Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Lauren's Birthday

Lauren woke us up at about 5am, excitedly exclaiming that it was her birthday. The reply was a sleepy "Happy Birthday, now go back to bed."

Lauren on the train to London, holding up a badge that says Birthday GirlEveryone trying to get through to platform nine and three quartersAt a more earthly hour and after presents were unwrapped we caught a train to King's Cross, where we tried to catch the Hogwarts Express. Unfortunately, as we're all Muggles born and bred, none of us could get through to platform 93/4. We consoled ourselves with some sight-seeing around London. Neither Emily nor Lauren had ever visited London before, so they were as keen to see the sights as we were to show them.

Everyone in front of St Stephen's TowerWe started our tour of London (led by Lauren's uncle) by taking the tube to Westminster, where we saw Westminster Palace and St Stephen's Tower.

Emily on the London Eye, overlooking WestminsterLauren with a street performerFrom there, it was across the bridge to the South Bank for a ride on the London Eye, some street entertainment and lunch.

Next, we went to Downing Street to show the girls where the Prime Minister lives. (One used to be able to walk down when I was a child, but now has big metal gates and police officers with machine guns). A Buckingham Palace sentry from the Coldstream GuardsNext, it was Horse Guards, Trafalgar Square, then up The Mall to Buckingham Palace. The Buckingham Palace sentry in the picture was, I'm told, from the Coldstream Guards regiment (established in 1650) and has a medal on his chest that was earned in Iraq.

Mark's brother in a taxiAfter ice creams in Green Park, we visited my favourite museum -- The Natural History Museum. Unfortunately, we got there only about half an hour before closing time, so only got to see around the dinosaur section. We'll have to take the girls again another time. We finished the day off with a ride in a Hackney carriage back to King's Cross where we rounded the trip to London off with a slap-up meal at Pizza Express.


Lorraine said...

Happy birthday, Lauren. I love the pic of y'all trying to get onto platform 9 3/4...genius.

I love of the great cities of the world.c

crystal said...

I've only been to London once and only for a few days - wish I'd had time to go to the natural history museum :-)

Whit said...

You said, "Neither Emily nor Lauren had ever visited London before, so they were as keen to see the sights as we were to show them."

Isn't it amazing that we all visit the great things in our "own back yard" the least! You had to move to the U.S. to see London. Can't wait to show my wife and kids the picture of your family trying to get on at platform 9 3/4. They will love it!

Viola said...

Yeah. As a child and as a student, I used to visit London quite a lot (I almost knew the Science and Natural History museums like the back of my hand), but hadn't been in years. I feel that I have been negligent in my parental duties in not taking the girls before this.

As London cannot be experienced in a day, we're going to try and fit in a visit about once a year or so.

For starters, they need to see Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, Covent Garden, our favourite Chinese restaurant in China Town, the rest of the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, the Planetarium and the Oxford Street Christmas lights. We'll have to work our way through these one visit at a time.