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Saturday, January 02, 2016

Christmas in London

Anton's saga is not over but is taking a little break since his kindergarten is closed for winter holidays.  I will post an update later once we have some answers.  

For winter vacation we decided to head to London because we found very reasonable airplane tickets using RyanAir (discount airline) and then we found a very reasonably priced apartment in the central London.

We loved London - it was expensive but has so much stuff to see and do.  In most places we visit we try to make things fun for both kids and us alike.  That usually means that while our itinerary is sight-seeing in the overall nature, there are some side trips that might include things like playgrounds.  We left Frankfurt really early - our flight out was at 6am, but that also means we arrived in London and still had a day to settle in and start seeing things.  However, it was a very long day. Our apartment was a 2 bedroom place and it definitely had enough room for everybody to feel pretty comfortable.

Of course, everything including public transportation shuts down for Christmas so planned on spending that day just walking around the city and doing the outside stuff - Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Picadilly Circus,etc.  It was actually pretty nice because there were fewer cars on the street and some streets were altogether closed for cars, it made walking and in the case of Ilya and Anton running a lot safer and easier.

Overall, we saw Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, St. Pauls Cathedral, HMS Belfast, Winter Wonderland, British Museum (twice), London Eye, Tower of London, took a hop on/hop off bus, ran across Tower Bridge (in the pouring rain) and did a cruise on Thames.  We also enjoyed English food such as banger and mash, fish and chips, cottage pie and some other random stuff :)  Of course, not to be forgotten we spoke English and people mostly understood us, and they spoke English back to us and we mostly understood them as well.

A couple of more highlights of our trip - Chris, Anton and Ilya climbed 528 steps up St. Paul's Cathedral and then 528 steps down while Andrei and I enjoyed the view from below.  Ilya loved British Museum while Andrei not so much - Andrei prefers paintings while Ilya is happy with artifacts. HMS Belfast is an actual ship that used to be operational and went through World War II and the Korean War before it was decommissioned and turned into museum but we got to go down into the depths of the boiler room, engineering room, kitchen and many more that I can't list. 

First day - everybody is tired at Westminster Abbey



Royal Mint Museum

Tower Bridge in the background

Tower of London

HMS Belfast

Crepes make an excellent snack in the rainy afternoon

Yep - that is TGIF in London!

Trafalgar Square

Ilya and Anton running to Buckingham Palace on car-free streets

Ilya after watching guards at Buckingham Palace :)

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