Visiting Family

Sunday in London, our first day of actually getting to sleep in and feel like we are on vacation. A slow start and a leisurely wander over to visit Scott’s niece and family. It was an incredibly fun visit and hopefully we did not take up too much of their time. They have two young boys, so time is definitely a precious commodity for them...the days must zip by with all that needs to be done to take care of the two kids. And they were such awesome kids to get to hang out with. 

We brought them odd gifts from the U.S. and also snuck in some of the trashiest U.S. candies we could think of, although we didn’t hand those off to the kids directly. We figured that would be up to the parents on how horrible of Uncles we could actually be.  <grin> 

We had a very nice home cooked meal prepared for us, then got to wander to an area park (the first choice was sadly closed for pumpkins carving and lighting) but the open area we found was great to hang out and chat and watch the older of the two boys play. 

Since I’m now sure how they feel about having the kids pictures posted (or even having their own pictures posted) I’m not going to share any of the pictures, but I have to say that some really really sweet photos were taken of Scott with his nephew and of all of us together. 

After that, we got to wander some more and ended up with the other family in London. We made our way to Kevin and Laura’s house, and David and Suzie were there having finished their grand Indian dinner excursion. As a bonus, we got to talk via video call with Shannon. The evening then ended with a video of one of Suzie’s favorite comedians and a quick tube ride back to our hotel. Tomorrow is onward to France and the TGV. 

Muggles at the WB

Day one of the travel adventures, an early morning train ride out of London to catch a shuttle to the Warner Brothers Harry Potter studio tour. I’m trying to think of the last studio tour that I took...I think it was the Universtal Studios studio tour in Hollywood back when I was in elementary school? 

 So, in an appropriate double-decker bus we rolled up to the studio. It was fun. It was great to be seeing the sets, the attention to detail and design that went into even some of the smallest or far in the background elements. The best part was getting to be there with Scott and David and Suzie. This is the first international trip for Scott and I, and the first time that I get to a big trip with two of my best friends (yay, David and Suzie). matter what the tour brings, things are pretty magical.

Yes, we did try Butterbeer. I’d say it is butterscotch soda with frothy butterscotch pudding on top. Glad I tried it, I would not call it “refreshing.” 

We made it back to London following the tour and headed to our friends’, Kevin and Laura, house. Very nice neighborhood and home. Oddly enough we had to wait very, very briefly for Kevin to get back from the airport as he had just flown in from San Jose. Being a much sturdier soul than I am, he was still up for traveling around and we all headed to Bouroughs Market, pastries, meats, produce, cheeses, candies, prepared foods, etc. etc. It is such a great place to wander through.

We chatted and walked past the new Globe Theatre, the Millenium Bridge (and an amazing view of the Tower Bridge, the Shard, and the moon hanging overhead). Gabe joined us and as we went from the Millennium Bridge to St. Paul’s cathedral. Between the two was an surprising but very on-theme public art exhibit of giant (maybe 11 feet tall) wands of different characters from Harry Potter. Lined up so that they formed sets of arches that you walked under as you made your way to the cathedral. So, a nice continuation of the Harry Potter day. 

Still, we did not make it to the cathedral. You would think that a short 100+ feet would be easy to cover for distance but yet again another public work...this time, an exercise spot? Or an area for kids to play?  Not sure, but it definitely distracted us, and we got to learn that Suzie has core strength to rock the world. 

 We ended the walk with a gorgeous view of St. Paul's Cathedral. 

The evening ended with a recommendation for meat pies and a nice walk further through London.