Christmas in London

This is the first time in a very long time that I am intentionally in a McDonalds. We had a good flight from Rome to London Gatwick yesterday. We flew over the Alps and the view was incredible. We could see the Mediterranean Sea, the strip of civilization between the sea and mountains and then mountains for as far as we could see. It was stunning. We also saw the sun set with the clouds below us. All in all, a beautiful trip. I have blocked out the angry Italians at the airport and the cattle car in which we flew.

Unfortunately, the news when we finally made it to our hotel was not great. Todays flight was canceled and it looks like we are not going to be getting out until December 28. We are now making plans for a week in London… not a bad place to. It certainly beats those staying at Heathrow.

A large toy store

A few days ago we went to the biggest toy store I have ever being in and one of the most famous Hamleys toy store in London. It was HUGE it was like entering Mr. Magoriums wonder emporium hey had planes going helicopters going and lots of other things as well like bubbles toy cars and much more. There was flours for everyone a flour for toddlers one for girls one for boys one for hobbies and one for everybody, we spent most of our time on the girls flour getting our nails done for the season. We got some presents for people, and one toy for us. We bought a cool yo-yo, excepted it’s not a yo-yo at all it’s a Astrojax bleu diamond, which is a piece of string with three balls on it. I seem to be playing with it a lot more then I thought I would.

I hope to go back to that toy store soon

Going to a large toy store

Today I went to a toy store. The store looks like a shopping mall. The store had a floor which was for girls and one was for boys and one had baby things. The store looked like a shopping mall. One of the store workers was doing tricks with yo-yos. I thought he was was going to hit me but he didn’t. The store had a spot were you could eat. The food wasn’t great food. When we were done of our food, we went to get Robin’s and my nails done in the store. We went to get a Christmas present for our cousin Melissa’s new baby and also one for Will and Averey. It was a lot of fun to go to the toy story.

If I knew you were coming, and I do

Tomorrow my grandparents are coming over, for two weeks. One of the weeks will be here in London, and the other will be spent in Berlin. I hope that in Berlin we can take them to Ritter Sport and make a chocolate bar with them, and get the ice chocolate as well (yummy). I want to take them to the Spectrum Science Center because it was very fun. I also want to take them to Krumme Lanke because it was so pretty there. The thing I want to show them the most is the Berlin wall and the east side gallery.

Scared on a subway

Yesterday I was going to go to St. Paul’s cathedral. When we were on the train when the strike was on. You should have seen my hand it turned white. I was holding on so tightly because I was so scared. It was scary because it was so crowded because there was a strike going on. We are going to try the train again. I hope there is no strike like the last time.

London, London, London.(2)

This post is on what we have done in London. I’m going to start from day one until today.

On day one I went to a food store and a falafel shop with my mom just after we arrived. On day two we did the same run for food but we also went exploring the neighborhood we are in. The third day we where here Sarah mom and I went to Hyde Park. The playground is great there. Day four was a lazy day my dad taught me how to play Cosmic Wimpout, I really like that game. I’ve gotten good but I still can’t keep track of the points. Today mom, Sarah, and I wanted to go to St Paul’s Cathedral but It was too hectic for us to stay calm. So, instead, we came back and got a drink from Starbucks and went to Hyde Park, which was very busy as well.

I’m walkin’ in the rain

I was feeling perky today and decided that the best way to express my perkiness was to go hunting for bookstores in London. What better way to spend one’s time in London when everything we purchase must be carried on our backs. Books weigh so much and yet I will shoulder the burden.

Charing Cross Road is known for bookstores so I figured I would take the subway to Charing Cross station and visit the bookstores. If you have travelled to London for the purpose of buying books at Charing Cross Road bookstores you will already know that Charing Cross Station is at one end of Charing Cross Road and the bookstores are at the other. I learned that today. It was also raining and dark. My desire to find bookstores quickly became a desire to get out of the rain and perhaps buy a warm cup of coffee.

I wandered.

Apparently, at my part of Charing Cross Road, people had similar desires because the three coffee shops I found were full–very full. In the end, I walked about a bit into some of the lesser travelled streets (maybe there were hidden coffee shops in the side streets that were not jammed with damp tourists). Although I did not find any coffee shops, I did find a lot of electric cars. Most were of the G-Wiz variety. These have faced their share of ridicule for their small size and limitations but I saw enough of them to know that at least some people are buying and using them.

The best part of the walk was seeing a Tesla Roadster. I love these cars. There is something engineering sexy about a fully electric car with a range of 211 miles and the ability to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds (top speed of 125 mph). If I had the means, this car would be in my driveway. There is currently about £90,000 between me and a Tesla–probably more because £90,000 would be spent on other things before a car. It’s still a nice fantasy.

I spent an embarrassing amount of time walking around the parked Tesla in the rain. Even with the garish colour scheme it is beautiful. The black areas a carbon fibre and the interior is black leather. It is a beautiful vehicle.

Oh, I walked back to the subway station and came home. I will go back for the bookstores another day.

Coming to London

Yesterday I came to London by train. The train took more than an hour. I got to watch some T.V on the iPad. When we got to London we got a cab to our apartment. We are close to Hyde Park. If you have seen Mary Poppins you will know what I am talking about. If not I will tell you whot it means to me. It was where Bert did the chalk drawings. We are also going to St. Paul’s cathedral. It is where the bird lady was saying “feed the birds tuppence a bag.” I can’t wait to see that place in London.

Change of plans

We have run into our first real snag (and it is not a great snag at that–it is just annoying). We had our apartment in London fall through and the strikes in France have changed our plans to stay there for a month.

All this means that the two weeks we are planning on spending with my parents when they come over to visit are now without accommodation. This has resulted in spending today looking for a place to stay in London or elsewhere in Great Britain and reevaluating location for the end of November and the month of December.

This has made for another rather calm day around the apartment where we are still feeling under the weather (except Sarah, who appears to be immune to all disease). Jan and I hunted locations and sent out inquiries and the girls read or listened to books … and watched some television.

We did find a very good Indian takeaway place that is nearby called the Namaste India. The food was absolutely excellent (we even were able to find the menu online (page 1, and page 2) to place the order). We stuck mostly to the veggie dishes and they were, as I mentioned, excellent. In honour of the Wee Free Men we also got a kebab (“I could murder a kebab” being one of their war cries).

Tonight we are stuffed and happy. I drank my first two cans of Foster’s beer in an attempt to be a cliche eater of Indian food in the British Isles. The Foster’s was not the highlight of the meal. Good grief that stuff is horrid.

Looking to the rails

As Sarah mentioned, we are getting ready to start travelling again. Enniscrone was as lovely as we could have wished; but, as Janet pointed out, if we wanted to relax in a beautiful spot by the ocean in the fall we could be back on PEI.

An interesting footnote to staying here was the temptation to remain because the cost of living is so low. We could stay in Eniscrone for quiet a while and not burn through our vacation funds. This does somewhat go against the philosophy for our vacation where we wanted to see as much of Europe as possible and stay in one place long enough to appreciate it. So, it is back on the road rails for 5 or 6 weeks of travel though Ireland and the United Kingdom before we head to warmer climates in Europe. Our preparations have also brought back into sharp focus the cost of staying in a larger city. We have also agreed to spend the money to live for a while in Dublin, Belfast, and London (and likely Edinburgh).

These stays will end up being slightly shorter than previous stops and focus more on visiting the tourist highlights. We are still planning. I bought a rail pass for Ireland that provides us with 5 days of travel over the next month and a rail pass for England, Scotland, and Wales that gives us 8 days of travel in the month of November. I am anxious that they arrive before we leave. We are planning on leaving on October 16th (a week from Saturday).

We are planning on at least a week in Dublin and up to a week in Belfast before crossing over to Scotland. The remainder of our time will be used to toddle around Ireland and visit some of the cities on the west and south of the country. If all goes well we will take the girls to the Vale of Avoca (complete with pub) which is the home of some of my ancestors. We are also planning on heading up to Enniskillen (complete with castle) to visit the home of some of Janet’s ancestors. Other than that, we will pick through some historical sites and places of interest. If you have suggestions, I would love to hear them.