Saturday, April 22, 2017

London Day 7

Last day of the trip. We had a wonderful time but honestly we were ready to go home. A week is a good vacation for us. Now we get to have all weekend at home to rest.

First hotel pictures:
I can't say enough good things about our hotel.

We stayed in room 204. Enter the room and this is it.
A closet on one side had closet space.
Opposite side was the kitchenette.
High tech environmental lighting, the lights only work when your key is in the slot.


Ally asked Becky to take lots of pictures of the bathroom. 

This is the skylight over the tub. It was great, we didn't even need a nightlight. 

Electric towel warmer
Very London. All the street signs look like this and list the neighborhood. This is from our walk to the bus. 

Ally and a Becky waiting for our bus. #74 two blocks from our hotel. We rode it several times. The Tube is faster than the bus, but the bus is less expensive and more scenic.

We had a few hours before we needed to get to the airport so we arranged to meet Annabel at the Victoria & Albert Museum. It was a spectacular place.

The entrance hall, it had an enourmous Dale Chihuly sculpture hanging in it. The museum was built as a symbol/ tribute of love between Queen Victoria and her husband Albert. 
Lots of very different things on display. 
I asked Ally to pose like the picture. She refused, but Becky played along.

One of our "must sees" for this museum was the fashion exhibit.



Greek sculpture, below Becky is standing at the one of Achilles being dipped into the river.

The building itself was incredibly beautiful. The mosaic floor, tin ceiling, mouldings, the entire space was impressive.


We toured the jewel exhibit, but photographs were prohibited in there. The silver room above was just so huge.
Above is the ceiling of the cafe! There were about 5 of those sculptures hanging in the space.
We left after a snack and a few hours. It was time to head to the airport. We walked back to the hotel, it was about a mile and very enjoyable.

We walked past the Natural History Museum.

Back to the hotel, picked up our luggage, walked to the Tube and rode that 45 minutes to the airport. Now is when I'm going to brag. 
We managed a whole week with no laundry in 2 carry-on wheeling suitcases, a tote bag and a back pack! Woo hoo for us! They were pretty heavy. But it was totally manageable for us, we could carry the luggage if we needed to, and we didn't check anything in. It was great! 
Once at the airport and thru security we had some lunch. 

Becky had a traditional dinner of fish and chips and a beer.
Ally had the kids grilled chicken and chips. She also ate all the peas (but not the beans) on her plate. Girl loves her some peas, just not mushy.

Family selfie on the plane!

Ally even ate some of the dinner! The rice in the Curry Chicken dish and she tried a pomegranate seed from the salad. 


But a highlight of the flight was that they gave us strawberry ice cream pops!!! I'd never had ice cream on an airplane before. 
It was a long 7 hour flight home. We landed at 8pm Boston time, which was 1am London time. Ally and I managed to stay awake the whole time, and Becky napped a little bit. Then we waited in customs for about an hour and took a cab home. We were home around 9:30pm. Greeted our pets, and got ready for bed. Ally and I were asleep by 1030pm, which felt like 330am in London. Everyone was awake this morning early, but that is good to start getting back to our usual time. 

It was a fantastic week. 
Ally said that everything was her favorite about London. Then qualified that and said almost everything, her feet hurting was not a favorite. LOL lots of walking. 
Becky's favorite thing was the British Museum and utilizing the buses so we saw a lot of London. 
I'd say the trip itself was my favorite, we went to see friends, and we did, which was a great thing in and of itself, and exploring a foreign place together as a family was really good.  I feel very lucky for being able to take the trip and for sharing it with Ally and Becky. 

My favorite picture of the three of us from the trip, taken in the courtyard of the V&A. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

London Day 6

It was packed day again today, even though Ally wasn't feeling her best we managed some fun activities and a nap and more shopping. I've realized what we save by not doing activities we spend shopping. Seems ok with me as it's stuff we get to take home as tangible memories! And Ally never has time for shopping at home so it's a fun vacation activity. Shopping in London is serious business. The dollar is very strong right now and to be honest, I can't believe how inexpensive everything is.
So today, we rode the Tube to Westminster, saw the London Eye, Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and the Churchill Statue. Then we took a cab to Picadilly Circus. Ally had a snack and we headed to an amazing stationary store Isobel told us about, and a really fun London purse/bag company I wanted to go to. It was part lunch by then and so we hailed a cab to go back to our hotel. I failed to "mind the gap" as the recording tells you on the Tube and elevator and I literally fell getting into the cab when I missed the curb. Classic a Julie moment. But no harm done, I got right up and into the cab. We arrived at our hotel, dropped off our packages and walked to a pub for lunch. Our lunch is in pictures below. After lunch we stopped at a bakery our friends insisted we try for some treats and then went back to our hotel for a rest. Ally actually took a nap. We woke her at 430 and walked to the bus stop, where we took the bus to Harrods. It was a little dour at Harrods with an exhausted little girl. But good for our wallets as nothing interested her. Even ice cream didn't perk her up, but Becky and I shared a delicious sundae and Becky had a cappuccino. We left Harrods and took a cab back to our hotel. Once here there was lots of games, reading and dinner while I packed us up for our flight home tomorrow. We are meeting up with Isobel's mom at the Victoria and Albert museum before we need to get on the Tube back to Heathrow Airport for our 5:30pm flight. 
It has really been a great vacation. Becky commented tonight that it's been better than she had hoped it would be. 

Ally took one look at the London Eye across the river and said "no way" that was fine with us, especially there was already a huge crowd and line at 11:00am, and it is expensive. 

You can tell she wasn't at her best. but Becky and I were in good spirits!


Big Ben!!!! Becky said it was pretty impressive on foot, and looked much bigger than we drove by on a Sunday in the car.

Some pictures of the Parliament buildings.

Winston Churchill!

Our selfie inside the Black Cab. Ally had been asking all week to ride in cab.

Once at Picadilly Circus we got Ally a snack. I spotted a place that said Donuts & Baguettes. She was sold and ate the whole donut and all the water!

After snack time it was picture time! We have to document that we were there after all.
Becky didn't quite get the statue in the frame, but you can see it below. 


We walked for a bit until we found our shops. It was lots of fun. 

Now starts our lunch montage, mostly for my mom:

Fish and chips, and yes I ordered the mushy peas, if you zoom in on the picture you can see they are on the menu! 

Becky had a bite of mushy peas.

She wasn't so sure about them


And gave them a thumbs-middle

Ally really did not want to try them, but in honor of Grandma Barbie she did. 
Thumbs Down was her response.
Feeding Ally is always a challenge on vacation. She doesn't like fish or beef of any kind hot dogs are usually rejected and so is macaroni and cheese. That doesn't leave much on a kids menu. At this pub we ordered her the kids meet pie and chips, and the chicken satay appetizer, without the peanut sauce. We brought the pie home for dinner, and Ally ate the chips and 2 of the chicken pieces. Kids meals here also all come with dessert.

My fish and chips with mushy peas (that is also Ally's mini pie). I was a little intimidated by the giant piece of fish. 
Ally loved her desert, a brownie with ice cream.

Ally chose a merengue as her treat from the bakery. It is HUGE almost as big as Becky's head. She tasted a bite of it and gave it two thumbs up!
The outside of Harrods. Inside was crazy big. We read it was 4.5 acres. Everything imaginable. I saw a sofa for 18,200£ that is almost $19,000.00. Designer clothes, jewelry, appliances, there was even a food court and a gourmet supermarket. Lots of restaurants too. 

Photo Opportunities are free and fun.

We took a cab back and enjoyed another evening in our hotel. Our room has a fridge and microwave and dishes and silverware, a coffee maker too. Perfect for the cereal eating kid! And great for her parents too. We will be sad to leave tomorrow, but happy to get home to our house and our pets.