an area for steam-punk enthusiasts, an important factor in the popularity of the festival, but try as I may, I have very little, beyond a passing interest, in steampunk – and Bill had less than that.
When All Else Fails, Eat
We might have had an interest in chestnuts roasting on an open fire, but most of the heat seemed to be at Yaga’s Cafe. The crowded interior didn’t seem to suffer from it’s lack of an identifiable theme in the decoration or menu. The service was friendly, if not adequate, and the food adequate, if not tasty.
Lunch behind us, we explored the island by car for awhile and decided we’d certainly return, but next time, we’d rent a beachside cottage and the weather would be warmer. For dinner we drove back towards Houston to meet some Pearland friends, Jimmy and Melanie, at Pappas Seafood House. Now that was good seafood and good company. We are fortunate in our friends, even if we don’t always make the best decisions about when to visit the beach.
So, should you go to Dickens on the Strand? I might go back someday, but I’d check the weather, go on Saturday and stay somewhere besides the Beachfront Palms. Come back next week and we’ll start thinking about a new trip!