Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A London Monday


On Monday we began by having breakfast in the hostel with the students. It's a swank place and everyone got filled up.
Sunday and Monday were those rare days in London with a clear sky and lots of sun. Everyone donned their holiday wear and were out celebrating. I was treated to my honey's "A Rant On The Maxidress" because of it, but I just love peoplewatching and wardrobewatching in big cities. Some people have got such great style, and some others are walking fashion catastrophes (like the woman my age and my size in an ill-fitting strapless sundress that shows off the "Woo" tattoo on her arm -- how drunk does one have to be before that seems like a good idea? I think I'd pass out first!).
First off we were headed to the Imperial War Museum. We had to get our bearings at Elephant and Castle and found that neither of our maps were big enough. Luckily there was a playground for the kids while we figured our stuff out. Luckily too, I had brought the iPad and loaded an offline map onto it. We think our walk there was the best way.
The Imperial War Museum was great. We were not. We were pretty dazed and hot and thirsty and wandered between exhibits. In spite of that, we each found something we loved. Joss liked this hands-on submarine exhibit.
Maddie and I loved the Children During War exhibit that talked about the evacuation and rationing and recreated the bomb shelters and a whole two-story house from Kent inside. They also had interactive exhibits and I chose my war wardrobe for the allotted 48 coupons: a dress, a skirt, a shirt, trousers, a coat, two pairs of shoes, one pair of socks/stockings and three pairs of underwear (so I splurged on the underwear. Can you blame me?). Will and Sebi and Rob loved the Trench Warfare exhibit that had you actually walking through a trench. It reaffirmed our belief that no one does museums better than London.
Then we had another break at another playground and we tried some ginger beer. It was too spicy for the kids. In their defense, it had as much kick as most hot sauces.
Next we made our way up to Trafalgar Square where we had lunch in the Cafe in the Crypt under St. Martin in the Fields.
Then the kids each tried their hands at brass rubbing. Here is Sebastian hard at work on his dog. It was lovely and cool and quiet and empty in the afternoon down there and a great break for us. I was impressed that the kids really worked on their rubbings -- I thought they might just scribble a little and want to take off, but we were there for nearly an hour. Once Joss got tired of his crayon drawings, I got out the iPad for him and he read some books and played alphabet matching, neon drawing and Fruit Ninja. Rob doubted me when I brought that thing along, but it kept Joss QUIET. It was a raging success.
From Trafalgar Square we took a bus up to Regent's Park.
Maddie and Rob did some scouting for our meal with the students the next day and got so lost that we almost never saw them again. Good thing there was a playground for the boys to play in.
And while Joss took a nap, the other four rented a boat and paddled around the lake in the park.
We were so tired when we got home that we barely needed the melatonin and benadryl I'd brought for jet lag. Phew!

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