My Parents Are in Town!

Back at the beginning of February, my parents came to visit London (and Morocco, but we will get to that later).  I haven't seen them since early June (EIGHT months ago!) so I was totally excited to spend some good time together.  They arrived early Monday morning and I assumed their loooong flight would have wiped them out, requiring a nap before they'd be able to function.  I was wrong.  They barely had their bags set down in their room before they wanted to get out and explore!  It was awesome and we didn't waste a minute...

Day One: Explored Notting Hill (gorgeous, charming, uppity in a good way), walked Portobello Road in the rain, ate lunch at Granger & Co. (hello, ricotta hotcakes with bananas and honey butter!!), and finished that off with the yummiest treats at Ottolenghi (their flourless chocolate cake was made in heaven).  We caught the tube home just in time to beat my older girls home from school.  They were so excited to see Grandma and Poppy!!

(Covent Garden and its street performers below)

Day Two: Brian, Tessa, my parents and I had breakfast reservations at Darwin's Brasserie at the Walkie Talkie building in central London.  The breakfast was sub-par, but the company and the views were a m a z i n g.  You can literally see ALL of London way, way way high from every angle.  It was pretty awesome and a definite must-do for visitors (you have to book in advance, but the Sky Garden views are free and cannot be beat).  We loitered around for quite some time getting our bearings and taking it in.  Below is a picture looking south at the Shard.  From there, we took the tube to Westminster Abbey and the buildings of Parliament/Big Ben- one of my favorite parts of the city.  I love the Abbey as well as the memorials surrounding it and a visit to London is incomplete without this stop.  We then walked to the Tate Britain museum.  I cannot believe I haven't been here yet- I absolutely loved seeing many of JMW Turner's masterpieces...I would fill the walls of my home with his work if I could.  Last, we took a bus past Buckingham Palace to Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery.  The sun was out in full force, and so were the street performers.  We sat and watched from between the columns of the National Gallery to take the perfect afternoon in...now this spot is my favorite place in all of London.  

(Above is the Sky Garden)

Day Three: Tessa wanted to go to preschool today because she was missing her sweet friends. After dropping her off, we put our comfortable shoes on for a long walk around the neighborhood.  We admired the gorgeous homes of Avenue Road and then wound over to the top of Primrose Hill for another view of London.  From there, we went up....up the hills and winding streets to the charming, quaint, and quiet streets of Hampstead.  Dad wanted to check out some antiques, so we did that, and then headed back to get Tessa from preschool.  We scooted down to Borough Market for a yummy lunch and treats (the best brownies and doughnuts ever!).  Later that night, we all went to Harrod's to check out the famous Food Hall and Toy Kingdom.

Day Four: We walked Covent Garden for lunch and the best street performers (video above)...Trafalgar Square again (you really can't tire of that place)...Piccadilly Circus...Leicester Square (struck out on tickets to a Broadway here)...Regent Street for shopping...finished off with a walk through gorgeous Mayfair.  (I think I may be starting to finally wear my parents out...we have been averaging about 8 miles/day so far).

Saatchi Gallery

The girls giggled forever at this installation that distorted their faces and bodies.

Gorgeous side streets of Chelsea

Day Five: Still having some energy to go, we headed to Chelsea- another area that I've never been to.  I bought these cool walking tour cards, which I brought along, so we could navigate and see some interesting things.  We walked off the bus and into bustling Sloane Square and then down the famous King's Road (high-end shopper's paradise).  We then headed straight for the Saatchi Gallery.  Taylor and Lauren's classes were asked to participate in an art display with 3000 other kids from around the world.  They decorated boxes and filled an entire room at the Saatchi with all of them...it was really cool and also hard to find the one you were looking for- we could sadly only find Taylor's box.  But now Taylor and Lauren can say that they've had art on display at a famous gallery in London, right?! ;)  We finished our Chelsea walk through the charming side streets where famous people used to live (and probably still do!) and then by the handsome Royal Hospital Chelsea built by Christopher Wren in the 1600's.  Gorgeous.   It sure was fun to show my parents all around London.  We mostly spent time in places that I hadn't seen yet, so it was really cool to see more of this city.  But, man, I just love spending time with family no matter what we do or see.  There really is nothing better.

Day Five: Still having some energy to go, we headed to Chelsea- another area that I've never been to.  I bought these cool walking tour cards, which I brought along, so we could navigate and see some interesting things.  We walked off the bus and into bustling Sloane Square and then down the famous King's Road (high-end shopper's paradise).  We then headed straight for the Saatchi Gallery.  Taylor and Lauren's classes were asked to participate in an art display with 3000 other kids from around the world.  They decorated boxes and filled an entire room at the Saatchi with all of them...it was really cool and also hard to find the one you were looking for- we could sadly only find Taylor's box.  But now Taylor and Lauren can say that they've had art on display at a famous gallery in London, right?! ;)  We finished our Chelsea walk through the charming side streets where famous people used to live (and probably still do!) and then by the handsome Royal Hospital Chelsea built by Christopher Wren in the 1600's.  Gorgeous.  

It sure was fun to show my parents all around London.  We mostly spent time in places that I hadn't seen yet, so it was really cool to see more of this city.  But, man, I just love spending time with family no matter what we do or see.  There really is nothing better.