Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Pubs, Palaces, And Parecetamol

Well, we arrived home from our big summer vacation exactly a month ago, and I am finally on the last post. I am writing about our three days in London in one big post. London, as I've mentioned before, was a little different than we'd anticipated due to three things:

1) Rachel was sick. It manifested as fever and exhaustion. She tested negative for Covid so we medicated her and she was able to power through for a few hours each day. (This is not normally how we treat sick kids so it didn't feel great.)

2) Our AirBnB, while having a lot of character, was not air conditioned and it was extremely hot in London. Thus, we didn't just want to hang out on the barge during the day as it was too hot. (This is also why we medicated Rachel and she powered through -- there wasn't a great place for her to be sick.)

3) We underestimated how travel-weary we would be at the end of a three week trip so we just didn't have as much energy to sight see as we'd anticipated.

I don't want to sound like I'm complaining, but I do want to be honest that travelling isn't always all sunshine and roses.

Given all these factors, we decided to do a lot less in London than we had planned. We considered it a teaser visit for another trip :)

We had to walk past this short story station on the way to the Tube. You could choose a 1, 3, or 5 minute story. The kids loved picking a story and reading them. By the end of our three days, we had about fifteen stories.

We had an easy start to our first day, got some medicine (it was actually ibuprofen, not Paracetamol but ibuprofen didn't fit the alliteration!) for Rachel, she had a brief nap, Dave and Sam played chess, and we eventually headed out around mid-afternoon. We did a "hop on, hop off" bus. We saw the Tower Bridge, which we had planned to visit again and climb. However that didn't happen so it will go on the list for our next trip :)

We'd also hoped to get up close and personal with the Thames by doing a boat ride but, again, that will have to happen next time.

Rachel was so excited to see Big Ben (and St Stephen's Tower). We got a good taste of London from the bus, although sadly, we had to detour around Buckingham Palace so the kids never did get to see it.

I think that night for dinner we made do with whatever food we had on hand at the barge.
The next morning, Dave went to Starbucks early, and then Sam and I headed out to Starbucks. Rachel slept. I really enjoyed this art installation made with recycled blue jeans. It was so creative.
This ship was a replica ship called The Gotheburg of Sweden. It was our neighbour for a few days. It is the world's largest wooden sailing ship and is currently sailing to Asia. You can read more about it here. Sam really wanted to tour it but the tickets sold out really quickly so we couldn't.

We had a reservation to enjoy tea on the grounds of Kensington Palace. Thankfully, Rachel was up for it. The kids wanted to ride this merry-go-round which was near the Diana Memorial Playground. After our tea, the kids played at the playground for a little.

A statue of Diana, William, and Harry installed in Diana's favourite garden at Kensington Palace on the occasion of what would have been her 60th birthday. 
I really wanted to enjoy a tea time in London and am so excited we got to experience this one. It was so cool to see Kensington Palace (the official home of William, Kate, and their children) in the background as we enjoyed our tea time.

I especially loved the sandwiches and scones with jam and clotted cream. And, of course, the tea was delicious!
From Kensington Palace, Dave and Rachel went back to the barge, and Sam and I went off to the London Eye. We were hoping the baseball caps he lost on the "Hop On Hop Off" bus the day before had been returned. Sadly, we didn't get them back but we did get to see a little more of London.

In the evening we walked down to the other side of Canary Wharf and found a fun pub to eat dinner at. (Funny story: Dave and I could not remember the name of the pub and both kids commented, in unison, "It was called Wetherspoons!" I looked it up and they were right. Hahaha!) I had fish and peas and salad and it was sooooo good!
The next day we wanted to check out a couple of things, and thankfully, Rachel was starting to feel better. I enjoyed taking some interesting pictures of the reflection on the water (left) and the stained glass shining on the square (right) as we headed to the tube. We grabbed breakfast at Starbucks, the kids got books at Waterstones (a major British bookstore chain), and then we headed off to Westminster Abbey.

I mentioned that I don't love taking pictures in churches but I did take a few at Westminster Abbey. We ran into a super kind, informative Abbey employee who allowed Sam and Rachel the opportunity to represent Canada at the Abbey for a few moments. This is where the High Commissioner for Canada sits when they attend a service at the Abbey.
I was a little obsessed with the ceiling! The Abbey is HUGE and I'm so glad they offered an audio tour for people to follow.
I always love seeing all the names I recognize at Poet's Corner.

After we left Westminster Abbey we headed over to The Strand. We found a brew house and enjoyed drinks and some really delicious food. The piece of fish Rachel and I shared was huge. I was sad to discover the bowl of green stuff was mushed up peas and not guacamole. Sam enjoyed getting to watch some football (soccer) on the big screen, and I enjoyed another Pimms :)

Then we headed to another cathedral, of sorts! I was so happy to visit the Twinings Tea original store in London and we definitely stocked up on tea! (By the way, we took a lot more pictures than this, but I 'm trying to keep this post short a semi-reasonable length!)
We got back to the barge, we were out of energy, and we made a last minute decision to give up the barge for our last night and move to a hotel closer to the airport. We would have had to leave really early the next morning to make our flight and, honestly, we wanted some air conditioning :) In retrospect, I'm really glad we made the two hour trip (on public transit) out to Gatwick the night before our flight because we had more energy then.
There was a chain we had to move every time we wanted to step from the barge to the walkway. Sam joked that he was "working on the chain gang!"
We got to the hotel, ate some supper, slept, caught a plane home the next day and, thus, we came to the end of a really great vacation. Despite a few hiccups, which I've tried to be honest about, it really was such a AMAZING three weeks with my family.

Thank you for sticking around through all these vacation posts! I really do record these memories for my family and feel honoured that you read along. Dave comments every morning, "I have to check the blog and see what's up today!" Hopefully he, and you, won't be too bored now that I'm going back to regularly scheduled blogging :)


  1. I enjoyed reading about your trip! I'm sorry Rachel wasn't feeling great in London but it does look like you got to see a lot anyway!

  2. What an amazing trip- I have loved following along-thanks for sharing

  3. You did well despite being fatigued. I love the short story set up on the tube. How nice you got to see Westminster Abbey, we missed that on our trip in 2010. But we did see St. Paul's.

  4. Oh I'd love to get back to London someday. Looks like yall made the best of being tired.

  5. What a fun adventure!!! My daughter just got back a Europe trip with her family... I would love to see London. can you imagine being in it right now?

  6. So sorry Rachel wasn't feeling well but glad you got to do some fun things!

  7. Aw, that's too bad that Rachel wasn't feeling the best for exploring London but it does sound like you all made the best of it!

  8. I loved reading every word of every blog post and looking at every picture about your amazing vacation. Kudos to Rachel for powering through her illness!


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