Travels: London

"If our lives are dominated by a search for happiness, then perhaps few activities reveal as much about the dynamics of this quest – in all its ardour and paradoxes – than our travels."
Alain de Botton

Thus it begins. London was the first stop of our summer trip to Europe, the beginning of a 3+ week family adventure that took us on a horseshoe sort of loop  starting in London and winding up in Paris. I figure you've seen the typical tourist brochure photos so this is a bit different. We absolutely loved London!!! At every turn, so much going on, so much to see, just non-stop. The trip was about 3 months after foot-surgery... I felt every.single.step and my jet-lag was pretty severe the first few days. 

Now that my daughters are 13 and 15, one of the things we did differently this trip was for the kids to each take a city and plan the sight-seeing portion. I typically do the "big picture" stuff like the flights, the routing, the transportation, the hotels, the packing list. My husband typically maps out the "things to do" in each city. DD15 was the London TourGuide and did a fabulous job! She looked at London using Google Earth and made a list of the potential things to see. That is no small task for such a massive urban area. She studied tube maps and figured out where the hotel was in relation to the stuff we were going to see. I pulled all of our notes together in Evernote and was able to refer to them on my phone while we were out and about. I loved seeing her experience the actual city {vs. the Google Earth in her planning}.

This was our first visit to London and we tried to pack in as much as we could into about 4 days. We went to Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral, Big Ben, walked through Hyde Park, watched the changing of the guard, grabbed t-shirts at the Hard Rock Café {we are tourists with teenagers, as you know}, rode a double-decker bus, rode the tube around the city and to/from LHR, went to King's Cross Station to see the fake platform 9 3/4 and the mini Harry Potter Store {the girls LOVED this and we all got a kick out of the wand selection}, went on a Thames River tour, the Tower of London... just an overview of an incredibly interesting and unique city.