Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tuesday, October 13

Brenna above riding on the subway :-) We rode the subway around a lot - the subway system in London is very, very good (and we only got on the wrong train once - got in too big of a hurry and not paying attention). Below, Brenna and I in front of the Tower Bridge.

Brenna's balloon animal - it started as a dog, but quickly came apart - poor puppy! At least, we got one picture right away when it still looked good :-) Brenna got the balloon in Covent Garden from one of the street performers. There was a really good Johnny Depp/Pirates of the Carribean look-a-like, but I didn't go over and get a picture (since I am sure I would have to do that one on my own, lol).

One of the many taxis in London.
I wasn't doing too well with my long arm shots (but I had to put both of these up from Windsor castle!) The second one had the best faces, but I cut off Dustin's head, oops!

Inside Windsor Castle
Brenna's new friend - there are lots of sheep around Stonehenge so they do market those to the kids! He is pretty cute! Brenna decided to name him Stonehenge (or Stoney for short, lol).
Our family shot in front of Stonehenge
Picture of one of the fields beside Stonehenge (Dustin was amazed that it is pretty much in the middle of no-where and nothing is built up around it!)

Brenna and I having fun in the backseat of the car on the way to Stonehenge.
All of us on the London Eye
Brenna listened for about a minute and then was done with that!
Brenna loved this cat in the small town of Lacock
The next two pictures are Brenna's view of Stonehenge - I had about 15 picture when I let her have free range with the shutter button!

Brenna "cheesing" at the hotel
We don't see squirrels in our area of Germany - and we were very surprised by how friendly they were (especially when one tried to climb up my leg!)

Below, Brenna and I in front of Buckingham Palace (and I was trying to keep somewhat dry in the sprinkling rain)

The London Bridge (not as impressive as the Tower Bridge)

The backside of the bird picture, lol!!
Our hotel key - they really don't want you to take it with you, lol!!!
Hello All!!
Hope all is well out there! Brenna and I had a very quiet day today (she had a lousy night sleep last night so we skipped Kindergarten today - I had already let them know last week that was a possibility). I think Brenna just had a hard time sleeping with all the excitement of the zoo yesterday and the travel on the plane - I think her little tummy was upset last night :-( (lots of gas - sorry for the too much info, lol)! She seems fine today and even though she slept late, took a nap for 2 hours this afternoon (so did I as I didn't sleep well either, lol).
Anyway, on to our trip! We left early Friday morning for London and had an easy flight out :-) It is amazing how small of a suitcase the airline, Ryan Air, limits a person to - we tried to pack only one suitcase, but one medium size suitcase was too heavy with all of our stuff, lol! (I am impressed that I can now fit all of our stuff for a 4 day trip in one medium size suitcase!). So, we had to split our stuff into our two smallest suitcases instead (and they limit you to one carry on - this includes a purse, so I was glad to have my new small purse that would fit in my back pack :-) Brenna took her new Princess suitcase - she loved the back pack option and the wheels - she looked very cute pulling it through the subways in London (although I don't even want to think about what is on the bottom of that suitcase now!). Brenna is now doing great with the bathrooms again :-) She doesn't like the hand dryers - so I have wet pants alot with hands dried there, but I am glad to be past the stress of bathrooms here (at least here in Europe). One of the parks (I think it was Green Park) had a kids play area and bathrooms that were small for the kids too - she loves when they are her size!
We flew into Stansted airport outside of London and took the train into the city and then caught the subway to our hotel (we stayed at a hotel right off of Earl's Court stop - it was great! I loved the food around our hotel and the area was very nice :-) It was all pretty easy (and the signs in English helped too, lol - although there are some phrases that we had to ask about! We had to ask one of Dustin's English friends what Flytipping is - by the way, it is littering in case you now wonder, lol). Brenna fell asleep on the subway ride into the city so after we dropped off our stuff at the hotel, we went off in search of supper and then to find Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and the London Eye. We ate at a great place by the subway stop (at Earl's Corner) that had Cornwall pasties - yum!!! I realized at that point that I forgot to bring any dairy pills, so I was very happy to find a chemist (as it is called in London) that had a bottle of dairy pills (I haven't found them in Germany so this was very exciting indeed, lol). We took the subway to Green Park and strolled through there to Buckingham Palace. Brenna was in a very fun mood and we got a ton of great pics along the way. It started to sprinkle as we were walking (typical London weather, right - at least I did think to bring an umbrella even though the forcast was for good weather the whole time we were there), but that really didn't damper our enthusiasm to be in London, lol! It was amazing in St. James's Park how friendly (or hungry) all the ducks, pigeons, and squirrels were! We haven't seen any squirrels in our area of Germany, so Brenna really enjoyed seeing them all! I had one of the squirrels come right up and jump on my leg - it startled me so much, I think I let out a shriek, but Dustin and Brenna missed the whole thing, lol (I don't think it was the one pictured above, but at least I have a picture to go with the story, lol). We got a chance to then see some of the British military/guards when we went through the House Guards - Brenna really loved seeing the men on the horses :-) We made our way from there to the House of Parliment/Westminster Abbey/Big Ben and walked across the bridge towards the London Eye. Brenna was promised ice cream after she used the potty (or she expects it after she uses the potty - I can't recall which, lol) so we stopped for ice cream and then the weather turned to heavy rain :-( We took that as an opportunity to ride the London Eye (a completely enclosed "ferris wheel") - Brenna really enjoyed the ride. (for anyone like me who is not familiar with London, the London Eye is the tallest observation wheel in the world at 443 feet tall. It was built as part of the city's millennial celebrations.) It was nice to stay dry and we got some really good pictures from there even though the weather outside wasn't very nice. We returned to our hotel and ate supper there (did I mention that the food by our hotel was great and very affordable, lol) and got ready for the end of our first day :-)
On Saturday, we picked up a rental car and drove out of the city to visit Stonehenge, Lacock (a small town where some of the filming of the Harry Potter movies were done), and Windsor Castle. It was about a hour and a half drive to Stonehenge from our hotel, so I have some really funny pictures of Brenna and I "playing" in the backseat (think hands, toes, and shoes, lol). We stopped at one rest area on the way and Brenna had a wonderful Krispy Kreme doughnut (after she gave me the last bite - I wish I would have got one, lol). Brenna really enjoyed Stonehenge (although they really need to work on their bathrooms there - yuck!!) - loved looking at the big rocks. We have a ton of great pictures from there :-) From Stonehenge, we drove over to Lacock and had a really delicious lunch of fish and chips :-) The fish was so fresh and yummy!!! (and I am not a fish person - but it was great with the really fresh fish). We stopped at some of the small craft stores in town and then the Lacock Abbey. The Abbey is where some of the filming was done - very neat! On our way from Lacock Abbey to Windsor Castle, Brenna napped in the car (although it looked very uncomfortable). We struggled to find parking and almost just left without going in the castle, but I am glad that we changed our minds and went up to the castle :-) It was very neat to see the castle (and the guards with the hats, lol). The Queen was "in residence" when we were there, but we didn't see her, lol! I can't believe how much air traffic is over the castle - I don't think I would like that if I was the Queen! It was getting late when we left Windsor, so we decided just to go back to the hotel (we debated going to Cambridge or Oxford - maybe some day, lol). I was glad that we did as we hit traffic going back into the city. We once again ate by our hotel (can you see a trend starting there??) and "crashed" for the night. Brenna was sad to see us leave her booster seat behind (it was part of the rental) - so now, we have promised a pink one when it is time to change to one - wonder if she will remember? My bet is that she will!
On Sunday, we made our way to Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden, St. Paul's, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, and London Bridge. Brenna loved seeing the lions at Trafalgar Square. Covent Garden was neat with all the street vendors and a few street performers (it was still early - I'm sure there were more there later in the day). With it being Sunday, you aren't really supposed to go into St. Paul's, but we did walk in for a quick look. We ate our lunch by the Tower of London and then just went around the outside. We talked about going in, but Brenna was starting to get really tired, so we went back to the hotel for a nap instead. We had dinner plans with one of the people Dustin works with. The restraunt was great and called Bumpkin. Brenna did o.k. - she started to get very impatient towards the end (and I guess who can blame her after 2 hours of sitting there). I bumped the bruise on her arm, so I once again promised ice cream (to stop the crying) - and the crocodile tears ended! (Brenna has a very big bruise under her arm that she got at Kindergarten - I feel so bad for her!) We all had dessert (which I believe was way better than dinner. The fish and chips that Dustin and Brenna had weren't nearly as good as what we had in Lacock) - yummy!!! I had a date pudding (kind of like a cake) with carmel or butterscotch - oh my - too good! It was very late when we left dinner, but we did walk over for a quick look at the outside of the Natural History Museum.
We debated our best plan for Monday, and decided for the kid friendly London Zoo. (I also think it was a good way to spend our 7th anniversary - I can't believe that we have been married that long! Dustin is a great husband and dad - we love you!!! ) Brenna loved it!! We took our breakfast to go and ate at Regent Park (we thought about eating on the subway - but it was a little crowded for that). I wish I would have known how good the chocolate muffins were - oh, my - thanks for sharing yours with me Brenna :-) We strolled through the park and made a quick stop at Primrose Hill. There is a great view of central London from there (if you are going to be in the area and have time, it is worth the stop, but I don't know that I would go if that was the only thing I was traveling all the way out there to see). I was surprised that the park was basically a big dog park - everyone seemed to be there with there dogs and they were allowed to run free. Brenna loved that part of it :-) We then made our way into the zoo. I made the "mistake" of buying a bag of kid stuff that I wanted to wait until the airport (silly mommy for thinking a 3 year old can wait - even though we did!) We did make Brenna wait to open the bag, but we heard about it a lot at the zoo! I'm sure there will be more to say about the zoo tomorrow when I put the pictures up, lol.
From the zoo, we went and had a late lunch and picked up our luggage and then made our way back to the airport. I'm very glad that Dustin is familiar with traveling that route - it made life much easier. Brenna was awake all day and only took about a 5 second siesta on my shoulder when waiting to board the plane. She still did well and only had a fit about the fact that she needed to use the bathroom and they wouldn't let her as the fasten seat belt sign was on (and with Ryan Air - you can not get up when that is on!). She didn't have any accidents on the trip :-) So all went really well!
Well, I think that about covers everything, lol! Hope all is well!
Take Care!


mikaysmom said...

It took me a while to go through all of your awesome pictures. I think Mikayla would have liked the "big stones" too. What a wonderful fun filled anniversary trip. So nice that Dustin has been there enough to know the way around a little and that you had a meet up with a co worker or friend of his! what fun!

The Bean's said...

that is amazing all the ground you covered in London/England....
I just had lunch... but you sure are making me hungry talking about the FISH n CHIPS!!! YUMMY!