I’ve been meaning to post something for over a week, but Luke left for a business trip to Prague last Monday, and since then it’s been kinda bananas. I’ve got a few posts worth of stuff from that time, but decided I should first set the tone for Luke’s departure, starting with last Friday.
We’ve been here for about 6 weeks. We left our home on March 29th, lived in a hotel until April 3rd, stayed with Luke’s parents until April 9th and have since been in temporary housing.
Now, this is a very fun and exciting adventure, and I’m very happy to be here. But one difficult part of this journey has been having the kids out of school, away from friends and family, etc… for this whole time. Each week day since we’ve been here, Luke goes to work for his own new and exciting adventures and I am here with the kids trying to create new and exciting adventures each day. We’ve been to countless parks, seen lots of really old stuff, had nuggets and fries at many pubs, visited toy stores, a zoo and a museum. By Friday, I was feeling a bit fatigued and overwhelmed because while being here is great, we have no real schedule outside of what I create-and the scheduler part of my brain threatened to quit.
But a nice woman comes in to clean on Fridays and for this to happen the kids and I have to leave. So I told Scheduler that we really needed to do something, because we couldn’t very well go stand on the street for 2 hours. Scheduler dug deep, threw up her hands, and said, “OK, let’s just go walk along the Thames, we don’t need to plan too much for that.”
Ha, ha, ha…actually, you do
The Thames is really long and there is a lot to see, so I narrowed down one area aiming to take the kids to see the Tower Bridge. We took the Tube to get near the bridge and upon departing the station, immediately stumbled upon St. Paul’s Cathedral. Things like this happen all of the time while we’re exploring London. You look to your left, or look to your right, or just turn in a circle and all around you are beautiful old buildings, monuments and statues. Inevitably, what you set out to do gets side-tracked by exploring (sometimes climbing) these sights. So en-route to the Thames, we explored St. Paul’s from the outside (admission is about $80/family so we didn’t go in).
We ate lunch on the steps of St. Paul’s and then asked some locals for directions to the Thames. They weren’t the best directions, but hey, these kids “love” extra walking.
After a few detours, we made it to the Thames- YAY!!!
|Pearl has decided that each picture taken of her needs to involve some sort of fabulous pose!|
What happened next involved a map and a part of my brain that is both enthusiastic and completely wrong most of the time. Her name is Navigator. Navigator consults maps but mostly chooses directions based on feeling, like “I feel like there’s a gigantic bridge this way. I’ve glanced at the map for a moment and I think I’m right. Onward!”
To help illustrate this particular part of our adventure, I’ve borrowed a few characters from the toy box. I’m the one with the backpack in hand and sword in the other. Sword, because we’re in London and I’m pretty sure there were some Roman soldiers hundreds of years ago traversing the Thames. Backpack, because I’m always carrying at least 2 bags of stuff.
So we reached the water and Navigator, feeling confident, pointed the sword and said, “this way!”
After a lot of walking, we finally saw the bridge off in the distance.
But we were tired and Mac was still unconvinced that our walk was worth it.
More walking and we finally made it to the Tower of London! It looks really cool from the outside, but once again, family admission is about $80 so we opted for a quick trip to the gift shop (which always miraculously gives the kids more energy).
Then we crossed the beautiful Tower Bridge. I didn’t ask if it was worth it, but I think all the kids were enjoying themselves, even Mac.
After crossing the bridge and spending a bit of time in Southwark, we took the Tube back across the river to meet Luke for dinner. By this time, Navigator and Scheduler are completely exhausted. We need a break. But first, Navigator has one more job and that is to tell Luke where to meet us. Seems easy enough, we are at Bank station, just outside.
Luke gets on the Tube and departs at Bank. But there is a problem, he doesn’t see us.
After our 4 hour adventure, the kids are tired, restless and climbing the buildings in their now soot covered clothing – they look like chimney sweeps right out of Mary Poppins. So while this is going on, I’m try to tell Luke where we are:
Me: We’re right outside the station.
Luke: I don’t see you.
Me: OK, we’re next to a really big monument.
Luke: (a bit exasperated) There are a lot of really big monuments.
Me: I know (now I’m getting a bit silly from exhaustion) but this one is really big and has like a golden flame thing on the top!
Luke: I see a horse and some soldiers.
Me: No, this one is cubical at the base and has a long column like a pillar and on the top there’s a big gold thing that represents fire for the big fire that happened here a long time ago.
Luke: Are you sure you’re at Bank?
Me: (Navigator feels offended) Yes, I got off at Bank, it says so right here on my map!
Luke: OK, tell me a business that you’re near.
Luke: If I search for Boots it’s going to return a bunch of random search results…I need something better.
Me: OK, The Scottish Bespoke House of Lords Bank (I made that up, I don’t remember the name).
Luke: OK, that’s about a 10 minute walk from where I am.
So we waited 10 minutes, kids continuing to Swiffer every dirty surface on the buildings around us. Then Luke arrived and informed me that we were at Monument Station, not Bank.
Bank is in the financial district, which closes down almost completely after 6pm. After wandering around for another hour looking for an affordable meal, we took the tube home, ate a quick snack and crashed.
I found a greeting card that I think best describes us. When I look at it, I can laugh at all of the ups and downs and wrong directions that happen each day: