Tuesday, March 10, 2015

To London and Back

We just got back from what can only be described as a whirlwind trip to UK. The Boy had a conference and the Gherkin and I decided to tag along. The visas ( for the non US citizens of the party) arrived on a Friday and we were off the following Wednesday.

The St. Albans Cathedral
Roman Ruins in Verulam Park
The first two days were spent in the lovely town of St. Albans in Hertfordshire. St. Albans is famous for its Cathedral and the roman ruins of Verulamium. The Gherkin was not impressed by the Cathedral, it might have something to do with the being dragged there by Mommy dearest while still recovering from jet lag.The Roman ruins on the other hand were a big success...go figure! We picked up a stone near the ruins for the Gherkin's class project on rocks and minerals and fed the ducks, geese and coots in the lake at Verulam Park, while the Boy was busy discussing infectious diseases with his colleagues.

Gherkin and Mom at the main door of the Cathedral
 We ventured out to the City on our second evening. The evening started off with the Gherkin getting squished (her words, not mine) at the Covent Garden Station where only one lift was functional during the evening rush hour! Not fun. The Gherkin lost our favorite hair clip and was besides herself until a similar clip was hastily purchased at a H&M store. We wandered around, bought a souvenir or two, crossed the Thames on foot and finally had dinner at Wagamama before heading back to the hotel.

With Vishnu Uncle at Reading Station
Posting a Letter
Family Shot in Oxford
On Day three, we checked out of our hotel and went over to Reading to visit my childhood friend Vishnu and his cousin Mayookh. We were treated to a homey lunch of rice, musur daal and macher jhol.  It was love at first sight or something like that for the Gherkin as far as Vishnu uncle and his macher jhol were concerned. After lunch, tea and some adda, off we went to explore Oxford. The sights were taken in, touristy pictures clicked and more souvenirs purchased. For dinner, we went to the House of Flavors in Reading. Apparently when in the U.K., one must check out Indian food or so we were told. The food was great when it finally appeared after an hour or so. Would love to go back there on a less hectic night...perhaps next time!

On the London Eye
Hello Paddington, Old Friend!
Day four  was reserved for sightseeing in the City and the London Eye...the latter was what the Gherkin wanted to do. And guess what?..two minutes into the ride we were told that it was too slow. Apparently she was looking for a thrill ride.  Lunch was Wagamama ...again! I fell in love with this place and cannot wait for them to open more stores stateside. After lunch we took a ride on the Thames Clipper to the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. Since we did not have much time, we had decided to forego the queues at the more touristy places like the Tower Bridge. The boat ride would allow the Gherkin to take a nap, while we took in the sights. Unfortunately, by the time we reached Greenwich the place was closing down and we could not hike up to the see the Meridian line. We wandered around the old buildings for a bit before heading back.

Another Family Protrait at the London Tower
With Vishnu Uncle
This time around, we stopped at the Tower Bridge for re-fueling at a Starbucks and what else -some more pictures.  Our final stop was the Buckingham Palace but once again by the time we reached the Palace gates it was dark and we could barely make out the "men in funny hats" and the Queen "had gone to bed".  The Gherkin too had had enough adventures and all she wanted was her macher jhol.

So we went back to Reading and Vishnu Uncle and macher jhol...followed by scotch and adda for the adults.

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