Last Hours in London

After we got home from Majorca, we only had eight short days left in London.  Brian was traveling a lot at the end, so it was mostly me and the girls using up every spare minute we had to see our undiscovered parts of the city and seeing again our very favorite spots.  The weather cooperated for us all week long too- it was perfect.  I asked each of the girls what they'd like to see before we moved and each one chose a museum- which was surprising, since they've each begged to never go to another museum over the last few months. ;)  Day one- Taylor chose the Imperial War Museum.  She's been reading a WWII historical fiction book series and became enamored with that time period, so she was dying to see some of the history up close and this was the perfect place to go.  We had never been, and it was even in a part of London that we weren't familiar with yet, so that was also fun to see.  The museum itself was really interesting and so well done- we could have spent all day there.  On our way home, we stopped at a fun local playground and let the kids run wild for a little bit.

This picture is from our last night in London, at Whitehall.  It makes me a little teary even looking at it- the culmination of so many good memories in our favorite place.  I miss it so much.

This was the block that we lived on.  It was perfect for us- close to school, on the high street, so getting to the store was fast and easy, we even had a snack store right on our corner, which we frequented a lot for our sugar fixes.  ;) Across the street was a gorgeous park and playground as well as our most-used double-decker bus stops- the 274, 13, and 82. (more scenes from our little corner of London below) Ah, I love this place so much.

Day Two- Lauren and Tessa both chose the Natural History Museum as their favorite place to see again.  Lauren especially wanted to visit the Earthquake room there.  We explored a lot of this amazing museum (my favorite part is the architecture, if I must say so) and ended up in another of our favorite parts, the Investigation Lab in the basement, where the kids can hold real snake skin and turtle shells, among many other things, and take measurements and write observations.  Its really cool.   After leaving the museum, we wanted to squeeze one last visit to Nando's for lunch.  On the way though, we stopped at Maitre Choux to pick up some eclairs!  We then hopped on a bus to the Diana Memorial Playground (aka the pirate ship park) where we played for a couple more hours before heading home. Day 3- We were tourists as we rode on the Big Bus Tour! I love the bus tours because you get to see so much and hear about its history.  I've been on this tour before, but it was totally fun to go again and seeing it all for the "last time" made it really special and also really sad.  It was a warm day out too, so we hopped off at the Tower of London and walked to Spitalfields Market to grab some drinks and a yummy lunch.  Kate and I had Colombian arepas and the little girls had the usual yummy pizza, followed by Bad Brownies in all their delicious varieties...yum!!  We finished the bus tour and hopped off after a full day by our house at Marble Arch.   We went shopping for school clothes on Oxford Street the next day while Kate was at a young women's trampoline activity with our church.  I love Oxford and Regent Street- this time of year, they are decorated with the Union Jack...perfection.  We went to Covent Garden the next day and listened to the museums, bought some hot chocolate at Whittard, and watched the street performers.  We grabbed lunch at our favorite pizza spot, Franco Manca, and walked all over Soho and then sat at Trafalgar Square for a good hour while the sun set.  We rode the 13 home from Golder's Green all the way to our house (my favorite ride) that night.

Day Two- Lauren and Tessa both chose the Natural History Museum as their favorite place to see again.  Lauren especially wanted to visit the Earthquake room there.  We explored a lot of this amazing museum (my favorite part is the architecture, if I must say so) and ended up in another of our favorite parts, the Investigation Lab in the basement, where the kids can hold real snake skin and turtle shells, among many other things, and take measurements and write observations.  Its really cool.  

After leaving the museum, we wanted to squeeze one last visit to Nando's for lunch.  On the way though, we stopped at Maitre Choux to pick up some eclairs!  We then hopped on a bus to the Diana Memorial Playground (aka the pirate ship park) where we played for a couple more hours before heading home.

Day 3- We were tourists as we rode on the Big Bus Tour! I love the bus tours because you get to see so much and hear about its history.  I've been on this tour before, but it was totally fun to go again and seeing it all for the "last time" made it really special and also really sad.  It was a warm day out too, so we hopped off at the Tower of London and walked to Spitalfields Market to grab some drinks and a yummy lunch.  Kate and I had Colombian arepas and the little girls had the usual yummy pizza, followed by Bad Brownies in all their delicious varieties...yum!!  We finished the bus tour and hopped off after a full day by our house at Marble Arch.  

We went shopping for school clothes on Oxford Street the next day while Kate was at a young women's trampoline activity with our church.  I love Oxford and Regent Street- this time of year, they are decorated with the Union Jack...perfection.  We went to Covent Garden the next day and listened to the museums, bought some hot chocolate at Whittard, and watched the street performers.  We grabbed lunch at our favorite pizza spot, Franco Manca, and walked all over Soho and then sat at Trafalgar Square for a good hour while the sun set.  We rode the 13 home from Golder's Green all the way to our house (my favorite ride) that night.

After 3 days of our packers taking over our house, we were all set and ready to go.  Here we are on the curb with all of our bags, headed to St. Ermin's Hotel for our very last night in this city.  Even though we are smiling, we were all pretty dang sad on the inside.  

I love the entrance to our building- so beautiful.  Kate had a chance for one last playdate with her good friend, Katy, who also happens to be from Dallas and actually used to live in our exact same flat (how's that for coincidence?!).  Most of the kids from ASL leave for the entire summer, so we were pretty happy when Katy made it back before we had to leave.

Our flat...all empty :(

There are so many things I love and miss about London- these streets and their architecture are number one.  I just can't ever get over how beautiful the buildings and gardens are.

We had a chance to say goodbye to some dear friends before we left.  This is Charlotte, my good friend and visiting teaching partner. Our girls got along really well and had a lot of fun playdates.  It was so fun to get to know so many amazing people while we lived in London.  I wish I could've gotten a picture of everyone!  

One last playdate in Regent's Park.

Its hard to explain the impact living in London has had on our family.  Life-changing.  We have each left a HUGE chunk of our hearts in this city that was our home and will always feel like home if we ever get to visit again.  We are so grateful for the experiences we had and the fantastic people we met.  I'm not sure I'll ever get over you, London, but I sure am grateful for what you've given us.  Until we meet again...