I’m just going to have to start this post and come back to it here and there when I have time. I’ll never get around to it otherwise. I found a bunch of pictures on Sergio’s phone and iPad the other day that made me realize we took all the good pictures with his phone, so I have to follow these posts up with just picture posts of the better pictures. Maybe around Christmas I will finish up all the posts about the summer trip.
The Tower of London
This was my 3rd time to the Tower. Sergio and I did not go the last time we were in Britain, so it was his first time as well the girls. My feelings on the Tower are so mixed. I really felt strongly that we needed to go and take the girls and that generally it’s an important and fun tourist destination. But then I get there and I get hot and frustrated with all the people that let their kids touch things that are clearly old and off limits and we’re all stuck in lines ,and moving slowly through the rooms at whatever rate the line is going, and it’s claustrophobic and irritating and ARGH! Not to mention that I’ve only actually seen the crown jewels or the bloody tower once in all the times I’ve ever gone because the lines. THE LINES!
So here is my take on the whole thing. The best time I ever had at the Tower was when we got into a tour group led by a Beefeater. They are really fantastic guides and storytellers. Get in with a guide and go. Otherwise, it may not live up to your expectations. Still worth going to and all, but you might find yourself being that person that is insisting to all the hot, grumpy, disinterested members of your family that, “it is interesting, damn it! See all the old stuff! Be enthusiastic or ELSE!”
Parliament/Big Ben/Buildings Around There
We went into a couple of buildings around the area that our passes let us enter. We did not go into Parliament or anything this time. We were trying to fit in a lot and kind of did a bit of a walk by of all these buildings. It didn’t help that we were there the day the new Prime Minister took over and then appointed some other people to some stuff and it was just covered in media.
This was a surprisingly fun time for such a small place. We went in to get out of the rain, I think? Part of the Pass. You can see the horses being groomed and the museum stuff, but the real attraction ended up being the uniform dress up area. We spent a good half hour or more having a fun old time here. As you can see.
This was another destination that I insisted on going to even though the most I could remember about why I liked it was a) it’s beautiful b) Royals get married there c) there’s a ton of good dead folks there, but I can’t remember which ones. I was worried about enthusiasm levels again because by the time we did Westminster we had seen a fair number of gorgeous churches and limitless dead folks. I really wasn’t sure how it would play with the crowd.
We got in immediately with the Pass and then donned our audio tour headphones. This destination does not have a children’s version of the audio tour as far as I know, but they do have a scavenger hunt with a reward at the end. The scavenger hunt is no joke. You have to really listen to the audio tour and use complete sentences to get that thing done! However, with some help, it kept Rolo entertained and engaged in conversation with us about everything in the Abbey. At the end she had really earned her chocolate coin!
I’m happy to report that the Abbey is still a worthy attraction. There was so much I had forgotten. Yes, it’s a beautiful church and there’s lot of good dead folks to see, but I had forgotten so much about the whole place. I know that they haven’t suddenly moved in a bunch of new graves but you would have thought so by my reactions. You mean all the Bronte’s are here?! Queen Elizabeth 1! What? When did that happen? I guess I’ve had a busy decade plus since the last time I was there.
Everyone enjoyed the tour as far as I could tell.
It seems like every time I go back to Britain I end up coming across the same place over and over again. It’s a different place each time. The last time it was the South Bank even though we weren’t staying particularly close by. We weren’t too far from the South Bank this time and yet never really just wandered up and down it with the girls. This time we kept ending up in Leicester and Trafalgar Squares. Not that it’s so hard to end up there. It was just comical how often we would get there without really meaning to be there. The only interesting thing about this is that we stumbled upon the setup for the world premiere of the latest Jason Bourne movie. If we were different people we would have stuck around another hour and tried to see Matt Damon in real life. But that would mean even bigger crowds. We aren’t crowd people.
The first day we got there we only had the evening to look around. We were a bit lost because the thing we had planned to do close to the flat we rented was already closed for the day. After finding ourselves in Leicester Square for the first of many times on the trip, we had a beer at TGIFridays of all places and realized we were within an easy walk of Buckingham and parks. So we saw the parks and the palace. Unfortunately, the littlest traveler was having her tiredest moment of the whole trip and reacted to the palace like I had asked her to check out that awesome blade of grass over there. Almost total indifference. She did like the old butt trees (her words) in the park though. So it wasn’t a total loss.
I have never toured Buckingham because the summer hours start long after I am back home from my summer travels. It would have been nice this time because I would have really liked to see all the fancy dresses that are on special display this year. Oh well.
Always a winner! Appealed to the oldest and youngest among us! Our London Passes got us into one special exhibit and we chose the Underwater Egypt exhibit. It was really interesting. Highly recommend. Then we did our best to see as much of the main museum as we could manage before exhaustion set in. The girls had scavenger hunt booklets, but we only completed one. The British Museum is one place that doesn’t really require anything extra to keep kids involved. It’s a nice option to have though.
I don’t have any pictures of us at the British Museum because you aren’t supposed to take any? Or Sergio has them? One of those things.
Never skip the British Museum.