Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Pints with an old friend, a look into war and viewing the time from way above.

It is amazing how so much can happen in ten years and then suddenly you are sitting in a pub in London, drinking ale as if no time has passed at all. Isn't life just full of gifts?

Finally the day arrived for the kids to ride the London Eye. We walked to the Greenwich Pier, took the Cyclone Clipper along the Thames and got off in front of the biggest ferris wheel I have ever seen. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't the least bit nervous. I don't love heights. But this was an experience I was not willing to forego just because of instinct. We bought the tickets and I was in the giant pod before I could give it much thought at all.

The London Eye is huge. Really. But it moves incredibly slowly and at times you don't realize that you are moving at all. You get one revolution which takes a full half hour and in that time you are given the most spectacular view of the city imaginable.

The kids quite enjoyed it, not because you could see all the major sites of London at once from way above, but because it was just so darn high up and everything below looks so very tiny. You will not be surprised when I tell you we had to ask Eden to refrain from "mooning" London. She thought that would be pretty funny indeed. My little lady.
Once back down to earth we walked across Waterloo Bridge admiring and posing with a variety of buskers and gawking at the enormity of Big Ben.

We actually were right there at exactly noon so we heard the chimes that usher in the afternoon. Very cool. Noah really liked that and counted the twelves " bongs" out loud.

Once over the bridge we enjoyed a pub lunch (I know, I know, so predictable) then crossed over to Westminster Abbey. Eden was thrilled to be seeing the place where Kate and William tied the knot a few short months ago. She saw the wedding on television andwas excited to be standing there in real life.

We walked on to the War Rooms Museum. This is the place that Winston Churchill directed the British military from for all of WWII. It is an amazing and sobering place. Matt, Dad and I did the tour while Mum took the kids to the park. If ever in London this is not to be missed. It was so interesting to see this place, maintained exactly as it was 70 years ago. So much history, so many stories. I loved doing this tour with my Dad because he had such a personal experience to share about this time having been born in London in July of 1940.

Once we had finished the tour we met up with Mum and the kiddies and walked through Horse Gate Parade and back to the Embankment Pier.

Here we said goodbye to them and Matty and I carried on to Victoria Station. We were due to meet an old friend nearby at 6pm. We saw Thomas walk into the King's Arms right on time and spent a couple of hours reminiscing and laughing over pints and snacks. He lives in London now, a far cry from Prince George, B.C. But he hasn't changed much at all. It was so nice to see him and hear all about is life here in the UK.
We said goodbye to Thomas and headed back to the river. We jumped on the Cyclone Clipper for the return trip to Greenwich Pier after a very long day. The sun had set and the city was lit up in bright colours that made it look completely different from the city we had come to know in daylight. As we sailed home admiring the lights of Big Ben, the glow of the Tower of London, the shining Tower Bridge, Matt and I both agreed that we will be back here before long.

London has won us over and we have barely scratched the surface. We are looking forward to seeing so much more of this wonderful city full of history and mystery.

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