Saturday, April 27, 2013

12 Do's and Don't's for the American Tourist in London

1. Don't stay up for an ENTIRE NIGHT working. It's vacation, man! Oh, you're here for work? Party pooper.

Do expect to spend a couple of days with headaches, jetlag, and heck, why not a ruptured ear drum? Have a little fun, for goodness sake.

2. Don't try to take a picture without other tourists in it. We're all in this together, man.
 I'm in this picture! you can find me!

 oh look! we almost did it that time!

Do expect to see movie stars.
what, you don't recognize him from Mary Poppins? 
St. Paul's Cathedral, guys, come on.


3. Don't forget to pack your coat! Who just brings a hoodie to London in April? No, but really.

Do take a walk on a blustery, rainy day. You'll share the moment with Londoners who will say quaint things like, "It's no good, is 't?" in British accents. Can you believe people actually talk like that? Me neither. "Have a think about which entree you'd like."

 look, the sun came out!


4. Don't expect to see Westminster Abbey or St. Paul's Cathedral for free. Money money moneyyyyy. What? It's a church? I don't believe you.

Do go to an Evensong church service. The one at St. George's Chapel was probably the most beautiful thing I've ever heard.


5. Don't miss the buses. They're everywhere!

Do walk along the Thames River and enjoy the modern art. No, not the Tate Museum of Modern Art
is this for real?

you look inside these long tubes while a loud droning sound rings in your ears. 
inside is aluminum tubing with a light at the end. I waited in line for what....?

aahhh. that's more like it. modern art at its finest. 
much better than those nakey Picasso pictures.


6. Don't go all the way to Great Britain just to buy American food. Josh actually ordered "The American" at a pizza place. Really? Who does that?

I may or may not have bought these cookies and eaten every single one myself. 
if it helps at all, they weren't as good as American cookies.

Do expect to gain a couple pounds. (No, not £. You'll have no problem getting rid of those.)


7. Don't try to buy day-of tickets to Matilda. They are SOLD OUT FOREVER. You can try Wicked, though. British Glinda is charming.
  yes, that is a giant rainbow-haired bun blocking my view.

Do visit the British Library. Handel's Messiah manuscript! Beethoven, Mozart, and Mendelssohn manuscripts! The Beatles' original scrawlings on envelopes and scraps of paper! And the Magna Carta. And a Gutenberg Bible. And don't get there an hour before closing, because they'll kick you out when you've just gotten started.

8. Don't try to take pictures of yourself -- yourself -- with famous landmarks. It never works.

 St. Paul's.

  yes, that's Big Ben. no, not the tourist.

 no, that's not a crown, that's Windsor Castle. well, I guess that's appropriate.

Do expect a ride on the Eye to cost an arm and a leg. We paid like £40. Worth it? Not sure. I sound so cheap don't I. Dangit.


9. Don't expect to find toilet seat covers. Ever. Just kiss them goodbye. No, don't, that's gross.

British toilets look funny.
Do enjoy the street performers. Sure, they're probably not all British, but then, neither are you, so don't be judging.
yes, that's a bicycle on his head.

fire. coming out of a tuba.


10. Don't bother the Queen's guards. It's not very nice. They have an important job to do.

Do watch the changing of the guard at Windsor Castle.
yes, the chap in front is walking a dog.


11. Don't expect to know what your gate is before boarding time at Heathrow Airport. If your ticket says "Boarding 11:05" that means you will find out what your gate is at 11:05. Don't freak out, man. "Boarding" really means they finally let you in to sit at your gate and wait for a long time. Yeah, lost in translation.

Do check in those wooden bows with your other checked airline baggage. Sure, it's a child's toy, and sure, you left the suction-cup arrows in your suitcase so you're just carrying two pieces of wood with string on them, but you "might be able to launch something with them while on the airplane," you know, like one of those little mustard pretzels, so if you try to take them through security you're just going to have to go all the way back downstairs, check the dang pieces of wood, then go back up and through security all over again.


12. Don't think about your squishy baby at home. Just trust me on this one.

Do thank the lovely, wonderful people who watched your kids so you could take the trip in the first place! Thank you thank you thank you to Josh's parents!
I wonder which was more fun to clean up:
this little adventure, or the day Bennett pooped his pants six times?


K.E.N said...

love love love this post...and now I can't wait to visit London more than ever (was that proper English? maybe they could tell me over there)

Lori said...

LLOOOOOOVE this post. I'm glad you got to go on a fancy vacation and have some solo time! And that last pic of your kids is perfection. Thank goodness for grandparents.

Heidi said...

Looks like you had a wonderful time! So glad you could go!

Camilla Cole said...

Oh that squishy baby! (I know, I know, this is actually a post about a lot of exciting things and not really about your baby for once, but I can't help myself. He's just so SWEET! Please let ME watch him next time. PLEEEAASE!)

Okay, whew, I got that all out of my system. This post really rocked. I'm still a little disgruntled about the fact that you got to go to my #1 destination of choice and you would have picked somewhere else, but maybe I'm a little mollified by this post in which you look like you're having a great time. See? SEE? London was a really cool place to go after all, right?!?! You look super skinny in all these pics, btw. Thought you should know.

So? When are you going again and can I come with? PLEEASE?!?!

michele said...

He pooped his pants 6 times?!?! Oh man!

I'm glad you got to go to London. John is trying to get funding to do a PhD at the University of London. I hope he can do it, and then you and Camilla can come visit us while we're there.

Ryan said...

Lucky duckies. Cool pics and congratulations on everything. Did you eat beans on toast? If not, then why'd you even go?

For work this year, I'm going to a conference in Austin. London, Austin. London, Austin. Hmmm.

Erica Cochran said...

FIRE from a TUBA? How have I not seen that in a drum corp/marching band show?! So cool!

What an awesome trip, and you look amazing!

Ryan said...

It looks like sooo much fun!!! Oh man I would've loved to have gone to Wicked (ok maybe that goes along with American cookies...or maybe not?) The picture with the Queen guard was great- very stoic :)

Ryan said...

Sorry the last comment was written by Natalie accidentally logged on as Ryan.

Dahlia said...

That is AWESOME. Thanks for sharing your trip with us!

Linda said...

Thanks for letting me enjoy your trip. That little excursion (looking at your photos) brought back a couple of memories for me too. I loved seeing the absolutely motionless Queen's Guard at the gate to Buckingham Palace when I was there. Wish we could ALL go to London together. I love the format of your post. Always very entertaining!

Oh just one question. Who had a ruptured eardrum? Bummer. I hope the pain didn't last long!

Just for the record: I love squishy babies too!