Archives for July 2010


I promise you this is the very last post on our trip to England.  I have waited nine long years to see Stonehenge up close and personal.  
The last time we passed through, I was this poor girl on the other side of the fence.  A certain fella who shall remain nameless wasn’t interested in paying the four pounds that it cost to get past the chain link.  All of my photos from nine years ago have a circular blur of link around the edges.  Sad. 
You can imagine my excitement at seeing it without having to stretch or squint.  It was all very Tess of the D’Urbervilles.  I nearly flung myself on one of the stones in homage.

And to the fella who shall remain nameless…it was worth every bit of those four pounds.


Cozy corners

Pardon the lack of posting, but we’re in the US visiting family and friends for a few weeks.  I thought we might start out this week with a few cozy corners…..   


Nearly there

Given the number of photos we took on holiday, I thought I would divide the remainder into two more posts.  These are really for my benefit, for the sake of remembering.  I promise next week we’ll return to our regularly scheduled programming.

Warwick Castle: Favorite purchase: a tiara.  Least favorite purchase: a bow and arrow set.  I’ve been shot at more times than I can count.

Stratford upon Avon:  Shakespeare’s Birthplace.  Happiest moments: Browsing in a bookstore filled with all things Shakespeare, a cool morning run along the River Avon, and watching my boy come alive while reading the kid’s version of Hamlet.  

Bath: City of mellow stone, Ancient Roman Baths and my favorite author Jane Austen.  Best view: From inside the baths, with Bath Abbey rising in the background. Worst view: From inside the apple store. Michael is drawn to them like moth to flame. I missed tea with Mr. Darcy so he could get up close and personal with the iphone4.  Not cool.

I hope your weekend is full of travels, big and small.  We’re off to the US for a little while, where I will likely be blogging about the raptures of Target, mini vans, and free parking.


And this is the condensed version

Hang in there dear friends, we’re nowhere near done the tour.  Today we’ll take on London itself, and every major tourist attraction that my long suffering husband takes me to on a near yearly basis.  I think he’s hoping that by going often enough it will eventually wear me out on the entire historical attraction obsession.  But, alas, it continues.  I can tell you that it didn’t necessarily translate to each of my kids.

Here’s Sophie at the beginning of the day, London-bound:

And here she is after a few hours at our third stop, The Tower of London:

Worth the cost of the ticket.
Our first stop was the London Eye.  We fortified ourselves with Krispy Kreme donuts at the train station (bless the genius who came up with that idea), and looked forward to a bird’s eye view of the city.

This is one of my favorite shots of the day, that curious combination of ancient and modern that the Brits do so well.

After the Eye, we walked our way past the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, making our next stop Westminster Abbey.  I’ll give you the short version (read the long version here).  
We arrived, set the kids up with the audio tour and scavenger hunt.  Sat down and rested while they ran around the place.  Slightly panicked when they disappeared for a little while, but relieved to find them scavenging intently.  Read numerous remembrances and monuments.  Teared up at the tributes from parents who lost their children, and marveled at their deep belief and faith, knowing this isn’t  the world that we’re meant for…

Looked hopelessly for the last answer on the hunt, and had a kind Verger take pity on us.  He generously gave us the answer, then invited us into a roped off area to see where the Queen sits on her visits.  Then…he actually let each one of the kids plop their bottoms in the Queen’s chair for just a moment.  Long enough for them to perfect a royal wave. 

I guess that wasn’t the short version, but it got exciting there for a few minutes.  After a lunch break, we made our way to the Tower of London.  This has historically been a site of monumental meltdowns where my children are concerned, however we pressed onward.  
The face, oh how I love the face.  I think this was the point in which we resorted to ice cream.

Highlights of the Tower, in no particular order: the Crown Jewels, the Executioner’s site, and the Dungeon.  It seems we have a penchant for bling and torture. And the odd Krispy Kreme donut.
Tomorrow, we take on Bath, Stratford and Stonehenge…

Pointillism and a power nap

The day after the wedding, we hit the town.  Our first stop was The National Gallery, which I believe is my favorite place in all of London.  If you haven’t taken your kids to an art museum lately, may I suggest that you do so immediately?  I loved seeing art through their eyes. What they’re drawn to, what they find confusing or beautiful or just plain strange.  It’s also a bit of a pressure cooker for all of our personality quirks to come out of hiding.

Michael wanted to hit the highlights and explain each one in detail to the kids.  I wanted to wander and browse and read every. single. placard.  R wanted Michael to quit talking already, and made it clear with lots of pouting and frequent snack requests.  E wanted to explore pointillism. S wanted to know when we were going to the museum shop, because you never know when a girl might need a Monet umbrella or Van Gogh playing cards.  And everyone under 30 wanted an explanation for all the nudity.

Leicester Square, on our way to the National Gallery
We weren’t feeling cultured enough, so we then worked our way over to the West End to see a matinee of the Lion King.  I might have missed an act or two due to a catnap, but the parts I was awake for were amazing.  It was here that I began to regret the previous night’s rooftop conversation until 3am, and the fact that I slept through part of a show that cost a small fortune to attend.

We traveled home feeling satisfied and sufficiently cultured, if not a bit weary.  Tomorrow….our most ambitious day yet…