23 May 2015

Back to London

Drive to London? Are you mad, the locals asked. Ok, despite having done it ten years ago with no issue they were probably right it wasn't the best option with two kids. Nonetheless we set off at 4am and drove to the French Eurotunnel station where we drove our car onto the train to cross the under the English Channel. When we arrived at 8.50am (with three minutes spare till we missed our cutoff) our car number plate was automatically read and we just had to click "ok" on the touch screen to confirm our name and drive into the waiting area...Josh was most impressed with the whole operation. 

Back in English soil we headed to the nearest town to stretch our legs. First stop a ye olde lolly shop to obtain parking meter change.  

With the clocks going back an hour we felt a second breakfast was in order and we couldn't go past the local greasy spoon for an excessive amount of white sliced toast and jam. 

Sticking the little finger out is not easy with a mug this big. 

And then a short stroll along "the High St". 

We pushed on to London to our AirBnB apartment which turned out great and had a view of the canal and park to match. 

Finding a car park proved more challenging and two hours later I returned home after abandoning the car in a questionable garage 4kms away! 

In a moment of exhaustion induced insanity we decided a short stroll along the canal to our old London neighborhood was a good idea. 

The operation of the old canal gates was pretty cool though...We all secretly wished they opened the wrong gate and went flying downstream like a category 4 rapids. 

Two hours and several unsuitable dinner options later tempers were a little...frayed. We eventually found a hipster coffee shop that served hummus and carrot sticks. It wasn't the fish n chips we had aimed for and I had to contain my Hulk-like rage as this 'dinner' was served up. 

We pledged to take it easier today so caught the bus to central London. First stop Tower of London. 

Josh expressed his displeasure at the 'no climbing on me' sign on Shaun. 

Look, it's the new shard building! 

Sightseeing threshold reached (15 minutes for Josh) we went to meet our old pals Ulli, Torre and kids. 

Josh persisted with the balloon from the lunch restaurant but it did make him easy to find in a crowd. 

We retreated inside from the rain and found this wacky green screen play area that the kids loved. Spot the child that doesn't quite get it...

Back on the Tube Lew lead the charm offensive of everybody on the train with his uber cuteness and after staring down a woman eating a 'chocolate digestive' he even managed to get her to share!

And we pushed through the pain to show Josh the dinosaurs at the Natural History museum.

This one had "real eyes but the rest of it wasn't real".

We blindly followed the SatNav to the house of our friends' Sophia and Phil and their kids (who I won't name for Internet privacy's sake).  This mistake meant a 90 minute drive along a never ending series of shops through central London! But at least we got to drive over Tower Bridge which is always exciting. 

After Ben's trampoline 'double bounce' incident, Phil took over at a more sedate pace. 

Time to head back to Köln. Lew took the driving shift under the English Channel while we got some rest. 

Back on the mainland we stopped off at the small French town Gravelines for lunch. 

And then a stroll around the old medieval fort...love a good medieval fort. 

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