Roz and Alan's property is along the left hand side.
Kings Langley, Roz's living room: Tuesday 7:30 am GMT
We took our time getting up and about on Monday. We are, after all, on vacation. So after emailing the kids and the rest of the family, having some tea and eating some breakfast, we headed off for the train station to London.
I took a photo of the canal behind Roz's house. They own a fair little plot of land along the left hand side of this pic. Then we walked past the façade of the old Ovaltine factory (which is being made into ultra contemporary apartments). From the train station in Kings Langley till we popped out of the underground at Charing Cross station was only 45 minutes. I stopped and took a picture of a "Way Out" sign. We got quite a kick out of that. As in, groovy, dude.
Once we were in London, I got the feeling that we weren't really. I believe we spent most of the time in the City of Westminster.
We saw Trafalgar square and got a picture of me in front of one of the lions so the kids could see. The main thing that interested me there was the statue of Charles I that his son managed to save from destruction by Cromwell. I'd love to know the story of how that happened. It's not like he could stuff the thing under the corner of his rain slicker on his way out of the country.
We walked down to Buckingham Palace and saw some sort of pomp (Roz says it was the changing of the guard, though the man with the gun stayed in one place the whole time and didn't change in the least bit). I got a couple of pictures of horses there as that's what the kids would be most interested in. The men with hats came out blurry. And I thought my brother-in-law, Ryan, might be interested in the submachine gun.
From there we wandered toward Westminster Abbey, where I found several lizard type figures that I thought Nathan might enjoy seeing) and, of course, Big Ben, which Garfield saw on his visit so I figured we should check it out as well. ;-)
We were starving at this point and every little sandwich shop I saw Rob went sprinting past so we hopped on the underground and arrived somewhere near the Japanese embassy where we found a yummy Lebanese restaurant that was rather expensive and posh (and here we are with our massive backpacks that looked very out of place there). We ordered up a deal where we got 6 appetizers: hummous, falafel, sausages, tabbouli, spinach pies and something incredibly yummy that I don't have a name for, but it tasted similar to an au gratin and was incredibly yummy. It was 40 pounds, though, which means we spent $80 on appetizers. !!! (The exchange rate just happens to suck pretty bad at the moment.)
We got back on the underground and came out onto Oxford street which was exactly the sort of place Rob had been hoping for. We hit several book shops and then found a cafe (Nero's) and stopped and had some tea and read awhile. We were astounded by how many Body Shops we saw. And we were even more in shock by the English distaste for road signs. Though many buildings had the street names plastered on them, several of the newer buildings had nothing of the sort. And the maps are incredibly difficult to read because thereâs not a decent amount of space between streets so all of the lines and words get munched together.
We caught the 6:09 train back to Kings Langley and just happened to see Roz as she coming toward the train so we called her on to join us. We had stir fry for dinner (made with cous cous instead of rice, which was very good) and then were introduced to several delightful little books, the first of which is a travel guide by lonely planet called Micro Nations. I am considering becoming a citizen of Lovely now. ;-) We also discovered Ben Schotts three books of Miscellany: Schott's Original Miscellany, Schott's Food & Drink Miscellany and Schott's Sporting, Gaming & Idling Miscellany.
And I had the best night of sleep I've had since last Thursday night. :-)