London | September 2011

Yet another work meeting across the Atlantic, this time in Woking, about 45 minutes outside London. This time I decided to take some proper time off after the meeting; Gen and Aman came along and we planned to visit Paris and Italy as well. This time Aman was big enough to really enjoy the museums, restaurants, and sights that London had to offer.

We arrived into London on Sunday around noon. We didn’t have to leave for Woking until the next day, so we had a day and a half to spend in London.

First tracks on Heathrow Express
Hello, London summer
Looking none the worse for wear after an 8-hour overnight flight, mostly spent watching movies with almost no sleep

We took a short nap, walked around Bayswater, and Hyde Park for a bit, before dining at my favorite restaurant in the world, Satay House. Their awesome rendang daging was exactly what I needed after all the traveling.

The next morning we woke up quite refreshed. We planned to take a late afternoon train to Woking, so had the morning free. Aman had two things on his agenda: Big Ben and a museum; so we had our plan for the day.

Morning rush hour
Westminster
There is no way one can go to Westminster with a 4-year old and not ride the London Eye; so that's what we did

After Westminster, we headed up to the British Museum. One of the things I love about London are the free museums. A place like the British Museum has so many priceless historical artifacts, yet it’s completely free (special exhibits notwithstanding).

Making our way to the British Museum
The Great Court at the British Museum
In the midst of knowledge

I’d been reading Susan Wise Bauer’s History of the Ancient World, so I was quite enthralled by the artifacts on display, especially the Rosetta Stone. The immense statues, gates, and walls from ancient Egypt, Babylon, and reigns of rulers like Sargon the Great were spectacular.

Ancient Egypt
Sargon the Great

As expected, Aman got tired before we could see the whole place. But after a few hours and hopefully a bit more knowledgeable than when we started, we left the museum. We went back to the hotel in Paddington, picked up our bags, and went down to Waterloo Station to catch the train to Woking. The train was PACKED due to rush hour, but a quick 45 minutes later, we alighted at Woking. The next week was spent in Woking – I was at meetings all day into the early evening, while Gen and Aman walked around and explored the town. After the week was over, on Friday, we took the train back into London Waterloo. From there it was on to St. Pancras Station for the Eurostar, and we were on our way to Paris.

 Intermission —

Paris

Amalfi

 Intermission —

After Amalfi, we flew back into Paris, and then took the Eurostar from Gare du Nord back to London. This time we stayed at the Renaissance St. Pancras, which is right in the historic train station. The place is really visually stunning.

St. Pancras Station
The Renaissance lobby
St. Pancras Station
Blend of modern and historical

The next morning we had breakfast in the gorgeous restaurant old ticket office of the original train station.

English tea for breakfast at the hotel

Our first stop was the gorgeous Leadenhall Market, which sits at what used to be the center of Roman London. The Diagon Alley location in the Harry Potter movies was also filmed here.

Leadenhall Market
Gorgeous details
Chocolate break

After Leadenhall, we went over to Trafalgar Square for a little bit. The Portrait Gallery didn’t do much for Aman, so we left and spent some time in the sunshine, while walking over to St. James Park.

Trafalgar Square
At Trafalgar Square with Aman
Fall leaves + 4-year old = only one result

After a quick lunch we went back to the hotel for a nap (Aman does much better when he can rest in the afternoon). We wanted to check out Tower Bridge, and made our way over in the early evening. Our walk from London Bridge to Tower Bridge started out a little drizzly but it cleared up pretty quickly, making for a very nice evening. We finished up with dinner at Mala, a very good Indian restaurant at St. Katharine’s Dock.

A slight drizzle at the start of our walk
Wild in Art sculptures on the Thames Riverwalk
Wild in Art
Tower Bridge

Unfortunately, it was our last night of vacation. It was a great trip and it truly solidified in our minds the desire to move to Europe.

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