Friday, October 17, 2014

London Day Three

We started the day as cheesy tourists at Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum. I know... but we are traveling with a trio of fourth graders and they had a great time!

There are levels with rooms full of various celebrities and world leaders past & present. I could argue that the trio learned a bit about notable people due to their curiousity about who certain figures represented--but truthfully it was just silly fun.

There was a 4D movie experience and a 'historical' British ride at the end.

A TOTALLY touristy outing--and the children loved it.

It was very crowded. I wish I would have known that you really can't make it out of this place in under 90 minutes...and that's if you are flying through.
After this special request was crossed off the list, we took the tube to Waterloo where we happened upon the realfood market for lunch. (A high point for me.) It offered an impressive array of street vendors featuring fantastic ethnic foods.
I haven't yet had bangers & mash, ale or fish & chips but I've had excellent Indian, Thai and Chinese! The merger of cultures here has really had a positive impact on the cuisine.
After lunch we boarded a water taxi to Greenwich. The trip took about an hour, but was an interesting guided trip along the River Thames. The weather was pleasant & sunny so our walking feet enjoyed the rest.

The borough of Greenwich is known for the Royal Observatory, its incredible views of London and, of course, the prime meridian

Our children studied latitude & longitude in school this Fall, so we definitely qualified this as an educational side trip.
And here's my confession: I was bored by the museum aspects of this. I love art, history, stories about people and animals...but physics, clocks and angles? Not really my thing.  My husband, on the other hand, absolutely loved it! He could have spent all day there. Despite my lack of enthusiam, I really did learn some things. 

It is a steady 15 minute hike from the pier to the observatory, but it is through a charming little town and a nice park. The kids loved the chance to run!

We took the boat cruise back to the Tower of London Pier where we disembarked and took a long walk across the Tower Bridge to the South Bank. This area is a couple of miles of shops, restaurants, pubs and street perfromers along the River Thames. Great people watching!

We arrived at the highly recommended Burrough Market just in time to feed these tired and hungry children. The sights, sounds and smells were everything travel should be. 
Even our pickiest palate was able to find something yummy to eat. (And I may or may not have had a dessert larger than my hand.)

Reinvigorated by our supper, we walked across the London Millenium (aka the wibbly wobbly) Bridge. I had heard about its controversial opening, but thankfully had not seen the video footage until we were safely back in our flat.

I had a few other things planned that just didn't happen today. I am embracing the reality that flexibility is key to this actually being a family vacation where we can relax and enjoy each other instead of feeling tied down by an agenda. 

It was a fun day, where each of us had different highlights related to our own interests, but as I was flipping through the pictures on my phone tonight I realized my favorite moments were the ones that happened from place to place. 

The silliness on our long walks (that is sometimes hilarious or sweet and other times requires stern Mama intervention)...the games of rocks, paper, scissors that happen when you remove screens from the equation...and the moments when I would feel someone I love slide their hand into mine.

Wherever the location, these are the parts of family vacation that count...all the rest is just icing on top.


The Stretch said...

I love that you are teaching your kids to travel the world! Igniting their travel curiosity is incredible. When the world is your playground you will never, ever be bored. Looks like loads of fun! Happy, smiley faces! Full hearts. xoxo

Kelley with Amy's Angels said...

London is AWESOME! Such a fun city and so much to do! One suggestion: for places that say "no photos", they likely have a gift shop with postcards! I know it isn't the same as it would be to get a pic in front of something (like the Crown Jewels!), but with a quick scan on the computer, you can get save it if you make a photo book or a file of trip photos. Enjoy your trip!


Allison Preg said...

Kate is looking SO OLD in all these pictures! love y'all and love this snapshot of yalls trip! enjoy enjoy!