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Monday, April 28, 2014

London baby!

Yes, I am a die hard Friends fan.  If you don't know which episode this title refers to, you should go look it up.  Joey goes into the map, it's fantastic.

Anyway, getting onto the real reason we're here.  We just got back from London.  I know, I know, you're thinking, didn't you just get back from the Red Sea?  Geez, do you people ever work?  And you know what, your points are valid, did I mention we have another three day weekend starting tomorrow, and another one next weekend as well?  You gotta love countries that change the dates of national holidays and create new ones at will.  More days off for the expats!

So yes, last weekend was a four day weekend, and on a spur of the moment whimsy, we decided to go to London with Bill and Nick.  With the end of the school year approaching, and our imminent move from Cairo, it's the end of an era (that's right, I'm throwing in another Friends quote).

Bill and I have been working together for almost ten years now, and the four of us have been like a family for the last two.  There have been lots of ups and downs, lots of changes, but we've gotten each other through the chaos, and created our own little oasis of home.  And as much as I'm looking forward to the changes next year, I'm really going to miss this little family we've created.

Our trip to London was a going away trip, a last chance to travel together before Nick's departure to college, Bill's change of jobs that will have him floating between Dubai and Cairo, and Ryan, Q and I leaving for Moscow.

It was last minute, really expensive (damn Britain, what's up with the crappy exchange rate!) and totally worth it.

It was also the trip where something seemed to go wrong everyday.  Never anything huge or traumatic, but it did feel like we were being thwarted somehow.

Our first day was all about finding the hotel, which proved to be more of an issue than you would think.  We finally were able to track it down though, and quickly hit the tube to head back into central London and do a bit of sight seeing.  We made it to the Eye and the Aquarium (which Q absolutely loved) that evening before our early morning caught up with us and we decided food and beds were required.  Yay for pork and beer!

The next day was jam packed.  We went to St. Paul's Cathedral, tried to go to Westminster Abbey, but since it was the day before Easter it was slammed.  The weather was crisp and cool, and there were so many beautiful sights to see in the heart of London.

After a walk around the city, we ditched the boys and headed to South Bank to meet my friend Tara, her husband Volkan and their son Kaya for lunch.  Tara and I are old camp friends.  We worked together at Camp Horizons in Virginia for 3 summers, and I've visited her several times in London.  But it had been about 9 years since I'd last seen her, and a lot has changed.  We're both married and recently had children. Yet, it felt so easy falling back into conversation.  It was really good to see them, and I'm so glad they took the time to come into the city to visit with us.

Then it was time to hoof it back to the hotel and get off our feet for a few minutes before we left the baby with a sitter and went to go see Wicked!  By the way, we paid more for 6 hours of babysitting in the UK than we do for an entire month in Egypt.  Wowsa!

But it was totally worth it, Wicked was absolutely amazing.  Emma Hatton, the woman who played Elphaba (Wicked witch of the West) had a voice that knocked you over.  Even Nick was impressed, and he'd been decidedly annoyed that we were going to see a musical.  The craziest thing was when I glanced over at the program of the person sitting next to me and saw that she wasn't even the lead, we were being amazed by the talents of the standby.  Makes me wonder how good the lead must be? Anway, Wicked was great, please go see it if you're a weirdo like me that hasn't seen it in the 11 years it's been on Broadway.

Easter Sunday was our last full day in the city, and we had grand plans to go to Kensington palace and gardens, then stroll around Hyde Park.  But then it started raining and didn't stop the rest of the day.  So Bill cried, and we changed our plans.  Luckily the line for the London Eye was super short, so we jumped on and looked out over the city.  It was a grey day, but the views were still good.

And of course, our last morning was gorgeous, but only gave us enough time to head to the Tower of London and London Bridge.  Q was not impressed and slept through the Crown Jewels in his stroller. But I pointed out the crown I'd like, so Ryan has all the details if anyone is interested in getting me an early birthday gift. We spent the morning enjoying some history before we got on a plane to head back to Cairo.

It was a great trip.  So glad I got to see a show I've been wanting to see for over a decade, reconnect with an old friend, and spending time with our little Cairo family was just what we needed to start saying goodbye.

Unfortunately four days just isn't enough time to see everything properly, so London, we'll be back!

1 comment:

  1. Really enjoyed the photos, since I've not been to London. It seems like a great holiday, although I had heard it was expensive. (that's what people say about Paris, but it was comparable to our BC prices, and sometimes cheaper)

    Your little boy looks like such a happy kid. No wonder, he's getting to be a world traveler and he's not even in school.