Monday, August 29, 2011

London: Keep Calm and Carry Claudia

London! A very nice place to stop on the way to the Highlands! ;)  And, surprise, I took too many pictures, so, here's some collages of the highlights.
Claudia was impressed by the pageantry of the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace... the Guardsmen, the bands, the horses, the massive crowd. We found a spot on one of the walls alongside the road leading to Buckingham Palace for CC to sit on so she could see the ceremony and the parade. The busby hats the guards wore were her favorite part of the parade. :)
We all had some fun walking around Trafalgar Square and the parade grounds.  Poor CC had so much fun she passed out!  These moments make the funniest pictures, where we park Claudia, passed out in stroller, next to some monument. She did enjoy riding one of the giant lions and tossing coins into the fountains of Trafalgar Square before her nap. :)
We took Bop to Hamley's, London's famous old toy store. It opened in 1760! She rode a little toy car around the store for a few hours, until we coaxed her out of the store, stuffed pig, named "Hamley," in hand. I did my shopping at Harrod's. :) Claudia also tried out chop sticks for the first time. She did pretty great! 
Claudia ran wild through Kensington Gardens. The Princess Diana Memorial Playground was beautiful. It has a Peter Pan theme to honor J.M. Barrie, who was inspired to write Peter Pan from the Llewelyn Davies family he met at the park. By far the best thing about the playground is the well mannered children in it... so many "pleases" and "thank yous" being murmured as children came and went of the swings and slides.  
Here are some pretty shots taken from the red double decker bus we rode one day. Claudia loved seeing all the sights from up high. Russell, however, was convinced she was an inch away from jumping out of the bus the whole time. We kept a tight hold.
We all loved the Tower of London. We got there early, so we didn't have to wait in any line to see the Crown Jewels, including Queen Elizabeth's coronation crown. Claudia liked learning about the "Royal Beasts," (the Tower used to house all the exotic animals gifted to the royals), seeing the Tower ravens, riding the cannons and exploring all the secret passageways.
The London Aquarium had a pretty impressive collection of sharks. Claudia enjoyed her afternoon on the South Bank, visiting the fishes and eating her cheeseburger and chips.
The London Eye... it gave us amazing views of the city, but Claudia kept running towards the door of the pod thing we were in. I'm not big on heights or being suspended over water (hence my crippling fear of bridges), so I was mostly relieved when it was over!! 
The Lyceum theater that runs the stage production of Lion King in London had a special children's day matinee showing. CC had a great time and got a little stuffed Simba. When we got back to our hotel, we reenacted the "presentation of Simba" scene on the hotel bed about a hundred times. :)
My favorite part of the trip was the tour of the Buckingham Palace state rooms, the rooms where the Queen works, entertains and hosts private family events. They also had Princess Kate's wedding dress on display in the ball room. That dress!! I couldn't take any pictures inside the palace, but took lots in the royal gardens and also in St. James Park. That garden!!

Now, here's some random extras:
Claudia and Daddy dancing on this platform that shot out all kinds of neat colors (note Hamley tucked securely under Bop's arm). 
Daddy and Bop at the Tower of London.
Daddy, Mommy & Bop
Daddy and Bop waiting for the parade before the Changing of the Guard.
Claudia and her Union Jack
the Guardsmen marching
Claudia passed out in St. James Park
Claudia very much awake in the Tube. She sang lots of songs and got several claps and cheers. Basking the applause, she proudly reflected "everyone is cheering for me!"
And a souvenir photo from the Tower of London. Daddy is holding Claudia's toy sword still for the picture and she is not too pleased. London was amazing and Claudia has become the perfect little travel companion. The next stops were Scotland and Ireland... so more pics to come, just not as many.

6 comments:

  1. Love your blog, Meryl. My new favorite! It doesn't hurt that your girlie is so darn cute, either!

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  2. Every time i read your blog i smile and think about how much fun Claudia will have reading this when she's older. What great memories! Keep up the good blogging work!

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  3. i LOVE keeping up w/you on you blog!!! y'all are having so much fun overseas!!!

    question...how did you get your pics in those collage type forms?

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  4. Such great pics- looks like such a fun trip. We'll have to get all your tips some day.

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  5. i saw the lion king on broadway in highschool. i'm thrilled claudia got to see it as a child! i remember it like it was yesterday! looks like a dream trip! love reading about y'alls adventures!

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  6. We too got to tour the State Rooms last summer and that was definitely the highlight of my trip! Wonderful photos too! You will have to share your secret for collating your photos on the blog...as I would love to do something similar when I have picture overload.

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