Ok, to everyone who told me I’d be crazy not to jump at the chance to take the kids and join Lee on a business trip to London – YOU WERE RIGHT!
It has been three truly magical days, full of unforgettable moments I hope will be forever seared in the kid’s memory banks. They certainly will be in mine!
We arrived Monday morning and soon after checking in the hotel, explored the nearby Covent Garden where we watched street performers and the kids indulged in banana and Nutella crepes. After long afternoon naps, we headed to Piccadilly Circus and toured Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum. The kids were utterly thrilled to see the Believe it or Not books they’ve so frequently checked out of the library come to life!
Most of Tuesday was spent on top of a red double decker bus touring the city. We caught the bus in Trafalgar Square and saw every London highlight you can imagine – St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, The Tower of London, Hyde Park and Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, just to name a few. It was a whirlwind of a day, but a great way for the kids to take in so many sights in such a short period of time.
Looking through the gates of Buckingham Palace.
Today, Lee headed off to work at 7:00 this morning and while the kids were zonked out in the hotel room, I stood on a bridge overlooking The Thames, sipping a latte, chuckling over the fact that I was ever debating about taking this trip! (Again, YOU WERE RIGHT!).
And talk about jumping in with both feet… today I was really out of my comfort zone when the kids convinced (begged) me to ride The London Eye, which is the world’s largest Ferris wheel. I won’t even go on a Ferris wheel at our local fair, but there I was, in a glass enclosed bubble hundreds of feet in the air above London. That time, it was the kids to whom I had to say, YOU WERE RIGHT!
Since arriving, we’ve been hearing that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is the hottest ticket in town and knew it was true when we found out tickets were sold out until next week. But with a bit of luck this morning, I stopped at the theater, which is right behind our hotel, only to learn that a few tickets had been returned and we had seats in the royal circle section of the balcony. I truly, truly can’t begin to describe what an experience this musical was. Unlike the movie, it followed Raold Dahl’s book much more closely and was so incredibly well done, including a larger-than-life chocolate waterfall, giant dancing squirrels and a glass elevator, I’m worried nothing in the future will ever compare for the kids! Sitting in the dark theater, with Tucker on one side and Andie on the other, when Willy Wonka began singing Pure Imagination, I felt transported back to my own childhood and couldn’t hold back the tears. (Thank you, Becky and Rob. You insisted the kids would love London theater and YOU WERE RIGHT!)
(Click on this photo to hear the song)
After leaving the theater, Tuck went back up to the hotel room and Andie and I walked out onto the same bridge where I began my day to see London lit up at night. “I miss it here already,” Andie said, knowing that tomorrow we pack up our suitcases and head out to our friend’s house in the country, before flying home Friday afternoon.
“Me, too,” I told her. “Me, too.”