Saturday, August 24, 2013

London, Final Days

Day 9 brought another lovely weekend, and we had big plans.  On Saturday L and I trekked out to Dagenham to a baby goods shop to pick out a stroller and some other essentials.  Since L is due any day and has publicly announced her pregnancy on Facebook, I feel comfortable telling this part of the story now :-).  (I try hard to protect friends and family's anonymity on my blog as much as possible and not to spoil big news.)  L knew about the store through some friends, so we took the tube and then the national rail to a part of London I'd never been to to check it out.  We had a blast testing out strollers and various and sundry baby gear, with great advice and help from the store owners and employees.  We settled on a Stokke Scoot (which S liked as well when we had him check it out and which now eagerly awaits baby's arrival!) and a few other things and headed back. 

On our way we stopped in Stratford, which was the focal point for much of the Olympics.  The main park was closed at the time for the big remodel prior to its grand re-opening as a public venue.  We were craving Thai so braved the Westfields there to get our pad thai fix.  Absolutely worth it!  The rest of the day was spent poring over baby gear catalogs and Babies R Us, with a trip to Marks & Spencer to stock up on food for dinner and snacks.

Day 10 was my final day in London, and I crossed one more thing off my bucket list - seeing The Lion King on stage!  We had bought tickets the day before for the Sunday matinee and planned the day around it. 

I woke up early and headed to Marks & Spencer to stock up on a few last minute things, forgetting it was Sunday and a late start.  Oh well.  I got back to the house and went to check in online, realizing in horror that my flight was three hours earlier than I had thought it was.  So much for a relaxing evening after the theater!  I would have barely enough time to get back from the show and do the final packing of perishables (I brought home a lot of cheese and clotted cream) before having to leave for the airport.  Of course I fretted about it all day. 

The three of us set out for Covent Garden and had lunch in a lovely Turkish restaurant.  It was one of the few cuisines I hadn't had yet, and it hit the spot.  We wandered through the markets and shops, stopping at Laduree for my macaron fix.  I bought a lovely serving platter with lots of fun colors and patterns.  Then S headed to the library, and L and I headed for the Lyceum Theater.  Our discount tickets had us in the second to last row in the upper balcony, but it didn't matter.  I was mesmerized from the first note, amazed by the costumes and sets as so many have been before me.  I was so engrossed I almost forgot about the short time I had to get to the airport.  Almost.

The show ended not a moment earlier than advertised, and we booked it for the tube.  We made it home with about 10 minutes to spare.  I quickly changed clothes, threw my dairy products into the suitcase, and said hurried, tearful goodbyes.  What a lovely visit!

The traffic getting out of London was surprisingly heavy for a Sunday evening, but once we were on the motorway we were all set.  I checked in with no problems and made it through security in record time.  I'd never flown out of Terminal 5 before, so it took me a few minutes to get my bearings and then hit the important places:  Harrods, Boots, and Wagamama.  I had just enough time to slurp down a bowl of ramen before heading to my gate.  I arrived just in time to board and was able to move to an empty row of seats once the doors closed.  We sat on the tarmac for quite a while, waiting for a passenger who never showed up.  They then had to find and offload his luggage, which of course had been some of the first on.  Over an hour later, we'd lost our departure slot and had to wait for another one.  The flight was uneventful and too long for my taste.  We landed an hour late, considering we took off almost two hours late.  All my luggage made it, the drive back to Kampala was blissfully quick, and I had a joyous reunion with my cats.  All my dairy and toiletries made it safely!  After a welcome brunch at a neighbor's, I collapsed in bed and indulged in that deep sleep that only comes from long travel and sleep deprivation.  There's nothing quite like it :-).

And that was London.  Wonderful in every way, and I can't wait to go back.  Thanks again L&S!

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