Monday, June 16, 2008

Walking in London

See, Shannan? I can use song titles for blog posts, too!

The girls and I arrived in London last Tuesday. I've been without a regular internet connection so far, so I'm at the mercy of DH to let me borrow his laptop to find a free WiFi connection. I'm getting to my email about three times a week so far, but hope to have a connection at the apartment soon.

Our first stop in London was a ride on the London Eye. What a great view! Here's Big Ben as seen from the top of the Eye. It's a bit on the pricy side (about $62 for me and two kids), but it was worth one trip. The wheel is huge and turns very slowly, so even though you only go around once, it takes about 40 minutes. Plenty of time to take lots of photos.

The girls are rapidly becoming experts on the London Underground, or Tube. They always want to choose our route, so I just hand them a mini Tube map and let them get us where we're going. There are almost always multiple ways to get somewhere, and it's fascinating to see which way appeals to them. I purchased an Oyster Card - an unlimited pass - about $88 for seven days. The kids (under 11) ride free as long as they're with me.

I'm feeling a bit like a kindergartener with the money so far. I get a big handful of change and have no idea what I'm looking at. It seems that you always have tons of change, because the smallest paper money is a five pound note. The (almost) most worthless coin, the tuppence, is huge, while the two pound coin is about the size of a nickel. More than once, I've had to throw myself on the mercy of a clerk and let them count the change out of my hand when paying. I'm slowly figuring it out, though. Most importantly, the one and two pound coins, though small, are quite heavy compared to the smaller denomations, which is a useful bit of information.

We visited the Tate Modern museum, which the girls loved once they got started. The first room or two that we entered were full of those huge all-one-color paintings that I can never comprehend why they're famous. But the cubists and the surrealists were fun. The girls both thought it was neat that there were school kids there sketching the paintings, so they decided to try it. Juliette (age 10) spent over 90 minutes sketching a painting, and did very well at it. Katrina (age 8) sketched a painting and a sculpture. When we left, Juliette found a postcard of her painting in the gift shop, so now she has proof what a great job she did on her sketch. I'll have to post a picture for you soon.

I had a lovely visit yesterday with one of my splitcoaststampers friends, Chris - aka Dashwood. She took us to a sweet little shop, S&D Card Crafts, which is located very near where we're living for the summer. I found several stamp sets that were previously unknown to me, and of course purchased a few! I would never have found the shop on my own, so having a local guide was wonderful.

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