Monday, 17 August 2009

London: Day One!

We made it to London safe and sound! YAY! WOOT! YIPPEE! Can you tell I'm excited to be here? Aside from some turbulence and an unhappy baby (not ours, thankfully for us), our flight was very good. Getting to and from the airport, which is the most dreaded part since we're now a walking Babies-R-Us when we travel, was not too bad either. I have to give props to Virgin Atlantic--they rock. We read they were the most family friendly airline before we made our last big trip to Zurich, and let me tell you, they are, so we paid a little extra and flew with them again and were really happy about it. They are so attentive and accommodating. Unfortunately Lois was too big for the baby cot in the bulkhead (although we did get one), so we had to take turns holding her, but still, they have the best service and the food is surprisingly good. Really good. Did I just say that about airplane food? Yes, it was really good. We arrived on Sunday afternoon and just rested and went to bed early, so today was our first day out. And what did we do on our first day? Let me tell you . . .

Andrew had to fly to Zurich for meetings, so I ventured out with Lois solo. We started the day by going to the Covent Garden market. There's a different market each weekday, and Monday is the antique market. It was very small, but there was a nice variety, and it's in a great space. The market is in a corridor that runs down the center of the entire building, so it has an open market feel but is covered with a grand glass ceiling and surrounded by enclosed retail shops and cafes. A few Covent Garden antique market sights . . .



After the market, we decided to stroll around the area. I had heard of Oxfam, the second-hand charity shop chain and saw that there was one near the market, so how could I resist? I thought I was going to the book and music exclusive Oxfam, but this one had a bit of everything, which was all the better to me. Believe it or not, I left empty handed. I have to pinch my pennies, or pence in this case, for our weekend getaways after all. Still, it was fun to look. This one did have a great book section, but I already brought two big books with me and have barely made a dent in one of them (page 7 of the first one--that's about how far you can get on a 10 hour plane ride with a 10 month old).

After Oxfam, it was time for lunch and a nap. Here's Lois having a good time in the apartment we've rented, which is great. It's a furnished 1 bedroom apartment in a great part of town called Holborn and conveniently near a train station. It doesn't get much better than that.

Then it was nap time.
After Lois took a nap, we headed to the British Museum. Andrew and I went there last time we were here, but Lois has never been, and I thought she'd like the cultural experience. She especially liked the Rosetta Stone and thought it was fascinating! Kidding, of course. She just kicked her feet and said "la la la" the whole time. Still, the British Museum is quite something, and FREE. Yes, free admission. It's polite to make a donation, though, which we did.

One of the most impressive things is the building itself, specifically the ceiling. See? My picture below is pretty lame compared to these. The main room you see there used to be the reading room of the British Library. Beyond those metal triangles is the sky, which was a little overcast, but it's there, clouds, sun and all.

There are a lot of great exhibits, but the one that surprised me the most was this stampede of elephants! Right in the great court under the grand ceiling. Created by kids, admired by all, as part of the garden exhibit right now. The other exhibit that might stop you in your tracks is this one called Cradle to Grave. A little more thought-provoking and somewhat disturbing, but really good. We saw it last time we were here, but it had the same startling effect on me the second time around. You can read about it here. I took pictures, but the elephants are more fun.

And lastly, we needed to eat. We found Waitrose on the way home, which is a very large grocery store near our apartment. Thanks to Lynne for telling me about it! You have to love a grocery store that has one entire isle devoted to "cakes and biscuits," don't you?

More coming soon . . . .

11 comments:

Michelle said...

yay for new adventures! Glad you had a pleasant flight and I loved the pictures!

Thrifted Treasure said...

I love London, sigh... Great photos!!!

artemis said...

Welcome to London! Holborn is just around the corner from our jewellery workshop!
Have a great time...I'm still trying to find out nice hotel on Isle of Wight, but no one seems to have stayed in one! I recommend the towns of Rye and Lewes for days out of london, they are in sussex, which is south-east of london. Very beautiful!
Have a great time! XX

artemis said...

oh also...theres another bit of Covent Garden antiques market, dont know whether you saw it, the main antiques 'Jubilee' market is not in the actual apple market, but down the bottom near to the Strand.

Leigh said...

Thanks Artemis, you know I was wondering that because it was so small and I asked someone if that was it (the area in the apple market area) and she said yes! I guess she didn't know, or maybe she misunderstood my question for some reason. I was surprised it was so tiny. I will have to go back!

littlebyrd said...

Wow, wow, wow! What a grand first day! I read up very word your wrote and am going to love these updates :)

caroline said...

i'll place my order now for some cake and biscuits.

Willa Home said...

Amazing life lately Leigh! Fantastic photos and descriptions as always for those of us who are living vicariously through you. lol
Love Lisa & ALfie

Emily said...

Can't wait to join you!! Lois is more beautiful everyday.

Love and miss you,
Mom XXXOOOOXXXXXX

baffle said...

Another wonderful opportunity, Leigh!
I think you and yours lived a charmed life indeed.
Happiness is Your Cute Family on the Grand Tour of the World.

and Lois grows lovelier day by day.

P.S. Beatles hand-written lyrics, Jane Austen's writing desk and the Magna Carta: all in one room at the British Museum! Well, they were when I saw 'em anyway.

KT said...

I am so jealous, and admire your self control. I would have to take many extra suitcases for the antique markets and thrift shops!
Katie