("Shorts" as in quick thoughts, not as in an article of clothing.)
1. Am very thankful that Clint and Andrew took it upon themselves to learn the tube system. It is overwhelming. I bet there are one million people UNDER the city everyday. It's totally unlike anything I've ever experienced before. In some cases, we went 5 stories underground. (Stairs. LOTS of stairs.) *I just checked Wikipedia.... 3.4 million people use the tube system everyday. It's bustling down there I tell you. With tunnels connecting tubes and elevators and stairways and musicians and and and... and mostly alot of stairs. I must've climbed/descended 10,000 stairs this weekend.
2. This city is old. Like, parts of the original city wall, built by the ROMANS is still visible in some areas. And this city? Has been blitzed with bombs and burned with fire and lost hundreds of thousands of citizens to the plague and yet, here it is. Tall and proud and beautiful. And oh my goodness, it IS beautiful.
3. We criss-crossed back and forth and around the city at least 20 hundred times in the past 48 hours. "Let's go here..." then we'd take the tube and transfer a gazillion times. "Let's go here..." and we'd go back down the tube and back up again and walk around. And then we'd go there... It takes forever to get from one place to another. This isn't Disneyland. It's not laid out for tourists. I told the kids, that our time here in London, is making me feel better about our holiday in New York last year. Bottom line is, a person can't do 20 things in one day. No matter how organized you are. You have to factor in travel time and 'line -ups" time. So all things considered - I guess we've done OK.
4. Traveling with 4 young men can be lonely. I am a minority in so many ways with this group.
5. Am glad for facebook. It keeps me somewhat intouch with all that happening back home. In the olden days, when you traveled it would have been impossible to stay connected.
6. When I booked this hotel (in London) I specifically chose it because it was close to a few museums, Hyde Park and Princess Di memorials. I haven't been to any of them yet, and we're leaving in a few hours. Plus it's Drew's 16th birthday today, and I'd like to make it special - and I don't think seeing a Princess Di memorial is going to do it for him. Speaking of this hotel ... it's old. And narrow. One central stairs case with one room on each landing. I've got the room on the second landing. (Three beds all lined up side by side) and the boys have a penthouse suite (2 bedrooms, one with a queen, one with 2 twins) a kitchen and a living room. (Free upgrade.) (When I booked, I thought I'd get ajoining rooms.) (And when I booked, they said the maximum capacity per room is 2. There was no way I would be allowed to have more than 2 per room. City regulations.) Imagine my surprise when I walked into my room with 3 beds. Grrrrr.
7. We did the London Eye on Sunday. It was OK. We went to the British Museum. It was overwhelming. In size and content and number of visitors. The Egypt section was the busiest. My kids loved it. We all loved Tate Modern NOT SO MUCH. But it was the only thing open on Saturday night. So we went. Shopping in Soho was lovely. We spent ALOT of time on Saturday travelling. From Leamington Spa to Coventry (to return the rental van), then by taxi to the train station. Took the train to London, then took the tube to Glouester, then walked a mile to the hotel. All in all, we left the house at 10 am and got settled into our hotel at 4. And everything closed at 5. So that was mostly a wasted day. Live and learn.
8. It's Monday morning and Andrew (BLESS HIM) is seeing Max to Heathrow (via tube). He will make sure that he gets to the right terminal etc. Rick and Sandra (who surprised me yesterday with a knock on my hotel door at 10 pm) are looking for a way to store their luggage for the day so they can site-see with us this afternoon before taking the train back to Leamington Spa with us this evening. Clint and Drew are still sleeping. And I (after walking with Max to the tube) just sat on a bench on the edge of Hyde Park and prayed for awhile.
There was a lovely breeze, a fabulous view and a peaceful quiet in the spot I chose. It was the opposite of the tube.
Shalom for now.