Friday, January 10, 2014

London's Sights and Lights

   The day after Christmas, we jetted off to England for a week of exploring and a break from the French language which has proven to be our greatest barrier during this year abroad. Even though it took the kids a few conversations of the accent in the UK, they were so relieved to be able to have idle small talk with most anyone. Me too.
   We arrived at London's Gatwick airport and our transport to the city did not show up. We would have to find alternate means to get us into the city. The queue for cabs was 1 1/2 hours long. That was out of the question. We would take a train. Only problem was - trains weren't running that route as it was the off season, maintenance was taking place on the railways. We would have to be transferred by bus to a nearby train station to catch a train into the city. A couple of hours later and a very relaxing ride in my opinion( on the train anyway) the sights of London were visible. Big Ben, London Bridge, The was very exciting!
   We were counting on touring that day and i suppose we did to some respect, but by the time we arrived at our hotel, it was dark. My mother arranged for a fabulous apartment in Sloane Square, an gorgeous neighborhood where the square was strung with festive lights, pretty shops lined the streets and fine dining was on every corner. The subway was conveniently just up the street from our place. We dined in, of all places, a French Brasserie which was quite good.
   We were determined to make up some of the previous day's lost time but as you may know, getting three kids who like their slumber to hurry in the morning, in a challenge. But, off we went for a very long walk to watch the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. After a lengthy wait at the gates, we were informed the guard would not be playing their drums( a major draw to the experience) but we could see the changing anyway, just move down there a bit. Visibility was zero, the kids were frustrated and off we went. Oh well, the exercise did us all good. The wandering continued through wonderful parks, past all kinds of royal buildings and along the famous Picadilly where Harrod's is located, as well as Fortum and Mason, both a food lover's dream. A wonderful afternoon was had at the theater for a production of Mathilda- it was great.
   We managed to get the gang to Tower of London and part of the group spent the last morning at Madame Tussaud's wax museum which was good fun.
   Then...I was put in front of the wheel to drive us to the country on the wrong side of the road for the first time in my life, and that is where part two will start in the next post....
Sloane Square by night
Youngest Child looking very British
Waiting behind bars
There were horses....
Fabulous window displays
A sweet tooth's dream come true 
Stage at Matilda
London Bridge
A City Girl in the making 

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