We haven't been able to sight see at all since we arrived, because of trying to get settled in permanently, until today! And luckily our paths crossed with familiar faces because Steve and Cookie and Madie (Tim's uncle and aunt and cousin) arrived this past weekend to stay in London for a week to watch soccer games. Unfortunately, Tim started work today, but me and the girls got to play. :)
I had to take the DLR by myself for the first time this morning to meet them at their hotel which is right across from the Tower of London. How cool is that? I know I tend to be a little dramatic, but I still lectured my girls before leaving our apartment that they needed to really behave this morning and I may have bribed them with candy to eat on the way. ;) It is so easy to get there actually and it went perfectly.
Side note: taking the tube is a pain in the a with two kids and a stroller. You would think getting off and on a train would be easy right? Wrong. There are no lifts on most tube stations so Steve saved my life and carried the stroller up and down every flight of stairs on every tube station we were in. It is nearly impossible to do by myself with two young kids.
If I just had to worry about one child, the child in the stroller, then yes kind of a hassle, but whatever it's do-able. But having to make sure Marisa stays close to me among the HUGE crowds zipping past me in every direction, (and not to mention she is my sensitive, scared of everything child), and carrying a stroller and a child in it (and not to mention this child is not scared of anything and would prefer to run rampant with not a care in the world), plus my bag and whatever else is in the stroller by myself?? Forget about it.
To give Marisa credit though, we had a week to prep ourselves on the know-hows on public transporation here, so Marisa was great this morning, knowing to walk to the lifts, wait behind the yellow lines, mind the gap, sit in a seat, get on the escalator by herself with me right behind her holding the stroller backwards (that was the most impressive because she is so scared of escalators) and jump off the escalator by herself! Those are all small but HUGE helps. Looks like the pep talk about being a big girl and being mommy's helper before we left helped.
Anyway, first stop, Buckingham Palace. I know, we don't start small. I guess, nothing would be small here, huh?
We wanted to see the changing of the guards but it was SO crowded. We then realized we would just settle with seeing the horses come in. The girls loved waiting on the side of the road and would have gotten a good view if it weren't for people suddenly filling the middle of the road where cars were waiting!!! Marisa was not happy about that.
I don't have a good picture of the palace because of where I was and the crowd so I promise an amazing picture in a future post. For now, this is what we saw.
(This is a classic picture of Natalie. She is telling me, "Don't touch!" I'm not exactly sure why, other than the fact that she likes to boss me around.)
After that we walked to Hyde Park. (Note to self: next time take the tube.) We got a little lost but along the way we found this little treasure...
I've always wanted to do that! Expect this year's christmas card to be something similar.
Hyde Park is beautiful! Loved it. It was a very lovely day so it was literally picture perfect. Natalie took a nap in her stroller while Marisa played on the playground and the rest of us ate lunch.
We also fed some ducks and rather large geese! They were not shy and I thought for sure any second they were going to attack Natalie to grab the huge loaf she had in her hand! They were way bigger than Natalie.
Marisa wanted to walk through this really odd looking tree on our way out of the park.
After that we went to Picadilly Circus. It is like the Times Square of London. We just sat and enjoyed the ambiance of it all. The noise, the crowd, the great weather. We did some souvenir shopping there where I got a cute red telephone booth keychain for my new house keys I'll be getting in a couple of days. Woo-hoo!
Lastly, we went to Trafalgar Square and watched some street performers and ate strawberry icecream while sitting on a ledge.
For me, it is all about the simple pleasures of life. That moment was so perfect. Sitting, eating, and taking in the fact that I now live here...