London

London!  What a rich experience you were.  This trip was so emotional for us, and between our #RememberingMalcolm moments, the Eagles game, sightseeing, pubs and taking in a show in the West End it was all we could have asked for.

Approaching this trip was so different.  Everyone kept asking if we were excited. I kept saying ‘we are looking forward to it’.  Since Malcolm died, we don’t really get EXCITED for anything, any more, as outlined in my post about the Eagles.  Planning a trip is something I have always enjoyed, though, and hunting down a good accommodation and other must dos was a good distraction.

Location Location Location! Hyde Park across the street and an elevator that drops us off right at our room.  I really took the below video for the kids cause they would have loved it!

I found a wonderful Air B&B for two directly across the street from Hyde Park for around 120 USD a night.  I have used Air B&B a lot in the past, but this was our first time staying in a room in someone’s house, and not renting an entire space.  But London is expensive, so it seemed like a good time to try it out 🙂 We did have our own bathroom and the host, Marite, was wonderful. She had breakfast available and coffee, which we greatly appreciated.

Breakfasts are not a requirement of an AirBnB, so we fully appreciated this extra touch to start our mornings off right (and caffeinated)

You can definitely get rooms even cheaper if you don’t mind sharing a bathroom.  This was also an anniversary trip, so we sprang for our own toilet.

Day 1:  After over 2 hours in customs lines, we checked in and bought a picnic for Hyde Park. As we entered the park we saw an older man play hide and seek with his dog.  While his sweet little Scottie was sniffing a tree, the man casually walked ahead about a dozen yards up the path towards us and stepped off the path out of sight behind a bush. When the dog look up you could see the surprise on his face and it made us laugh….then the Scottie trotted towards us looking left and right off of the path until he spotted his owner and his tail went a-wagging 🙂

We wandered along checking out many different corners of the park, and then settled in for our picnic with views of Kensington Palace.   We enjoyed dog-watching as much as people-watching!

We came across one of Malcolm’s signs on our walk through Hyde Park.   Malcolm ‘spoke’ to me on Mother’s Day weekend when I was gently touched by dandelion seeds while having a very big breakdown at his grave.

The next morning was our #RememberingMalcolm appointment.  After our time at Brixton Soup Kitchen, we wandered through Borough Market and bought lunch.  Anything you want to eat, they got!

One of the few places we went to scratch that Harry Potter itch.  Borough Market was the setting for Diagon Alley

We tried the Scotch Eggs at Scotchtails….tasty!

Then we headed over the bridge and along the Thames with views of Tower Bridge and the Tower of London.  

We didn’t go into the Tower of London mainly due to time constraints. While walking around the outside I had to use the bathroom and there were only pay toilets!  We hadn’t exchanged any money, and I wasn’t about to do so just to pee! We wandered a bit further and found perfectly functional, free toilets at the adorable St. Kathrine Docks Marina.

Another view of Tower of London and Tower Bridge. We walked all the way around the Tower, and we are so glad we did! St. Kathrine Docks Marina on the other side of the Tower is ADORABLE.  It is a quaint, quiet little area with lots of marina view restaurants and wine bars. Not much in the way of pubs, though, which is what I had on my mind by this time.

While walking around the Tower, I heard a man mimic  “‘Go Birds’ all over the bloody place…..some sort of rubber match or something’.  Made me smile. (‘Go Birds’ being the minimal amount of syllables to say ‘Go Eagles’) Clearly Eagles fans were annoying some locals already and it was only Friday.

We ended Friday sightseeing at  Covent Garden and enjoying a few pints at The White Swan pub.  

Fantastic autumn vibes at Covent Garden
This great little pub gave our feet a much needed rest.

Then back to our room for a quick change and to dinner at Gordon Ramsey’s Heddon Street.  It was fine. We were set to try the Beef Wellington and so we did…it was tasty (and for the price, should be!).  The dinner checked a box for us. I saw a mouse, which made me laugh (‘cause drinking) but, of course, caused the wait staff some horror.

Roller skate hangout at Piccadilly Circus shortly after midnight…

Saturday, Day 3, was first the The British Museum then London Olympic Park.

Not sure what to do? Hop in a queue! This one at the British Museum moved fairly quickly….and you always have to appreciate a hard working security team

 My bucket list is to visit all Olympic Cities. I have quite a few done, already, but there are many, many more out there!

We took the tour of the stadium, now home to West Ham United.  There were many good photo ops. Since we really have no grasp on non-American football, the tour was very educational!  

HB is always game
#gameface
Chris and I do NOT know a lot (anything?) about non-american football. But we both really enjoyed this tour.

We bought some souvenirs and then headed up the Arcelormittal Orbital sculpture right next door and took the SLIDE down!

The view from the bottom (always an attractive angle)
view from the top!

We both agreed this was worth the money.  We walked the Olympic grounds more (quickly, ‘cause it was cold) and got to see the velodrome and the Olympic Rings.

Another Olympic City down! Wembley, where the Eagles played, also hosted an Olympic Games.

That night was our attempt at Passyunk Avenue, which is a Philly-style pub, but because of the game the wait was 2.5 hours!  

‘Kelce’ photo ops waiting for Einar at Passayunk Avenue

We waited there for our friend, Einar, then headed out elsewhere in the city. We walked about 10 minutes from Passyunk and hit up Fitzroy Tavern.  After the pub, Einar took us to Bali Bali in Soho, which cooked all of his favorite dishes well (Einar is originally from Indonesia), and we ate our hearts out.  The Tahu Talor (bean curd omlette) was sooooo yummy.

Day 4: Sunday was Eagles game…which we made a separate blog post.  

After game we did an ad hoc stop at Kings Cross cause I wanted an HP pic. Alas, the line was sooooooper long, and we were exhausted. Long days and late nights were catching up to these two old heads, so we settled for a picture of a stranger.

Exhausted, that night we got some Moroccan food to go from Sidi Maarouf, ate in, and watched the soccer hooligan movie ‘Green Street’ inspired by our West Ham visit the day before.

Monday was ‘sightseeing day’.  Westminster Abbey, Churchill War Rooms and a beautiful walk through St. James Garden to Buckingham Palace.

Dinner was at Chili Shaker Indian Restaurant (yummy….I ate toooooo much….jean-buster) near Piccadilly Circus and then we saw ‘The Book of Mormon’ at the Prince of WalesTheatre.  We knew what we were getting into with this play, and that it is not for the easily (or even not-so-easily) offended. As expected, traditional big-theatre boundaries were smashed.  We thought it was smart and funny and are glad we chose that play!

HB is very cultured

On our last day, the tube ride out of town saw us meet a lovely couple from New Zealand. They’re visiting for a month. The older lady next to us had a teddy bear (Mr. Potts, of facebook fame) sticking out of her backpack like Hero Bear was from ours. She said drop her a message on FB if we’re ever in New Zealand!  

Nice to meet you Mr. Potts!

Finally, we headed home to see our kiddos.  I thought the bathrooms in Reykjavik airport were super-cool, so I took a video for posterity!  They were empty, but I walked quickly cause taking a video in a public bathroom is weird.

One more #RememberingMalcolm moment. Helping children with illnesses travel? How could HB resist?

The rapid pace of our visit made it best for just the two of us, but we missed the kids like crazy.  They made us welcome home cards and there were hugs and tears and getting ready for Halloween the next day. Right back to it…and we wouldn’t want it any other way 🙂

One Reply to “London”

  1. Love all the new memories you created and shared with us!
    You and Chris are amazing people and wonderful parents.
    HB says so too! #RememberingMalcolm

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