Monday, January 9, 2012

Herding Cats Around London & Beyond

Finally!  I'm over the jetlag and the cold a kind passenger sitting close to me shared on the flight home from London.  Now I want to share some of the adventure and a few pictures with you.

As some of you know we made the trip with the Teen and the Tween.  Fun as it was, it also reminded me of herding cats.  Teen would get pulled off by something that caught her eye and of course she's too old (at least in her world) to hold hands with doddering grandparents, or stretch her legs and walk yards ahead of us.  That would be fine, except the streets were crowded and trying to locate her in a mob wasn't always easy.  By the time I got her rounded up, Tween had been attracted by some glittery object and wandered you see, just like herding cats.

But we didn't lose either of them, though they all lost me once when I went off after Teen, and we all made it back to Denver in one piece.

Day 1 we arrived in London to discover a train and subway strike.  That made getting to the hotel interesting.  Fortunately, one tube line did run to a major hub and the taxi ride didn't destroy our budget.  Taking one from the airport is expensive and the buses, well forget about it with luggage and all the bodies crammed in because of the strike.  Our plans for the afternoon were changed and we spent the afternoon wandering around Kensington instead of the trip across town for a walking tour.

Day 2 things were back on track with transportation.  We made it to the British Museum with no issues and even managed to find our friends without a lot of effort.  After fighting crowds there, we made it over to Trafalger Square where all kids got to climb and slide on the lions in yet, more crowds.  Think it's safe to say, we were all happy to relax over tea and enjoy the food and conversation at Fortnum & Mason.  Of course, we had tickets to the Ceremony of the Keys for that night and had to get back to the hotel and dress in more layers.  The girls enjoyed the longest running ceremony in the world and watching history in action.

Day 3 we headed back to the Tower of London on our all day city tour.  The Crown Jewels were impressive and the girls enjoyed (heaven help me) the weapons.  Something about evil looking items to inflict pain attracted their attention.  After the Tower we stopped by Westminster and Buckingham Palace (can you believe the Queen didn't hang around for our tea) for pictures.  Our guide gave us a lunch break and then we were off to more sites including a tour of St. Paul's Cathedral.  Our day ended with being dropped at the London Eye to stand in what seemed to be a never-ending line, but once our time came the view of London at night was magical.

Day 4 had a free morning.  We wandered through some of the shops PopPop wanted to hit at the Burlington Arcade and had a great lunch in the Piccadilly Arcade.  From there it was the theatre district and Phantom of the Opera.  Dinner was at an Indian restaurant where the employees told us to pick up Tween the next day.  They were going to put her to work for the prank she pulled on me when I came back from the ladies room.  It's nice to have staff interact with customers that way.

Day 5...up bright and early to catch the 6:00 a.m. bus for our out of city tour.  Stonehenge first.  We got to go into the stone circle, but they now have rules that you can't touch the stone (new since our last trip) and there was a bit of excitement when a man not only touched, but leaned his head against one.  He objected loudly and strenuously to security's escort from the circle.  Turns out he'd parked along the road, climbed the fence and cut through the fields.

After Stonehenge, we had breakfast in Leacock at a pub built in the 1300s and wandered around the town that has been the setting for a number of movies including a Harry Potter.

Then onto Bath.  Sampled the water (not as bad as I thought) and toured the Roman baths, then roamed the town until time to leave.

Day 6 started at Burough Market.  A fun marketplace that girls had to visit to try the cheese sandwiches Samantha Brown raves about in her travel video on London.  Yes, the sandwich was worth the effort and the lady behind the grill was kind enough to share how to make them, so look for her yummy recipe here at some point.

After lunch we headed for Harrods.  Can you say horror show?  Oh my goodness, the people.  And once again the cats (I mean girls) kept getting caught up in the mob.  PopPop and I did divide and conquer.  He took one to keep track of and I the other, with a pre-arranged meet up place.

Our goodbye to London dinner was at a neighborhood pub on New Year's Eve.  We were all exhausted and didn't welcome in the New Year at midnight.  After all, we had to be up early and out to the airport for our trip back.  And yes, I'm glad to be home.  But also look forward to the next trip.


June Kramin said...

*is jealous*
That is all :)

Lizzie said...

LOL...understand June. I feel the same what when someone mentions they are going to London. We love Great Britain...think my ancestoral roots are showing...*g*

Lisa Fender said...

sounds like you had loads of fun! I am jealous too, I would love to go to Europe, maybe some day!

Abigail-Madison Chase said...

London is my dream place to visit!

Lizzie said...

we did have fun, Lisa!

Lizzie said...

Abigail, I definitely recommend it...just not during the holidays. Waaaay too crowded and that takes some of the fun out of the experience.