London Calling

One of the big perks of Andy taking this job in Switzerland is that his travel requirement was way less.  Back in Peoria, he travelled nearly 50% of the time in 2014.  In 2015, prior to our trip to Peoria in May, he had one work trip and it was only a few days.

(Of course, it was right before our trip to Peoria and he picked up a cold that plagued him and me both during our visit, but what’re ya gonna do?)

In June, he had to go back to the UK office for a few days, so Genevieve and I tagged along with him.  We found a pet sitter for Ziggy, booked our flights on EasyJet, packed our bags, and jetted off to London for 5 days.

My blog is in no way sponsored by anyone, so you can take this as my honest-to-goodness opinion: EasyJet may be the best thing ever.  Our tickets to London were each $150, round trip.  You can only pack a carry-on (no checked bags and you only get an extra bag [personal item] if you’re one of their preferred customers) and you have to pay for everything extra on the flight (no free drinks or snacks), but for such a short flight and such a short trip, those aren’t issues at all.  You absolutely cannot beat the price.

I say London, but the office isn’t in London; that would cost beaucoup pounds.  Instead it’s in Chertsey.

In my mind, G and I were going to go into London every day while Andy was at work and then meet him back in Chertsey for dinner.  However, we (read: I) didn’t want to spend 2 hours every day on the train, so we definitely didn’t end up doing that.

On Wednesday morning, we woke up disgustingly early so we could head to the airport for our 7 AM flight.  (Ugh.)

Early flight! ✈ #londoncalling #easyjet #godsavethequeen #abeautifulmess

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We did use one of the international ATMs at the airport to pull out some pounds.

Andy’s office paid for his ticket, so he was seated apart from G and me.  That’s fine; she’s great on airplanes.  I think she would ride on them every day if we let her/could swing it.  (Hear that, Uncle Eric?)

It’s a cliché shot, I know, but G usually insists that we keep the windows shut for as much of the flight as they will allow. So I was excited that I even got to take this picture!

The key to a happy child on an airplane.

We landed at Gatwick airport, which is one of London’s three airports, which if I’m being perfectly honest, seems a bit excessive.

Anyway, Andy’s office had hired a taxi for us, so I had high hopes of someone waiting for us with VOSS on a sign and being escorted to a classic black cab, but no luck.  We had to go find our taxi and it was a van.

The taxi took us to the office since it was too early for us to check into the hotel.  G and I needed something to entertain us for a while and Andy’s boss mentioned there was this place called The Hub that had a play area for kids.  So we headed over to FunTots Soft Play, which may be the most hilarious name for a play group ever.

When play group was over, we went to lunch with Andy’s boss and coworker and then headed to the hotel.  G totally crashed at the table while playing on my phone (which was a first for her) and slept all the way to the hotel. Once we got into the room and onto her bed, she was UP!  I was wiped from our early morning, though, so we watched a movie and relaxed in our room until Andy got back.  We just ate at the hotel that night.

The next day, G and I headed off to see a historic bridge.  Apparently we missed the actual historic one, as this was the only one I found:

Not historic.

Very modern. G wasn’t particularly impressed.

Nice view, though.

We walked the rest of the way to Walden and just wandered around.  Mostly I enjoyed being able to understand what people were saying and relished knowing that if I had a question, I would be understood, too.  I really miss that on a day-to-day basis.

It wasn’t all good:

That night we went to Il Casale for dinner on Andy’s taxi driver’s recommendation.  It was in a different town from our hotel, but not too far.  The drive took forever due to bad traffic, but the food was definitely worth it!

My panna cotta with Andy’s tiramisu in the background.

Friday morning we packed up and left the hotel with Andy.  We went back to The Hub for some more play time in the morning.  The coffee house portion opens an hour before the play group, so we had some time to kill.

Look at this bum.

G watched Dora on Netflix while I worked on a blog post.

Girl’s got ups!

Happiness.

G turned into an absolute nightmare when it was time to leave. I had to pack everything up and carry her out of the place with her shoes off because she wouldn’t keep the first one on when I was trying to put the second one on.  Not our finest hour.

We skipped lunch with Andy’s coworkers and headed into London.

This happened on the train. She doesn’t need to take naps, though. Just ask her; she’ll tell you.

We had a bit of a walk from Waterloo station to the hotel, and G was hungry.  We found gigantic hot dogs and she was a happy camper.

I had to break it in half for her to eat it, but I needed to document how big it was.

While we were walking near Westminster Abbey, G was trying to get me to sing a made up song with her.  I told her I couldn’t because I needed to make sure we were going the right way and I couldn’t find any street signs.  A man turned around and just… told me what street I was on.  It was so bizarre.  No one would do that in Switzerland (in my experience).  Ah, it was nice to be understood!

We hung out at the hotel and waited for Andy to get into town.  Once he did, we set out to find dinner, which was surprisingly difficult.

At least we had nice things to look at while we were on the hunt.

I love these .gifs that Google makes for me.

G asked me to read her what was written on the ground and then ran circles around me in the opposite direction.

It was too late in the day for this to work, but it’s pretty cool!

Pigeons crack me up.

Outside of Westminster Abbey.

This is an imposing statue. There were a ton of statues around this little park. They were all done in different styles, which I thought was cool, that they didn’t all match.

Graffiti spotting.

We ended up eating at some random little chicken place.  Nothing special, but it was tasty!

The next morning we got up and ate breakfast at the hotel.  We got onto a double-decker tour bus, but I’m saving all the tour pictures for a separate post to make this one more reasonable.

We took a break from the tour and hit up the London Eye.  Andy doesn’t like heights, so this was one of the things that I had intended to do with G if she and I went into the city by ourselves.  Andy decided he was up to coming with us, though, so we all went together.

Going up!

G loved it!

Andy spent most (but not all!) of the ride right here.

The Shard is in the middle of this shot. You can see the Cheese grater on the far left and the Walkie Talkie just to the right of that. I love the nicknames that skyscrapers get in London!

I loved the ride.  It goes so slowly that it takes almost a half-hour to go all the way around.  It doesn’t stop as people get off and on; this isn’t an issue for adults, but we did carry G on and off just to be safe.  Because it’s so slow, you can hardly even feel that it’s moving!  It caught me off guard about a third of the way around and then again at two-thirds of the way around.  Just made me lose my balance a little… just enough to remind me that we were moving!

After the Eye, G asked if she could go on the merry-go-round.

G and her ticket to ride.

She loved it. This may have been her favorite thing we did in London.

After that we grabbed lunch and then G requested an ice cream cone.

We may be push overs.

We spent the rest of the afternoon back on the tour bus and then grabbed dinner.

Delicious pizza and nachos.

On the way back to the hotel, we got caught in a pretty heavy rain storm.  We were all soaked!  We changed into PJs and watched a movie before bed.  (It was pizza and movie night after all!)

Sunday morning we woke up and went to get crêpes for breakfast.  G had been asking for pancakes literally every morning of the trip, so that was the best we could do.  I have no idea where the pancake request came from; she hadn’t had pancakes since we were in Peoria.  They’re not something I make and Andy hasn’t made any since we moved.

She accepted her banana crêpe with whipped cream without complaint.

The surrounding scenery was horrible.

Fence around Westminster Palace.

Elizabeth Tower, home of Big Ben.

Love locks.

We went to a playground for a little bit before heading back onto the bus tour.  (We wanted to go see Buckingham Palace.)

Ha!

G and her pony.

Andy snapped this while we were waiting for the bus.  I love it.

After we saw the palace, we walked back to the hotel to get our bags.

The best.

We took a taxi from the hotel to the train station where we caught the Gatwick Express to the airport.

On our way to our gate.

I said on Facebook that I felt lucky that we got to spend this Father’s Day together.  I haven’t checked my social media to see if Andy was actually gone for Father’s Day in 2014 or 2013 (I know he wasn’t in 2012), but even if he was there the day of, it’s entirely possible that he was gone right before or right after.  It does seem fitting that we spent that day together and traveling, though.

3 thoughts on “London Calling

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