The alternate title above indicate the kinderfocus of what follows. We did two entertainment events that centered upon age appropriate fantasies of a London and England that never were: a Mary Poppins musical in the West End for Kid #2 and the debut of the new HP movie for Kid #1. I drove both progeny crazy by speaking of "Harry Poppins" and "Mary Potter" but it makes sense: both figures do the same work. OK, here is the sojourn in brief:
This was the trip on which Kid #1 finally (according to him) overcame his lifelong fear of heights. He'd been dreading our whirl around the London Eye, but halfway up this giant wheel of rotating tourists he pronounced himself cured. A panorama of London that in the past was reserved only to the gods probably helped.
In London Kid #1 also discovered a new flavor: malt vinegar. Unlike normal children, Kid #1 has never been a fan of french fries. Chips with malt vinegar, however, are something else entirely. Sadly, our local Whole Foods does not stock this elixir so I regret not bringing some back. Notice in the picture, by the way, we were eating at the cafe of the Tate Modern, a playground of art that is an effective antidote to the stodginess of the National Gallery.
Speaking of what London tastes like, favorite restaurants for adults and kiddies alike included Masala Zone (where you can get a vegetarian thali as a kids meal!) and Yo!Sushi (the latter is a chain; we went to the one in Bloomsbury and were wowed by the food as much as the decor. And what can be more fun than having your dinner travel by you on a conveyor belt as if it were a small but delectable train?)
Punting on the Cam was something we'll all remember for a looong time. Thanks Liza!
Like many young tourists, our children became entrapped in a London phone booth. We rescued them several hours later, after a quiet dinner and drinks at a nearby pub. No need to use a babysitter or nanny when you are in London.
Behold the merriest decapitation scene ever witnessed. This was Kid #2's visit to the London Dungeon. Please don't tell her it was an advertisement near Tower Bridge rather than the real thing.
Is it abusive to command your progeny to pose next every Roman statue you come across, especially if it is Trajan before a REAL ROMAN WALL?
In the Museum of Docklands, Kid #2 guessed that the Great Stink was caused by flatulence. She bared her tummy to show what happens when you keep too much gas inside you.
Touching the stones at Avebury was quite a moving experience. See here if you missed my brief comment on why Kid #1 and I raced to the Barber Stone.
My family had tea with Jude Law at Salisbury Cathedral. Only he didn't know it. I can report that he talks with scones in his mouth and that he dresses his blonde-haired daughter in a tight T-shirt that says "JUICY."
In a shocking case of misnomerism, the Tour de France began in London. Some bike company set up a play area. Behold Kid #1 practicing to be a recumbent version of Lance Armstrong.
Kid #2 forced a Tower Guard to pose with her. She also made him promise to protect her should Henry VIII attempt to lop off her noggin.
Nothing invites quiet meditation more than perching one's bottom atop a medieval loo.
This portrait inspired a romp through the White Tower screaming "Don't let Henry VIII chop my head off!" As I mentioned previously, decapitation was a dominant theme of this trip. Even the Pearl Poet manuscript was open to this page in the British Library.
At the Museum of London, Kid #1 got to dress as a Saxon warrior for a dramatic retelling of the Battle of London Bridge. Next to the recreation of an English home c.1000 where the story was told was a display of Viking weapons (mostly axes) recovered from the Thames and dating to the fall of the bridge.
Behold a spiny tailed Moroccan lizard at the London Zoo. Spotting this adorable little bundle of prickles reminded Kid #1 of his own spiny tailed Moroccan lizard, Spike. After two weeks of London, he finally -- and quite suddenly -- became homesick.
Here Kid #1 points to the spot in Hyde Park where he unearthed a neolithic flint arrowhead.
Here Kid #2 poses in front of the Peter Pan statue that she had spent long nights dreaming of. Note the leaf placed upon her head to make her better resemble Tinker Bell.
Moments like this one not only made London utterly worth the visit, they make life worth the living.