I am starting to write this on Saturday, 27 October (yes I have had that little available time to write) and not sure when I will be able to post. Yesterday (Friday) I could connect through the hotel, but last night at 11PM none of us could connect. Worst that happens is I post my tales from my first B&B on Monday.
So, let me relate Thursday and Friday on this post (and as I am getting back to this will include today, Saturday). Thursday, Lisa and Alex and I arrived at the British Museum (a short walk from our hotel) at 10:30 and before we knew it, it was 1:30 and David and Mari called to meet us. We started off with the mummies and Egyptian history. Then took in
the Japan exhibit with the samurai accoutrements, the Etruscan room, and then saw the coin room and were fascinated by the clock exhibit. In the coin room there was a hands-on lecture volunteer explaining and letting people touch actual museum pieces. Lisa and I saw that on the first floor there were a number of such hands-on experiences and we took Alex there where a very knowledgeable woman shared almost a million years of history with us starting with a fascinating stone implement.
Meeting Mari and David outside we grabbed some lunch and got on the tube. David, Alex and I exited at Covent Gardens and the ladies continued to go to Bond Street shopping and then to Harrods. David and I had both been to the London Transport Museum before, but there had been many changes recently including lots of children’s activities (from what I have learned, most of the museums here now have become more child friendly for learning), and the plan was to spend time there. Too much to absorb in one visit, and my ticket is good for a year, so I will be back.
This fascinating museum traces the development of the tube and suburbs through peace and war. Make the trip there for sure!
David had a meeting at 5PM so we parted and Alex and I travelled to Harrods. If you ever plan to make cell calls in Harrods do so before getting there. I could not reach Mari at all,
and Alex and I waited in the ladies shoe department (where she said she was going) while I called and called. Finally I reached her, but she thinks it is because she was under a skylight. David later in the evening found he could not make calls inside Harrods. But we met then in the fabulous toy department, attended an animated book reading, and played our way across the floor. I cannot wait to get back to Harrods (my first visit was when Cathy and I were dating in 1993 and I bought a little gift there to bring back for
her). Next visit I will need to spend at least a half a day there with at least each lunch, and possibly dinner too. David called us and it ends up that three of his Japanese colleagues and one from the UK had journeyed with him to a Lebanese restaurant nearby. He came and got us and a fabulous evening followed at MAUOUSH 1 (www.maroush.com). We got back to the hotel close to midnight – now that is running hard – 13 ½ hours on the go – and with two kids!!!)
Friday – Mari was free until about 3PM. She had seen the changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace at an age in between that of Lisa and Mari, and it was an “even day” with the event on at 11:30. We arrived in time to join the massive crowd. It is one of those things you can say, “been there, done that!” As you know, I am
not a crowd person, and really there is no decent vantage point for the Changing of the Guard. We then walked back to Westminster Cathedral, but opted out of going in due to the queue and cost (I did visit over 20 years ago with no crowds, as had Mari). A couple of bus rides later with the kids enjoying riding on the top level at the front window, we arrived back at the hotel. From 3:30 to 4:30 I scoped out where David’s opening keynote address was to be held, and met a firm guard who said, “you are not getting in the building without passes!” There is a reason why I am relied upon, and check things out early. So, off I headed to the conference registration area, found David’s secretary, Stacey, and said “help!” Problem solved, badges in hand for the three of us!
We arrived shortly before David’s address. Mari saw us and showed us to our seats she had saved. For an hour all I can say is proud Dad wanted to cry with his son’s brilliance. This was the opening of the Functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy Conference for the society of the same name which David has been instrumental with organizing (check out www.fnirs.org).
Their work is with imaging the brain to look at issues such as pain functions and epilepsy (about all I understood of his talk). Mari later told me that his research in this field represents about a quarter of what he is involved with. If you have a chance just google “David Boas” (proud Papa again). Afterwards we attended the reception for the conference and the kids and I were then seated at our own table at a private dinner. Arrival time back at the hotel – 10:30 – an eleven plus hour day!
What does that bring us to? Oh yes, today, Saturday – just the kids and I, and the plan was for Tower Bridge and The Tower of London. We took a circuitous bus ride (starting at
the first stop – top of the bus front seats) and arrived at Tower Bridge, built in 1894, shortly after 11. WOW – the views, the restoration, a visit to the bridge is a MUST DO! We then continued across to The Tower of London area, but first had a bite to eat, entering the Tower then about 1:30 spending almost 3 hours. The Crown Jewels collection is a must, and the set-up has been changed since my last visit in 1993 (I asked, and they did in fact revamp the layout in 1994). But overall I think The Tower of London is overhyped for the cost and crowds. It is another “been there, done that,” and I have now done it twice.
By 5:40 we were back at the hotel, and rested a tad before heading to a typical English Pub just off the campus for a private gathering for the conference. Lisa, Alex and I stayed just a short time (for appetizers and two glasses of wine) before coming back to the hotel. I have no idea when David and Mari will make it back, but that is why I am here – they don’t have to worry about getting back.
The kids want to sleep in tomorrow even though we are setting the clocks back an hour (what is wrong with youth?). Once they are alert, possibilities are the science museum or natural history museum, or Madame Tussard’s or a combination. So, if I cannot get this posted tonight I will in the morning while they are still out cold, and I will next report to you from my B&B in Stratford on Avon (been there too, anxious to get back). Goodnight, and God Bless, as always, yours,