Our flight arrived into London at 6am. It was a cloudy, cool day and we couldn’t get into our Airbnb until the afternoon. We had a whole day to kill, but we were tired and had our luggage with us. We ended up catching the tube to Piccadilly circle in search for snow/winter boots for the boys. It was a little struggle trying to pull around 25+kgs of luggage and manage the boys – particularly when some of the metro stations had no lifts!
We caught a taxi with a most chatty/friendly driver. He gave us a brief rundown of the history of Brixton and told us to take care as though things were better, it was always better to remain vigilant. The unit is in a big building complex that looks like it was once housing and pretty rough sideof town. With large thick gated security, I wondered whether it was worthopting for the cheaper accommodation.
We had dinner at “The Lord Nelson”, where the boys had a little game on the pool table and we sat back and relaxed.
We walked through Borough markets and grabbed lunch. We passed the Tate Modern, crossed the Millenium bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral, walked across Blackfriars bridge and then walked along South Bank and checkedout Winter Wonderland in this area.
We went to the Belarus embassy in the morning to get thetransit visas. We then spent the day in the Natural History museum. In the evening we tried ice-skating outside the museum. According to Marcus, ice-skating is just a matter of step-step-glide. He soon found out that this is not as easy as it sounds.
We returned to the Belarus embassy to pick up our visas and then walk around Kensington palace and the gardens. It was a spectacular day, with blue skies. The boys really enjoyed playing in the Diana memorial playground, which had some great equipment like a big pirate ship, musical instruments, tepee huts, tunnels and not to mention squirrels that wandered around like little thieves going into people’s prams and bags that were left lying around.
We passed the Diana memorial fountain, went to the science museum that was quite interactive and enjoyed by the boys. Finally, we made our way to the British museum. Out of all the museums, the British museum was the one that the boys enjoyed least. At lot was based on history and old arti-facts, which although interesting, was not age-appropriate.
We catch the tube to Piccadily circle and return to Trafalgar square. Unfortunately for us the day is not quite as spectacular as yesterday and it is cloudy and gloomy – something that one would expect of an English winter. The change of the guard at Buckingham palace is in on the cards and so we walk there and soon discover with the growing crowd that there will also be a marching band and parade of the guards. It seems only logical towait and see such a spectacle. As ceremonious as one can expect, the show ofthe guards proceeds, yet I never quite understand why in the 21stcentury there is a need for guards to continue in such antiquated traditions.My only conclusion is that it makes for good tourism and some traditions areworthwhile keeping.
Our next stop is the Tower of London. This is quite a magnificent site and more-so at dusk with the bridge in the background. This is definitely a place that the boys enjoyed and was easy to keep them entertained. The artillery,the armoury, the castle-like buildings, the royal jewels etc… This isdefinitely a place that the family can enjoy.
Our final destination for the day is none other thanPaddington station. A visit to London would not be complete without having paid homage to Paddington bear. There is nothing amazing about this place, except that the boys recognised the station and were able to take a photo with thePaddington statue.
Mr 6 has woken up unwell and with fever from last night. Him and I stay home while Jason and Mr 5 head out to find the Elephant man at the Royal London hospital museum. The boys heard a story by John Hammond a couple months ago about the elephant man and of his experience when he went to visit the skeleton. This impressed the boys so much that all they talked about for weeks was going to visit the elephant man when they are in London. Mr 5 saw the replica skeleton and was happy to have the evidence to show his friends andfamily back home. Our time in London has come to an end and we exit that afternoon on the 3:31pm Eurostar train to Paris.