J’arrive!

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J’arrive!

J’arrive is, strangely, what people say when they’re leaving (coming to meet you, like ‘I’m there’ when they will be soon but aren’t yet) and what they say when they are in fact arriving. And that’s all the French I’ll be using in this blog post because it’s about our trip to LONDON!

eurostarWe took the Eurostar, Sunday morning, from Paris. We pack up rather neatly into one suitcase – not bad for four people, five days, I’d say… so long as you don’t count the ever-present bundles of bits and pieces cluttering the bottom of the pushchair. We took the single buggy and the sling, hoping to cajole Louis into walking lots… for the sake of our arms/backs. It wasn’t entirely in vain.

Louis runs through Kensington Gardens

After dropping our bags at the hotel, and grabbing a little lunch, we headed for Kensington gardens, which may or may not be counted as part of Hyde park, but if it is, it’s the western nearly-half of it. We walked all the way through and Louis chased the ball for a good part of that. An excellent beginning.

path through kensington gardens

The park was busy with picnicking Londoners enjoying warm if not consistently sunny weather on the Sunday afternoon of a long weekend. We got in everyone’s way, with our rambling game of kicks, but no one seemed to mind… probably because unusually wonderful weather makes people happy. First time since last summer they’ve all got enough vitamin D, perhaps?

throwing stones in pond

There was a lake and when we got far enough away from the pigeons, Louis stopped freaking out and happily threw stones in the lake… Obviously, we can’t live in London because Louis is afraid of pigeons.

Victoria statue at Kensington PalaceAt the far end of the park we found a statue of Queen Victoria (not the only one we saw in London, of course) and Kensington Palace but I talked Luuk out of going in. I’m sure it’s very interesting, but we only had five days in London and hoped to see a couple more sights on the first. Plenty of museums in Paris. And several in London which we particularly hoped to see. Can’t just walk through every grand house we pass or we’ll die of exhaustion before we’ve even seen Buckingham Palace.

One of our must-do things for London was a ride on an old red double-decker bus. And we managed to get one of the really old ones, on the no.9 line, from Kensington South all the way to Trafalgar Square.

friendly bus conductor

Elena was not a happy little lady, screaming down the bus-roof – or rather, screaming up the conductor who kept popping his head up the stairs and poking faces at her. It was the only thing that calmed her down.

sad Elena on old London busThough we all tried, Louis included. She hadn’t had enough sleep, I guess, and fortunately went back to sleep, in the sling, once we got off the bus. We couldn’t take the pushchair on this particular bus, which we knew – so we left it at the hotel. But once we were off the bus it would have come in mighty-handy!

Trafalgar square alive

Trafalgar square was packed and pumping with an Indian music festival, from what I could tell. We had a little jive along to the music, then walked down to the river.

A bridge over the Thames

We crossed this bridge… one of many and NOT the millennium bridge… I think. On the other side we discovered another festival, mostly food, a merry-go-round which we didn’t avail Louis of, and buskers with bubbles!

happy louis watching bubble busker

And ice cream. The perfect accompaniment to a busker making gargantuan bubbles.

London Eye, Westminster, ThamesAnd then there was the view. And the London Eye, which was right there and seemed like the obvious thing to do.

me, on the London Eye

Me, on the London Eye
(feeling a little bit queasy, if I’m honest, but probably from the achy back rather than vertigo.)

kids on the London Eye

On the way up…

checking the view-guide

Elena, and the view-guide. There was a railing at just the right height, no doubt designed for newly-toddling babies to use…

enjoying the view

Luuk and the kids, looking out over London.

nearly at the top

Nearly at the top!

view of parliament from the eye

Not a bad view of Westminster and Big Ben…

We were all utterly exhausted so had take-aways in our hotel room before we crashed. Day 2’s plan was Greenwich with the lovely Michelle and Adam, so hopefully a little less hectic. But we were feeling a bit proud of ourselves, having really made the most of our first day – and it was only half a day really. Go team.