Friday, March 27, 2009

Heavenly Experiences – Day Five (London)

We really got our exercise today!! David took care of work business all morning and Madeline and I just sort of had some down time in the AM and early afternoon. We were able to run out as a family around 2pm for some super speed marathon sightseeing. Luckily for us, London’s Tube is extremely easy to navigate. We were on and off those trains countless times today.

The first stop on our route today was back to Westminster Abbey. This was our first “heavenly” experience. Unfortunately, photography was not allowed. Yet, if you have a spare moment, check out some online photos of Westminster Abbey by clicking here. The grandeur, architecture and history of this place are remarkable. Walking through the Abbey is a jaw dropping experience. The beauty was stunning. The highlights of the Westminster tour included seeing the Coronation Chair, the Quire, Henry VII’s Lady Chapel and Poets’ Corner.

After Westminster Abbey we hopped back on the subway to Trafalgar Square, which is the official center of London. The square has a huge monument with lion statues at each corner. I guess the big thing is to climb up near the lions….so Madeline and I did (with the help of Papa). I would’ve liked to sit on top of a lion but that was way too high up.

In Trafalgar Square is the National Gallery. Since admission was free we did a quick peek in. Not a place that you can stay very long with a 3-year old. In the 30 minutes or so that we were there we just got a peek at some fine art (No photographer here either.) I was able to see two paintings by Vermeer. Vermeer’s work inspired the book I just finished (Girl With A Pearl Earring). I was also taken by a work, “Mond Crucifixion” by Raphael. I thought that the faces of the subjects in this painting were similar to the paintings that my great uncle did in his murals and church art paintings. I wondered if Raphael was an inspiration for his work.

Madeline’s behavior for the day was even more improved since yesterday. Any meltdown behavior was simply due to being over tired or hungry. It was *totally* time to grab dinner; thankfully we had bought Madeline a souvenir which she was thrilled to play with as we waited for our food. We ate at an Italian restaurant. The food was excellent!!! David had some type of ravioli, I had linguine with garlic, mushrooms, bacon (it was more like a ham) and Madeline had lasagna. Our second heavenly experience was the dessert!!!! The dessert was called “sticky toffee pudding” and David and I agree that this was no doubt the best dessert we *ever* had!!!

After dinner, we took a quick stroll around the corner to walk by the Ben Franklin House. Benjamin Franklin lived in London for several years pre-Revolutionary War. As I was able to see the Vermeer paintings, a connection to a book I read, David also learned of the Ben Franklin House through a Benjamin Franklin book that I bought him a few years back. Like I previously mentioned, David is a huge history buff.

Back on the subway to Piccadilly Circus. This is the equivalent to NYC’s Time Square. We spent enough time there to stop at a souvenir store and have Madeline dance to the music of the street performers. She was having a blast and was very briefly the “star" of the show…..which of course she loved (see video at very bottom). Madeline was initially dancing by us and there was a crowd of other people dancing too but the others encouraged Madeline to go solo in the center of the circle......yeah, like *that* needed a lot of encouragement! That girl is such a ham! Getting her to leave there was like trying to pry Mama-Dirtyfoot away from a dance floor.

Back on the train to the Hard Rock Café. We just made a quick stop there to pick up another souvenir. Back on the train again….next stop, our home away from home. Poor Madeline, we didn’t get back until 10:30pm! Yes, she fell asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow.

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