Thursday, December 25, 2008
London - December 2008
On December 18th, we left for London. It wasn't the easiest of trips, considering how close it is (as the crow flies). We drove north, then got on a ferry, and continued to drive to the airport in Haugesund. We then flew to Stansted airport, northeast of London. We took a train to the outskirts of London, then the tube (metro, T, underground railroad...depending on where you are from) to Kensington/High Street, then walked a few blocks to the hotel. So we pretty much used every mode of transportation to get there and back. It was so worth the craziness though! I had an absolute blast! It was so great to be able to read the signs around us and understand what people were saying.
The first two days we were there, we paid to be on a "hop-on, hop-off" bus. It helped us get the lay of the land and got us to all the major sites in London. We have pictures of Big Ben, the London Eye, palaces abound, changing of the guard (both mounting and not) and several other sites. We went to Harrod's (to say that we did) and saw the beautiful tribute to Dodi Fayed and Princess Diana. (Dodi's father owns Harrod's, which is the biggest department store in England.) It has 300 departments and a staff of over 4,000 people. It is quite a spectacular place to visit. We also went to Hamley's, a toy store that has 5 floors and thousands of toys. Santa was there and even said "God Jul" to Lily (which means Merry Christmas in Norsk).
I fell on my sword and went to Ripley's Believe It or Not with Tim for almost 2 hours. I got to see shruken heads and other crazy stuff that teen boys ogle over. I did get to meet a man that had transformed himself to look like a tiger...it was pretty freakish, I must say. Tim wouldn't take a picture with him, but I did...he was very nice but you can tell by my body language that I was pretty freaked out by his appearance.
We rode the London Eye (the large ferris wheel) one of the evenings. It takes 30 minutes for the entire trip around and it is enclosed and you can walk around inside the "bubble" you are in. We had about 20 people in our bubble and still had plenty of room. It was a bit expensive, but well worth it.
We also were able to see two plays while we were there. I had never been to a Broadway play (or in this case, West End). We all went to see Lion King. It was phenomenal. I am still in awe over the costumes. They were so very imaginative! Rich and I went to see Wicked the night before we left. That was also very good. I have read the first two of the three books in the Wicked series and really enjoyed the musical.
Joe was quite ill with a fever, aches and pains and a bad cough the first two days we were there. Lily, unfortunately, caught it the last two days we were there. It was such a relief to have everything in the pharmacy written out in English! Lily is better now...no more high fevers, but has a wonderfully nagging cough she is nursing. Joe also still has his cough as well, so it is quite a duet they have going now.
We managed to get in on some of the sales before Christmas. The boys each got a hoody and a pair of athletic shoes at Lillywhite's (a big sports store in London). Lily and I took in Picadilly Circus while the men went to the very crowded athletics shop.
We managed to get to Trafalgar Square many times. There is a large Christmas tree there that is donated from the Norwegian people every year to the people of London for all of their help during WWII. This Christmas tree has been a tradition since 1947 and this is no little tree! Kinda cool to see that!
We didn't at all expect to see anyone we knew while we were there, but we did see one person we knew. We went to the British Museum of Science and Joe was in the museum gift shop when he ran into his science teacher from here in Norway! Wow, was she ever surprised to see him! He spotted her at the cash register and went up and asked, "Ms. Gilbert, are you buying something for our class?" It was really great to talk with her.
We had a fabulous time and would love to go again. The tube system is very easy and even a directionally dyslexic person like myself can manage around London. I really would love to go again and see even more. The museums there are FREE. I got to see a lot but there is so much more to see!
Posted by Cyndi at 9:27 PM