I am writing this blog from the train going from London to Truro in Cornwall. Jealous yet? Oh, no? You are not jealous yet? Perhaps this view will change your mind…
Now that you are all good and jealous, here’s what we have been up to over the past few days…it’s a long one so do as the British would do and grab a cup of tea and a biscuit and settle in.
So, we landed safely in London on Saturday morning (or Friday night depending upon which time zone you are in). We are now, blissfully, all in GMT though it took
Stella some of us a few days to get acclimated.
The flight over was relatively uneventful. The dinner was predictably wretched and Stella only ate 2 french rolls and a brownie while Piper and I dutifully suffered through our “Chicken” and vegetables. Luckily the wine was flowing freely 😉 The girls both watched a movie on Delta’s very handy SkyKids channel (thanks Delta) so Moms – you can leave those heavy portable DVD players at home on international Delta flights – YAY!
Shortly after our dinner and a movie, the girls crashed. Only problem was, they both crashed on my lap which meant arm rests up and a numb bum for the remaining four hours of the flight. But, at least they slept!
We arrived at London Heathrow at 7:30 AM local time (yawn) and had to wait for Kurt who was on a different flight (Skymiles nonsense – don’t ask) so while we waited we indulged in our favorite European treat – Croissants! Between the three of us, we put back 2 plain butter and 2 ham and cheese toasted at Costa. Remember that wretched meal? We made up for it! I was incredibly tired when we landed and I failed to get photos of our croissant party.
We joined up with Kurt and took a taxi to our friend’s home in the Putney area of London. They welcomed us with a big hugs, squeals of delight from the kids and a shower! Then we sat down for a delicious meal of french bread, cold cuts, cheese, fruit, vegetables, etc. It was the perfect meal after a long journey.
With our stomachs filled Kurt and Hugh headed off with a fully packed car to Cornwall and fishing (lucky dogs). With the boys gone, Gwen and I drug the kids out of the house on a local Putney adventure to attempt to power through the jet lag. We did a fine job as we walked around Putney, getting oriented and doing a little shopping. We picked up fun trinkets for the kids at a beautiful shop called The Paperchase and then walked through their local park which reminded me of many of the open spaces of Central park. The kids rode scooters and penny boards and danced and skipped and sang their way through our outing. You would have never known my two had been up virtually all night! I, on the other hand, was hanging on by a barely caffeinated thread.
Gwen made a delicious stew for dinner and I crash landed in the bed an hour later. That night, Stella came down about midnight not knowing where she was so she crawled into bed with me and Piper was down at 2 AM hot, hungry and tired. Not sure what I was supposed to do about that last one but she crawled into the bed as well.
The next day, the 3 of us woke up at 9:30 (yikes!) and we had a lazy morning and then spent another delightful day puttering around Putney. The highlight of the day (for me) was the delicious Italian lunch we enjoyed at local Putney eatery named, Giuliano’s. It’s a little store front cafe and you walk in, seat yourself and then drool over the delicacies in the cases. On this day, there were 5 choices available so we went family style with simple but amazing Spaghetti Bolognese for the little kids, Pesto Linguinie for the older kids and then Gwen and I shared the Vegetable & Butter Angel Hair pasta and a Spicy Tomato Rigatoni. The pasta was so fresh and the sauces so flavorful. The friendly, thickly accented chef offered our hungry kids seconds (refills on pasta? yes please!) and then packaged up our leftovers and watched him sneak thirds into our take away boxes! If you are ever in Putney, give this restaurant try – the food is great and the service friendly!
After lunch we went to the ‘Cinema’ which was the highlight of the day for the kids. We caught the afternoon showing of How To Train Your Dragon 2 in 3D! It was very fun and the little (and only) boy in our gang of kids was especially enthralled. After the movie we walked through the park again and then home for a Mexican supper of chicken fajitas, homemade salsa, guacamole and refried beans. Yum!
With the jet lag (mostly) behind us we rose early and headed to South Kensington. We took the ‘underground’ from Putney to South Kensington, to visit the Victoria and Albert museum, one of London’s many free museums!
On our way, we hit up a souvenir shop and loaded up on gifts for those back home. We also stopped by South Kensington Books, a small quaint independent book store, and it absorbed all of us with the kids quickly finding something to sit down and read and Gwen and I with an arm load of books each.
Then, on to the V&A museum. On the way, Piper had two life threatening moments where she was nearly hit by a taxi (the street and sidewalk look exactly the same and she briefly wandered into the street) before I deftly pulled her back to safety. ONE block later, riding the penny board, Piper lost her footing and it went flying and rolled right under a tour bus. Luckily it stopped under the bus and didn’t proceed into oncoming traffic. Unfortunately, it stopped under the bus and the bus driver wasn’t too keen on helping us retrieve. Thanks to Gwen, who laid her body down on the sidewalk to retrieve it, the penny board lives to see another day!
Finally we walk into the V&A museum and are greeted by this beautiful blown glass chandelier.
We only saw a tiny sliver of the museum: the Italian Coutoure fashion exhibit and the Wedding Dress Exhibit. They limit photography in these exhibits so there are not many pictures to share but here are a few I took.
After a long frolic in the water, we headed back for the train with a quick stop for gelato at Scoop. The portions are generous so the kids each got a cone and all 6 of us ate with some left over. We enjoyed Strawberry, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Mango and everyone’s favorite Mint Chocolate!
We had a great train ride to Cornwall. It was approximately 5 hours long though it doesn’t feel like it when you are with friends!
Upon our arrival we were reunited with the men and were greeted with amazing views of the Atlantic ocean.
That’s it for now. I will try to be more regular with my posting. Jet lag and wifi access have not been in my favor but it should be better here on out!