Sunday, June 24, 2007

Weekend Recap

We're in the final minutes (UK time) of what was a very touristy weekend for us. But we're tourists, and so that's what we do.

It began on Saturday morning with a walk west, down to the Tower of London. Our flat's location, right near St. Paul's Cathedral, offers us great opportunities; the Tower of London is a lovely 25 minute walk down the river, the Tate Modern is a 3 minute walk across the Millenium Bridge, and then, of course, there's St. Paul's itself, right across the street. Saturday dawned warm and muggy; but as the clouds rolled in later in the day it became quite chilly. Eventually it rained on us, as it always seems to do here.

The Tower was very crowded, which is probably to be expected on a Saturday in June. Last time I was there was a weekday in February 1993, and there was hardly a soul around. But we stood shoulder to shoulder with tourists from every corner of the globe and forced Margot's strolled over the cobbled paths within the Tower. Our Beefeater tour guide regaled us with tales of beheadings and imprisonment. Margot showed no interest in his stories; anyway, there was a group of 100 people surrounding him so she was more interested in making loud public comments about the people she saw. (For example, "Mommy, that man has no hair. Why doesn't he have hair?" or "Mommy, what's on that girl's face?" (a bindi) So I tried my best to answer her without drawing too much attention to her questions.

I'm not sure if Margot really took the whole medieval theme to heart at that point (the Beefeater had just explained that the surrounding moat was really a sewer for the whole town) or if she simply forgot her potty training, but all of a sudden I realized that a large puddle was forming beneath her on the cobbled path. Sigh. I was lucky enough to have a change of clothes for her in my bag, and so I wisked her off to a semi-private corner and changed her. My only satisfaction was that if anyone tried to pickpocket my open bag, they'd come up with a handful of urine-soaked jeans.

The rest of our visit to the Tower was without incident, and even included a brief nap for Margot in her stroller. So we took the long way home, in the rain, and walked back to our flat along the opposite river bank, stopping just briefly for a pint next to this ship.

On Sunday, we lamented the cold rain that was falling and scrapped our plans to attend an outdoor festival. We treated ourselves to actual brewed coffee (it's expensive, about $4 a cup, and we only have instant crystals at home since there's no coffee maker in our flat) and walked out our door and over the bridge to the Tate Modern for a quick visit. It was a very quick visit because it was packed, and Margot showed signs of needing a nap. We brought her home, where she tossed and turned for 45 minutes before declaring, "Mommy, I'm awake!"

And so she was. Brodie and I packed up Margot, and Babi the Pig, and headed out to Harrod's since Brodie had never been. We spent a few hours wandering the incredible array of goods - very, very expensive goods - and concluded that even if we could afford to shop there we wouldn't simply on principle. But it was a nice way to close the afternoon, staring at so much opulence. I longed to get Portia a diamond-studded collar (ok, not really) and Brodie eyed an Eames desk chair. But reality won out, and so we rode the Tube back to our flat and ate a dinner of pasta, and sauce, and tomatoes, and parmesan cheese (Margot's favorite meal).

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