One week in, we headed for Trafalgar square and the National Gallery. The square was crowded, as was the museum, but we stuck with our plan in order to see some really great paintings. This time we picked our favorite periods and artists and then saw whatever happened to be on the way to them. The husband was becoming more and more comfortable with our new approach to museum viewing, particularly as it became more and more clear that Baby J has only a finite tolerance for crowds and art. We went into St. Martin's of the Fields, just in time (they said) for a lunch concert, so we fed J and thought we might get to see at least the first piece while he chilled out, fed and happy. However, the concert started late and then there was an issue about our stroller and its position in the aisles or not and J was getting more and more restless, so we had to skip that idea, sadly.
Instead, we walked and walked and walked and walked, first past Big Ben and the London Eye and Westminster and then on to Buckingham Palace. We had lunch in the park on the way while J napped, featuring another assortment of odd sandwiches we tried on our travels. I have decided that the only way to manage the strange selection at a British convenience food area is to avoid all sandwiches involving egg or salmon and pick the most flavorful sounding option you can find (like chicken and chutney or their version of fiesta ham and cheese). That way you won't end up with some gloppy, cardboard tasting option or something totally unsatisfactory, like a chicken salad sandwich that turns out to have chicken, lettuce, and tomato on dry bread. Yummy!
After lunch, J woke up and we went to St. James' playground, which he loved. It's just across the street from Buckingham Palace and has bathrooms only for children. Love that idea! Then we walked from the Palace up to what we had thought previously was the Marble Arch but was instead just two totally other marble arches, not particularly significant in any way whatsoever. Indeed, I think there is no such thing as THE Marble Arch, just a bunch of fake out arches spread all over the city to trick tourists. Then we headed to Oxford St. for some window shopping. I resisted buying a fabulous pair of red patent leather boots and innumerable mary jane pumps that I coveted, and we walked into the much touted Primark (like H&M only five times as large), only to walk right out again after the insane press of people overwhelmed us all. For a store to overwhelm a shopping devotee such as myself, it has to be PACKED, and this one was. It was mayhem, and not an enjoyable, ooh, look at all the funny people sort of mayhem either, but a peoplecrushinginonallsidesohmigoshIhavetoescapeRIGHTNOW kind of frenzy that I did not find at all entertaining. So much for that!
And finally, we caught a bus home, having been tipped off by my mother that there were two that ran right from Oxford St. to our street, a blessing after all that walking.