Monday, August 11, 2014

Full day one and two in London...and Big Ben, always, Big Ben!

I should type a disclaimer right up front...our hotel is just across the Thames from Parliament, the Queen Elizabeth Tower and Big Ben. I am quite enamored. Every day, afternoon, evening, the building is draped in a different light and I can not seem to click fast enough to capture the lighting forever. I fear I will have thousands of the same shot...but really I can not help myself. It is lovely. So very lovely.

Our first full day in London was soggy. But for desert dwellers, even rain is exotic so we did not alter our plans in the least. We began with a ride on the London Eye -- a giant Ferris wheel that lifts you in an enclosed capsule high into the air for a bird's eye view of the city. 

A soggy view from the London Eye.

Inside our capsule.

The Eye offers the caregivers of persons needing handicap access free admission! We keep finding these outstanding ways that Britain cares for the people near and dear to us!

We continued with a tour of Churchill's secret underground war rooms. The history was fascinating and we stayed touring, reading, absorbing for hours! (I will share more of this after we get home.)

We opt to walk most places. The underground has limited accessible stations and frankly you just see so much more of the city when you walk from place to place. We have stumbled upon some wonderful treats already -- and had to bypass some of them because they had no access for the boys. London is an old old city and yet we have been pleasantly surprised by the level of access.

I found some graffiti for my sweet sister-in-law!

I am hoping our wanderings will bring us back here when the store is open!

Today was beautiful with only scattered showers. We set out early to see the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace!

I warned you...

My family walking through the gates to find spots for the guard ceremony.

We arrived an hour early to secure a spot where all four kiddos could see relatively well. It was such a cross-cultural hour. We visited with an older couple from Germany and a young couple from Sicily. When the Royal Band had been playing for a while, the young lady from Sicily turned to me and said, "Am I crazy or does that sound like "Thriller."  I assured her she was NOT crazy! Who knew the Royal Band would only play Pop music?!


We meandered around Piccadilly Circus all afternoon finding the loveliest shops and bookstores.

And then we raced a rainstorm back to the hotel to get ready for the theater. The bottom fell out just as we needed to leave. The dear bellman at our hotel got us a couple of taxis...we kept trying to impress on him that we had to have accessible taxis and he didn't seem to understand our questioning him over and over again (I am nothing if not diligent about explaining our needs.). When we ducked out in the rain to get in the taxis, the drivers promptly lowered ramps. Apparently all the taxis in London are required to offer access! How amazing is that?!!!

St. Martin's Theater in London's West End is almost 100 years old. Built in 1914, the theater does not have an accessible entrance. But when the doors opened, a wonderful gentleman brought out a ramp to help Benjamin and Mason inside. He then used the ramp again to get Benjamin up the steps to the box seat that was designated for his wheelchair and two companions. He had a wonderful view of Agatha Christie's Mousetrap!

Outside before the show!

Benjamin, Claire and Dad in their viewing box!

Our feet are a bit sore, but our hearts are full as we are making some of the most incredible memories together! I got tickled when Cate looked at me tonight and said, "I have seen more redheads here than I have ever seen in my life! I am from here, aren't I?" And then there is the accent she is acquiring...oh my!

Mason thinks he just might stay behind.

Benjamin is writing a play in his head to be put on paper when he returns.

Claire needs more luggage for the books she keeps finding and needing to bring home.

Dad stays busy mapping our way from place to place -- avoiding streets that end in stairs (we have happened upon two of those so far that were not on the map) and finding the curbs with ramp access.

And as for me: I am just loving watching the faces of my children as they experience this wonderful place!

And this, taking pictures of this. I may have an addiction. No one help me, please!

Carol - The Blessings Counter


GreenGirl said...

Love the smiles, keep the photos coming!

K said...

Loved hearing (and seeing!) about your trip so far and looking forward to hearing about the rest! Looks like you guys are having an amazing time, and I can definitely relate to Claire's love of books! :)

Jeff Heimbuch said...

That is amazing, I'm so glad they have all these things in place to make your lives easier! And I don't think I've seen Benjamin smile in so many photos in a row before!!