Sunday, July 20, 2008

Thoughts on London

As I look back over the 9 days we spent in London, I find myself thinking about the things I would do the next time we travel there.

This must be a positive, meaning I had an enjoyable enough experience that I'd like to go back someday.

It's definitely must be a different experience with kids, since we were limited by how much they could do in one day. When they needed to stop, we stopped. Most of the planning was around them. There were many walks in my "24 Walks In London" book that there was just no way I could do with them. If we ever were to go back, I would certainly want to either 1) go with just Bret or 2) hire Grandma! Of course, it will be many years before we would even begin planning something of this magnitude again in terms of a vacation, so the kids will be much older at that point as well.

Now that isn't saying I didn't have a good time, like I said I'm just thinking of some of the things I would have liked to do vs. what we did. The touristy things were fine. The Harry Potter film locales became old quicker for me than for Bret, but he's the Potter fan along with Allison so I was just along for the ride. I did get to see some beautiful English countryside, villages, and cathedrals however.

Didn't get my burger, chips, and beer in a pub for 5 pounds though. That's a definite must-do next time around!

When not trying to maneuver in the Underground, I enjoyed the people. They were always very nice when we asked for directions, or where we were at. In the hustle and bustle of the Underground though, it was typical city-rudeness.

It's also a much more environmentally-conscious environment too. You do not really grasp how UN-environmentally conscious the US is, until you've experienced how they run things in Europe. Rather sad when you think about it. The US should be much further in this than we are (I know in many instances I'm preaching to the choir in this statement).

The food is probably what I liked least about England. We found a hit in Nando's, and the first time I had fish and chips it was good. The second time after a couple of bites I was pretty greased out. Most of the other food I tried was quite bland, and you needed to add salt and pepper to everything just to make it semi-edible. The kids did ok, as they are not fans of really flavorful food anyway. They enjoyed chips with vinegar.

Coming home, we found security is much more normal at their airport than in the US. First off, you didn't have to remove your shoes. Secondly, their xray machines can see THROUGH laptop bags, so they didn't have to be taken out. Just an all-around better experience to not be hounded by the TSA and pseudo-security.

Yes, I would most definitely like to do more traveling abroad. If my experience was this good overall WITH my young girls, it can only get better as they get older!

I am hoping Bret will write his thoughts soon, as I'm sure he has his own perspectives from the week he would want to share- including driving in London!

1 comment:

Tim Dodge said...

Your comments about traveling with your kids when they're young vs. when they're older got me thinking. I've never traveled abroad, but we've done quite a bit of domestic travel with our kids. My boys are 19, 16 and almost 13. The changes in travel as they've grown have been interesting.

We've been to DisneyWorld 4 times. The first time they were, of course, beyond excited (the older 2 were pre-schoolers; #3 was still on the drawing board). The last time (18 months ago), they had fun, but it wasn't quite the same. Don't know if we'll go back. I think that's kind of sad, but I guess it's unavoidable.

On the upside, we can now go to NYC (which we're doing tomorrow) and see all kinds of things that we couldn't do when they were small. We'll walk Central Park, go up in a skyscraper, eat at an expensive restaurant, maybe visit Chinatown. We'll take in 2 ball games (something we also did when they were little). I guess what I'm trying to say is that, as they grow up, you lose a little but you also get a little. Yeah, I miss the days when they couldn't wait to see Mickey, but it will be really cool to go to the top of the Chrysler Building with my youngest, who's really interested in tall buildings.

Glad you had fun. You can take the rain back to Arizona with you anytime. :)