More than 24 hours on planes and in airports, a 9 hour change in time zone and a 5 AM arrival at Heathrow is a recipe for some tired travelers. But some sleep on the Singapore to London leg and the excitement of beggining our big adventure had all three of us buzzing and ready to explore. We dropped our bags off at our hotel, just a few minutes walk from a tube station, and hopped back on the train to Covent Garden markets. We got there before London had woken up, but the sun was well and truly shinning; at this time of year it is up at about 4:30. The weather was forecast to break temperature records and didn't disappoint. The locals were melting in 37 degrees. With all of the shops shut in Covent Garden, we decided to take Nathan on a double decker bus. Not bad for a four year old; 2 planes, three trains and a double decker bus ride and we were only starting the first day of our holiday. Soon enough the shops opened but shortly after that jet lag hit us. So we crashed back at our room for a 'nap' at noon
... and woke up at dinner time. Another trip to and from the city to wander around the Thames and see Big Ben and The Eye and we wished we stayed a bit closer to the action. So the first day was finished with all of our sleep cycles thrown out, but we had revisited some favourite sites sites and been to a few new parts of this big city too.
If you ever look at a London train map with all tube and overland routes it resembles a bowl of spaghetti. Each line has a train every ten minutes and each train is packed with commuters at all hours of the day and night. This place doesn't stop. It is hard to imagine what so many people are going to do at 11 PM on a week night, but they are all in a hurry to get somewhere.
Day two started with a ride on The Eye, because we had been promising Nathan a turn on the giant ferris wheel since we got here. He was rapt to get on, but then asked why it went so slowly. He might have thought it would be fun to
go faster, or it could just have been that 5 minutes into the half hour revolution he said, "I would like to go to the toilet now". Later in the day I visited Churchill's Cabinet War Rooms under the government offices next to Downing St and in the evening we caught up with an old friend. Radha met Nathan for the first time and showered him with gifts before taking him to a park with swings, a jumping castle and a variety of wild life that Nathan fed M&Ms. The signs said not to feed them bread, but didn't mention confectionary.
Another late night ride on some more packed trains had me feeling very worthy in my role as father. When your little one sleeps on your knee and is content in his complete dependence on you, you feel very important to one little being.
We visited some friends in Grantham for a few days. Leanne stayed with Charlotte who was due to have a baby just before we got there. And as I write this, I don’t know if the baby has arrived yet, but Charlotte went to the hospital just as we left her place, so
I don’t know if the new bubba has come into the world yet. Nathan was happy to have a mate to play with too. Thomas is two years older than him and a lot better at sharing his toys. They got on well most of the time and had a few visits to local parks together.
I spent a couple of days with Rich, and had a game of cricket with him at his club, Skegness, which is a seaside town with a beach and theme park rides like Brighton beach has to the south. The ground was much better than I am used to back home and they put on an awesome spread for afternoon tea. It was a proper sit down meal that a serious back packer could survive on for days. After we won, I made some new mates playing mini golf with some of the team and in the second storey bar I drank pints with them until late that night.
When I met up with Leanne again, I found out that Nathan had a really sore leg and couldn’t walk on it. That was a real worry for us and we spent an
evening in the Manchester hospital waiting for him to be seen. The x-rays showed no break and we bought a stroller to push him around in. But as kids can often do, he is showing a lot of improvement already. He walked around the airport this morning and I hope he is running around like normal in a few days. We are not sure what caused it, because he just seems to hurt himself so often. In the last few days he had a good prang on a scooter (face and finger cuts) and tripped in a rabbit hole (most likely cause of leg injury).
We thought we were on our way to Santorini until the pilot told us that the plane has some problem with it and we have to detour to another airport. First they said it was Berlin, but then we were heading towards Rome. Either way, we though we might want to stay a few days before we go to Greece. So who knew where our next post would come from? But then logic kicked in, and we remembered that our bags were going to Santorini and we are in the land of sun and
Gyros, which you shall hear about later, when Leanne posts our next edition.
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