Beautiful (Busy) London

We went to London over the weekend and had the best time!! Not only was the sight-seeing great the company and food, to me at least, was just awesome. Not only did I get to see a dear friend from eight years ago, we used to work at Micron in Boise, ID, but I also got to meet up with my number one best friend.

We left Sunday early in the morning. At first we thought of catching a train from Cambridge to King Cross for £40 (family price) but then we found that we could drive to a tube station outside of London, pay £1/day for parking, and not be tied to a schedule. Granted the train has open end tickets they are more expensive. With our U.S. gas (we buy gas on base so it’s a lot cheaper than buying on the economy), £1/day parking, and £2.40/ea tube price (children’s free) it was a sweet deal. Just FYI on ground transport in the UK… before you board you want to get what they call an oyster card and/or a travelcard. If you’re visiting London or coming to the area to live I recommend visiting the links I shared to learn about the two cards! Driving is possible to London but it can be very expensive and nerve wreaking if you’re clueless and new. One of hubby’s coworker drove to London and came back with £400-ish of fines. It was between parking, driving on a bus lane, and not paying the congestion zone fee (there’s no fee though on weekends/bank holidays).

Here are some pictures…

First stop: Camden Town! I read about a great dim sum place here, Yum Cha, and wanted to try it out. My friend lives near this area too so it wasn’t too inconvenient I thought for him to meet us here. Food: tasted good, price reasonable, service ok. If I weren’t American I’d probably service is average but I’m still used to the friendly waiter/waitresses working for tips who’d always smile no matter what and refill your water without asking. Anyhow… the dim sum was nice but if you’re a huge fan of pork buns Chinatown was better and cheaper! Camden Town itself was PACKED!! There was no parade passing by, this was just the street that day. There are many different market places on this road and good gosh, you’ll never go hungry when roaming this road. There are food EVERYWHERE!! Chinese, Thai, Malaysian, Indian, you name it!!

Camden Town

There are a few different markets in Camden Town and we decided to check one out: Stables Market. It was just conveniently located in front of the dim sum restaurant and wow, this place was very well decorated. There are horses everywhere! If you really want to see what this place has to offer you can spend a good few hours just roaming through the maze of shops. I loved a lot of the clothing stores and one day I want to stop by here again just to try some out and maybe get one or two. M was also interested in a lot of little trinkets and hubby… he bought the hat he’s wearing.

Stable Market

After Camden we all, my friend included, took the tube down to Leicester Square station. I wanted to check out Chinatown and then walk to Trafalgar Square. I have no photo of Chinatown but this was basically what it was: restaurant, restaurant, restaurant, and more restaurants. There were a few shops here and there, groceries, massages, Chinese remedies, etc. but for the most part it was Chinese restaurants all in a pretty row. How can one choose? The next stop is Leicester Square itself. If you’re interested in going to the movies/show, this square is the place to be. From new movies to £1.5o theatre you can find here.

A few steps away was Trafalgar Square. The below is a photo from Trafalgar Square, it’s the front of the National Gallery of London. It was a glorious day to visit London… great blue skies that day!!

Trafalgar Square

From the square we walked towards the river and passed the Minister’s house with guards on horses. It looked like something was going to happen but we didn’t hang around to find out. We walked passed the Prime Minister’s house on Downing Street and the London Eye and then this big guy: Ben.

Big Ben

We moved on and just across the road was the river, the famous Thames River. My other friend lives on a house boat on the other side, by London Bridge, so we hopped on to a boat and rode over to the other side. On the boat we passed Cleopatra’s Needle, the Aquarium, the London Eye, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the so intimidating Tower of London and got off at Tower Bridge.

Tower Bridge

While we were eating, we had dinner with my friend and her family at Brown’s, a boat needed to pass and the bridge was raised. Isn’t that neat? Besides seeing the bridge raise it was just great to be sitting there with friends I haven’t seen in ages. My girl friend from Micron is such a wonderful person. The last time I saw her little girl she was 3 or 4 and now she’s such the young lady. Then there’s the little one, just a year younger than M, and she’s adorable. What a great family she now has and I am so happy for her. We plan on meeting again and maybe a museum visit next time!

Tower Bridge

Oh, at Brown’s I ordered the dish of the day: Tilapia and they gave me a whole fish! The last time I was served a fish with the head on it still was in Indonesia. I loved it!!! My dish was really good too. The portions were small for the price I thought but it was right next to the river. The best part though was: all the kid’s meals and dessert were free!! Man, if we knew we’d all have gotten kids’ meals, HA!! We had four adults and three kids so it was a nice surprise!!

Here’s a few of the bridge after dark:

Tower Bridge

I took these shots on our way to the London Bridge tube. Another FYI… if you want to park and tube it figure out where you’re going that day and park on the line that you’ll be entering and hopefully returning from. I planned my trip so that we’d only be on the Central Line. The whole day we didn’t do any switching and at the end of the day we just sat in the Tube until we got to our stop. Traveling with children this was very convenient.

DSC_7774

It was a FABULOUS day. The weather got chilly in the evening but we all had light sweaters and it was enough. We’re light travelers in general. For this trip we just had a MacLaren stroller (super light umbrella stroller), a few diapers, a small container of wipes, a set of clothes for Jovie, a London guidebook, a smart phone, a GPS, a bottle and bottle cleaner, a bottle of water and that’s it. If you look at the photo below you’ll see my diaper bag hanging on Jovie’s stroller. I got it from Pottery Barn Kids for $10!! I really don’t think you need to bring your whole kids’ closets on day trips. Also, if you’re traveling with a baby, places that sell coffee are great places to get a cup of warm milk. On me I had my small camera, Crumpler Four Million, bag with my Nikon D300 and two lenses. I hope hubby’s reading this… but for next time, I’d like to be hauling a Ketti handbag camera bag {::SMILES}.

The boys

That’s that. The above photo is my past and present. I am one lucky gal!! I know from a previous post about my ex-husband that I’m not the only person who has this type of relationship but I also know that what I have is not very common, especially since we don’t have kids together. I’m not selfish in this department though. Hubby and I decided that his best friend who married hubby’s ex-girlfriend (he was dating her before he met me) are the folks who will be caring for our kids if we both pass away. His ex and I are friends. See, just cause they’re the exes it doesn’t mean you can’t get along. It was all in the past and what happened happened for a reason. The best part… we learned and grew from the experiences!! Cheers!!

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7 thoughts on “Beautiful (Busy) London

  1. Great photos! Hey...my neighbor works for Micron and it's like 5 minutes from my house! haha Anyway, now I know why my mom only at Chinese when she was preggers with me! And that's the reason why I LOVE Asian food! Looks like you guys had a blast and poor Jovie was pooped out!
  2. Cool.. looks like you guys have a fanstactic time in London. So very nice :D. Love all the commentary and pictures. As you know, we serve the fishes with their heads intact all the time here. Its cultural and superstition as well. My aunt n cousion from London are in London, and yep, the pop the question again.. when are we visiting London.. well.. I wished I had a bigger bank acct (thks to craft ;p) coz the currency rate is just so good at the moment, down to like 20 years ago. Starting work next week, but have been sick for the last 5 days... no fun... well, better now than when I start work :) Thanks for sharing.. have a great week ahead :) hugs...
  3. Wow, those pics are fabulous. Makes me miss London. Soooo want to go back there again! I thought how you all get along , past & present is awesome. That says a lot about everybody's character. Thanks for sharing this!

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