London is always great, from what I can imagine. I’ve always had a special place in my heart for London though I really don’t know why.
Our visit last year was ideal. Great weather and we were able to see a lot of the top attractions on the must-see list. Of course, a single trip can’t contain everything a city has to offer, but last year we got a good taste of London, taking the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus tour. This year we had decided to do a different tour, the Sandeman’s Free London Walking Tour. We had taken this tour in Prague and really enjoyed a lot. I was looking forward to hearing the guide tell us all about London.
When we woke up after a great night’s sleep (for Matt and I anyway… we had been given the master bedroom…) we got up to what looked like a pretty day. As we rode the train into the city we were even more confident that the weather was going to hold up. However, after being underground for 10 minutes, we emerged to find rain. A cold, wet, nasty, gross, ugly, rain. (Can you tell I was not digging the rain?)
We had discussed a back-up plan in case of rain: Science Museum! And the best part is that it was free. After a quick assessment the moms and kids ducked back into the underground and walked about ten (dry) minutes to the museum. The babies got to stretch their little legs and the bigs got to manipulate all sorts of scientific things.
We ate lunch in the basement of the museum, right before Parker had the biggest melt-down I’ve ever seen him have. It lasted a good ten minutes and I finally found out what he needed: for me to carry him in the Ergo on my back. He fell asleep before too long and this gave Jess a chance to get Connor off of her back and into the stroller.
Aimee and I were sore the next day from carrying the strollers up and down the stairs of the tube without our husbands… usually they are there to help us. The bigs did a good job of helping when they could and there were also a LOT of Londoners who offered to help as well. Even with all the stairs, London is still way more stroller-friendly than Paris.
So, after the museum we took the tube back to where we were to meet the men who had toughed out the rain and gone on the walking tour. My boys, Owen, and I were supposed to ride the London Eye at 2:00 so we ended up having to leave for our activity before we saw the men. When we left Aimee, Jessica, and the other babies it was drizzling. As the boys and I crossed the Westminster Bridge it was windy, rainy, and gross. It was so nasty that it woke Parker from his much-needed nap. By the time we got to the Eye (five minutes later) the weather was much nicer.
We had purchased timed tickets with the fast-track option and had a very short wait. We had clear, blue skies as we rode the Eye and we really had a great time.
Parker entertained the other passengers by walking in circles as we took the thirty-minute journey around. He would get walking pretty fast, swinging that one arm wildly, then, as he got to me, he’d look up and say, “Mommy, I running.” So cute! People were taking pictures of him.
Speaking of pictures, I got a few that I was happy with but overall, the pictures I took on this entire trip disappoint me. I think my mind was more focused on visiting that I just didn’t take a lot of pictures, and when I did take them, I was not really paying attention to what I was doing.
After the boys and I exited the Eye we went inside the nearby building to watch the London Eye Experience, a 4-D movie during which a fire-breathing dragon sneezed on us… and we got wet. It was cute, and the boys had a really great time. (I am not surprised but they liked it as much as the Eye itself!)
Meanwhile the rest of HHJ were checking out some other cool things in London: Matt, Aimee, and Cory had gone to see the inside of Westminster Abbey and then had gone to see Abbey Road, where the Beatles took that famous picture. Jessica and Zak had taken Kayla and Connor to a park to play.
At the tube station the boys and I took to get from the London Eye to Hard Rock Café was a KrispyKreme. You KNOW I didn’t pass by that without getting a box.
We got to the restaurant before the other two groups, so I let the bigs run around in Green Park for a while. I entered Hard Rock Café at the time we had all decided to meet there and the host sat us down immediately, giving us two tables. Within in five minutes Jess and Zak arrived with babies in tow. Ten minutes later Aimee, Cory, and Matt joined us.
We enjoyed a great dinner and fun conversation, sharing the stories of the day. The bigs sat at a table by themselves and talked, and as they sat there, Bailey began falling asleep sitting upright. I had forgotten to bring the Tylenol/Motrin that I usually give them at lunch in order to combat the leg cramps that I know are going to show up. Carson’s legs started to bother him and so he rode a lot of the way to the next destination on Matt’s shoulders.
As we left the restaurant we walked to the tube station that would take us where we wanted to go. Just before we arrived we passed a Starbucks and I ran in to get my “England” and “London” mugs to replace the two that have cracked. I’m fortunate that it was those two that cracked because that made replacing them easy!
That next destination was Tower Bridge. We arrived at sunset and took some fun & funny pictures by the bridge, and enjoyed being there together.
We headed back to the Hill Estate by train, giving everyone a snack that Aimee and I had packed before we ever left Wiesbaden. There is a great sense of satisfaction and joy I find in preparing things for my family (and friends who are family) and I was glad I had thought of that train ride home as being one that might require a little TLC. We were tired from the day and needed a little pick-me-up. (Well, not all of us needed it, but the kids, for sure.)
That night the moms all went to bed excited to sleep late, but really hoping the men wouldn’t wake the babies as they left for the train station the next morning.
I have a hard time enjoying the sights and taking good pictures at the same time. Its like you can’t have it both ways. Either you experience the city first hand and your photography suffers or else you just see the sights through your lens only.
Glad to know I’m not the only one!
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