Sunday, November 8, 2009

Did I Ever Tell You...We Went to London

I never blogged about London, did I?! Halloween just snuck up on me and then before I knew it I had a load of pictures to sort through.

This post has A LOT of pictures. I would have separated them into different posts but it just seemed easier to put in order if it was like this.

Anyway! There are a lot of pictures and I tried to keep my commentary to a minimum. (SO unlike me, huh?)

Okay, well here goes...

Plane Ride
We got our tickets for $20 each on RyanAir. Crazy, huh? The trick is though our flight was at 6:00 a.m. and we could only bring carryons...which was okay since we were only going to be there for a few days. This is our backpack trip through London.

We were one of the last ones off the plane because of the baby. The Flight Captain (pilot) let Xanthe wear his flight jacket.

At the Airport
Can you tell we're all pretty toasty? We had to get up at 4:00 a.m. and didn't go to bed til about 1 a.m. Here we are getting something to eat at the Burger King inside the airport. It's pretty interesting the different types of food they serve at the different country's fast food. This one has huge links of sausage on EVERY sandwich, almost like hot dog sliced in half. In Germany, they serve mostly ham and cheese pancettas, cold cereal and croissants. I like Germany's fast food better, although they don't have much, which is a very good thing, right?

Double Decker Tour Bus Ride
We are total tourists. We love the double decker bus rides. Mostly cuz I LOVE random useless facts of information and the candid tour guides are just bursting with random tidbits they NEED to share.

Seeing a few sites
(I know a lot of you have seen these sites, but Xanthe was doing most of the picture taking, so I thought it was fun to show the pictures she took. She really loves taking pictures.)

Big Ben & Houses of Parliament

Westminster Abbey

The tour guide told us a random tidbit that there is one window on the old church that no one really notices. It was blown out by the war, and they've never replaced it. They just painted it to look like the rest of the windows. Can you tell which one? (The girls were really excited to go here and take this picture. haha. We had to make sure we went back to the Abbey just for this picture!)

Michael Jackson Apartment
If you aren't aware yet, the girls have been obsessed with Michael Jackson since his death. They listen to his music all day every day, make up dances, store pictures on their computer and ask all sorts of questions of Brian and me. The best are the "Did you know" questions. Like, "Did you know Michael Jackson's hair caught on fire when he was shooting a video?" Or "Have you heard the song called "Beat It?" Or "Say, say, say"? (They loved when we showed them Weird Al Yankovic's version of "Eat It".)

Anyway, this next picture is Michael Jackson's apartment he would rent while in London. The girls HAD to get this picture.

Walking over the Bridge from the London Eye
We didn't get a picture of the London Aquariu, but this is the picture walking back from it. Going to the Aquarium was one of the girls' favorite parts of the trip.

Our Boat Ride Tour
Again, with the random funny tour guides giving us side notes of all goings ons. Loved it!

Spinny on the boat ride with the London Eye behind him.

Phone Booths
The girls were obsessed with phone booths on this trip, and all the different ones they saw. There were some really cool old fashioned looking ones.

First Night-Seeing "WICKED"
We got Wicked tickets for the first night in London. I'll admit, the whole dynamic surrounding this play is quite exciting. From seeing the billboard after walking up the from the Subway stairs, to stepping inside the lobby lighted up in all emerald green. I even got caught up in it.

Thanks to Auntie Nanette, these two girls are in love with this musical, even never having seen it before. She listened to the soundtrack in the car when they were staying with her for a few days, and she gave them a CD so they also came home singing all the songs. The songs are pretty amazing, and now seeing them set to stage was even more awe-inspiring.

This musical deserves all the acclaim it's been receiving. It was pretty amazing. DEFINITELY different than the book, but I'm glad. There were things I was wondering how they were going to pull off in a musical.

Here's a little video of Xoe showing you how excited she was to be there. Especially after Brian bought us all t-shirts and the girls each got a pewter silver keychain of a witch's hat. Brian, you're amazing!

The two girls with the binoculars they had on each seat. We didn't end using them throughout the play since our seats were good enough to see the stage better without them.

Day 2
Playing at the Community Center Park

The Marriott we were staying at was right next to Regent's Park. They had a community center with all the typical activities, but also had a climbing wall, remote control race car track outside, and an outside exercise area. Here are the girls playing on it. I got some videos of them playing but I thought it would be too much to add those ones to the already existing videos I have up here. They're pretty funny though.

Obsessed with telephone booths again
Hanging Out at the Hotel

After everyone went swimming in the hotel pool, we got dressed and came down to the restaurant for some food and hot chocolate. The girls and Brian had a fun time taking pictures.

Xanthe took this picture.

Spencer being his "cool" self.

Buckingham Palace

The girls were obsessed with these guards. haha. We even came back during the "Changing of the Guard" the next day so they could see the whole procession.

Statue of Queen Victoria in front of Buckingham Palace...

The girls actually wanted to post this one, but they are taking too long to post on their blog. Bu they thought it was so funny when the tour guide gave us this random fact...look at the statue's nose. A cleaning person had knocked off her nose and they could never get the stone to match it. So her nose is a lighter color.

Walking the Streets of London
I just loved these storefront shops as we were walking to dinner one night.

I loved these next few pictures of the girls walking the streets. I was trying to catch them on camera, but they kept turning away. Then it turned into a game and they didn't even realized how far we had walked.

Day 3
Diana Princess of Whales Walk
I loved that they had this. It's all around London, and they have street signs and markers. I used to be obsessed with Princess Diana and was so sad when she died. Yes, I'm weird. We all have our guilty pleasures, k?

I love that they are still remembering her. I was quite shocked, though, when the girls said to me, "Who's Princess Diana?" Then I remember, they weren't born until two years after she died. I couldnt' believe it had been that long.

Obsessing about the Guards Again
We couldn't figure out what these guards were guarding...maybe the Prime Minister's House, No. 10 Downing Street. The girls had fun imitating them walking and doing their procession.

Relieving the Guard
This was later in the afternoon. we didn't get a very good view at Buckingham Palace of teh changing of the guard. So we came to see this, which was actually very cool, too. Set in a courtyard.

The girls were dying to take a picture with one of the police. A couple times they asked the police would tell them that they were on a special assignment and couldn't. They were very nice about it. Finally, these two were available to take a picture with the girls, who were, of course, elated.

Trafalgar Square

Riding the Subway
We did a lot of this...we got pretty used to hopping on and off. It was pretty cool, except for all the flights of stairs...I'm not kidding, hundreds of stairs. Which would have been fine except we had a 30 pound baby in a stroller to carry up and down. They'll be installing elevators soon to get ready for the Olympics, but for us, it was quite a workout. :)

Spencer especially loved the subway.

Eating at a Pub
The night before we had ordered room service. I purposely ordered something that was very "English" so I had a "Steak and Ale Pie" (basically a big pot pie with steak and brown gravy inside). The girls ended up eating my food, rather than their pizza and pasta. But I KNOW had I said, "Hey girls, you wanna order a Steak and Ale Pie", they would have thought I had just given them the worst suggestion in the world. haha. I got them to LOVE the pub food, which I only wanted to do so that they get used to trying foods from other countries. So, so far they love German food, French food and now British food. Now I just need to get them to love Mediterranean food, but I don't want to go to the Mediterranean to do it. hehe.

Brian and I were stoked that we found the same pub we had come to when he and I visited a few years ago. It was a cheesy, "Awwww" moment.

Here they are eating another Steak and Ale Pie with Mash and Mushy Peas.

Yay! So we had such a great time. The girls, on many occasions, said they wanted to live and go to college in London, maybe a fashion college. That was great because it opened up the subject of getting them to start thinking about their future.

I didn't write or have pictures of so many other things...the Tower of London, playing in Hyde Park, seeing the elite private boys school where Daniel Radcliffe went to high school, and walking over the Mi;lennium Bridge (the bridge at the beginning of Harry Potter #6 where the Death Eaters were making it sway by flying around it).

I'm sure we'll definitely go back again! Especially if you guys all come over to visit. Now we know the best touristy places to go.


Randi said...

Ok, I have to start by saying that you look amazing. Is your hair darker? I hate that I am forgetting little details about how you look. That sounds like such a fun vacation and who can beat $20 airline tickets. I am happy that Brian is going to such great lengths to make sure your family is enjoying this European move. Miss you guys.

Kerstin said...

Italy isn't the worst place to go! And if it is for cultural developpment... Haha.

Second video: What do Xoe and Xanthe say? In Germany (at least in my region) it would be: "Engele, Engele flieg!" (Little angel, little angel fly!).

Nan said...

Seriously?? What an amazing trip to London! What a wonderful and once in a lifetime experience for your family to be having. I was especially happy to see pictures from Wicked. Wasn't just amazing?? I am so happy you went and saw it. Thanks for the great post!

Beth said...

How fun!! if I were you I would see all the countries around Germany that I could...and with Ryan Air you can for pretty cheap.

When we went to Europe, we went to England first and then took got a round trip ticket to Germany for like $40.00, I think Ryan air is like our Southwest/Jet Blue

I LOVE England!!! Thanks for the pictures~