Friday, December 16, 2011

London - Fun in the City

After having a blast with the Chapmans we headed into the city to see the sites.  The grass is always greener, right? And, while I think it sounds pretty awesome to be an expat in London, I found the city to be extremely sophisticated for this Texas girl and her slightly redneck husband  and our 3 little ragga-muffins.  We loved it but also felt like a fish out of water occasionally.  People were friendly but its not a super child/stroller friendly city.  We did a lot of walking but once again we were enthralled with with the history and preservation of British tradition and pride.  The kids were total rock stars considering how many steps those little legs had to take and how cold it was at times.  We heard some complaints but the reward of our destination always seemed to be worth it whether it was food or seeing something cool!

We stayed at the Lancaster London Hotel overlooking Hyde Park.  AwEsOmE!  This trip was planned around a work trip for Nick so we just booked a connecting room.  Pretty sure we were the only ones in the hotel with kids but we made it work and enjoyed the scenery and view.  
In the hotel lobby there was a giant real gingerbread house.  You can't imagine the incredible smell of sweetness!!
 The kids were fascinated all week! Took all we had to keep their fingers off of it.
Right out of the gate we hit the double decker red bus and headed straight for Buckingham Palace.  We were told to get there early by everyone.  Turns out we were WAY early and very cold but the Changing of the Guard was incredible.  The royal wedding took on a whole new meaning being there in person.  
Buckingham Palace in all its glory!
The Changing of the Guard ceremony begins with 3 military bands converging in front of the palace.
This girl wasn't impressed with the ceremony.  Shame on her...she actually seemed ticked off we were forcing her to live through it.  Oreos helped us all survive.
These two took in the view from Daddy's shoulders. 
Actual changing of the guard...obviously my view was a bit obstructed but it sounded good :) 
We hopped on the red bus as quick as possible to locate a lunch spot.  On our drive through the city we caught a glimpse of....
Big Ben
And then finally we were dropped off on the steps of this taste of home...
The Texas Embassy
The tour guide on the Red Bus even mentioned this famous restaurant.  
We enjoyed some decent tex-mex.  Its not the best by any means but its heaven when you live in the middle east.  Great warm up before we indulged in the real stuff at home!
Sic Em in London! 
Back on the Red Bus headed for the London Eye!
View from across the Thames standing at the London Eye, looking across to Big Ben, House of Parliament and Westminster.   The sun sets SO early...4ish.
Here are a few views from the Eye (one of the tallest observatories in the world).  I think Singapore has the tallest but this was pretty stunning and much more comfortable, stable and safe than your typical ferris wheel. 

A look back at the Eye after we walked across the Thames.
Crazy street entertainer who totally suckered me for money...
 Big Ben
Next up, Westminster Abbey
As the sun went down we waited patiently to attend the 5pm Evensong worship service at Westminster.  What an incredible hour and highlight of our trip.  First off it was a Christmas miracle that Georgia fell asleep just minutes before and she stayed asleep for the entire service.  The glory of the Evensong service is that it is all sung by the Westminster boys choir.  And we sat on the front row right where Kate walked down the isle.  UNREAL!  The vocals were stunning. Brooks fell victim to jet lag about half way through as well.  I knew as soon as I broke the "no camera" rule the good Lord would  allow the kids would wake up and we would be kicked out.  It took everything in me not to take a picture but I sat back and enjoyed the silence of kids and the beauty of acapella voices in the most beautiful church!
This is as good as it gets for a picture.  Directly after the service the boys choir lit the Christmas tree out in front of the church. 
We were super hungry and totally scored at delicious cute pub!  Fish and chips again of course!
After dinner we walked down Regent Street to take in all the Christmas lights. 
Barrett and I in front of Marks and Spencer (British department store)

1 comment:

Christine said...

Awesome pictures! Looking back, y'all did SO MUCH that day. Wow, very impressive!