London 2017: An Oddly Wonderful Trip
You know a place is special when you still love it after four days spent with the flu, dragging kids across creation by day and sleeping alongside those tired kids in a single hotel room by night. London is that special kind of place.
Our first travel purchase after arriving in Spain were roundtrip flights back home to celebrate my sister Becky’s wedding. After lots of research and digging around, I discovered that flying out of London would save us roughly $1,000. Luck would have it that London is one of my favorite cities, and that Dennis and Charlotte have never been but were also dying to go. So, I purchased flights out of London (with regional flights booked separately from Spain), and tacked a few days on our way back.
As unfortunate foreshadowing, when we turned our phones back on after touching down in London, we had messages waiting that members of the family had come down with the flu. At that point, all was well, and I was flying high because in a last-minute stroke of genius, I had booked us a car and driver to take us to the hotel. Really, so proud of myself on that one. Not significantly more expensive than other options, but worth every extra penny to not need to lug three car seats or chase Henry. Not so proud that I had us delivered to the wrong Premier Inn. Who knew there were two in such proximity?
We stayed in the Premier Inn in Bank after I read it was the “best family hotel in Britain.” Also, it slept our family of five in a really sizable “family room” at a fair price, which is quite a feat in London. I will say that it was very conveniently located to the sites we wanted to tick on this trip. We could just about see the Tower of London, and the tube was about a five-minute walk. But, it was in commercial center that bustled at rush hour but was devoid of much character. Which is fine, but now that we’ve seen those sites, I’d look in a different neighborhood next time. Also, for review’s sake, Premier Inn promotes it’s breakfast a bunch and at first I was oddly excited about an on-site breakfast buffet to fuel us for a day of sightseeing. Sadly, we did not find it worth the price.
That first day, it was late afternoon by the time we could venture anywhere and our little explorers weren’t too much into exploring. So, we walked around the block, grabbed some dinner in the hotel restaurant and went to bed. At which time Charlotte had a fever and mine was quickly to come.
Despite this onset of illness, our trip went on. And if ever there was a place for this to happen, London was it. It’s convenient. The metro is easy. Everything and everyone speaks English. Grocery stores and bakeries are on every corner and open at all reasonable hours. And while I ended up feeling absolutely the most ill I remember feeling in a long time, I still enjoyed myself the few hours I ventured out each day. Dennis had a great first trip to London, and probably was able to see more than we had originally planned, as he took each kid on special one-on-one adventures. I wasn’t even along, but thinking of those memories between them makes me so happy. We approached this trip more relaxed because we knew we’d return many times. And maybe that contributed to the trip’s odd success. But, either way, as planned, we all left looking forward to our next visit.