Our last Saturday in London, we decided to divide and conquer. The husband took the train to Nottingham in the wee hours of the morning to hook up with two companions from his mission in Canada. They had a great time, watching football, hiking, and hanging out, but he will tell you all about it, in much more vivid detail, when he gets around to blogging.
In the meantime, I went to breakfast with an old college friend and his wife and baby daughter. My mom and Baby J came with me and we met up outside my parents' flat and walked across Kensington Park to a great French place. I had yummy scrambled eggs and prosciuto, J ate his weight in baguettes, and Mom had porridge with stewed fruits. We all enjoyed the sinful praline spread. It was fabulous fun to catch back up with T and meet his wife A and their adorable baby CB. We all had a great time chatting and joking and sharing baby stories. This whole meeting was the successful result of Facebook, since that's where I reconnected with T, who is currently working in London. Score one for social networking!
After breakfast, we headed home for lunch and naps, and then my parents and I headed back to Bethnal Green for some souvenir shopping. I ended up buying an everyday Indian outfit, "for casual dress" as they informed me, a black tunic with a little embroidery over black pants with a coordinating olive green and black screen-printed shawl. Later, I stopped by Queensway near my parents' house and picked up some pashminas in green and blue and some gelato for my parents to reward them for shlepping Baby J all over the city that day.
Our last full day in London began with church at the Spanish/Portuguese branch again. Unfortunately, most of the meeting was in Portuguese which, surprisingly, is not really all that close to Spanish when it comes to translation. Indeed, I sort of felt a little silly, since I could understand about every third word perfectly but couldn't make any sense out of them as a whole. Oh well!
After church, we headed to the Science Museum just across the street (the LDS building is remarkably well positioned for tourists, sitting right next to the Science Museum, the Natural History museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Prince Albert Hall, and Kensington and Hyde Parks). The Science Museum was fabulous, if extremely crowded (the term break business again). It is full of interactive stations teaching kids all about energy and viscosity and gravity and magnetism and you name it, along with more traditional displays about ships (again!), industry, agriculture, and plastics. Much of all this was over J's head (often literally, in the case of the water bottle rockets), but he still had fun, and the husband was practically giddy with excitement himself. If we had had more time in the city, we definitely would have returned here, and we highly recommend it, particularly for the 4-10 crowd.
That night we packed and decided if we could handle carting everything home that we'd gotten (verdict: just!). We had dinner with the study abroad program (including a FAB pasta salad for which I'm going to steal the recipe) and went to bed relatively early to be ready for our flight.
We were very sad to leave London. Baby J loved his early morning snuggle sessions with his grandparents (and I love sleeping in a little), his yummy yogurt breakfasts (he even tried rhubarb flavor, adventuresome child), and the constant attention. Life at home isn't nearly as stimulating for him! We loved having time to explore, a great home base, and time to hang out with my parents in the evenings. The weather was great, with just the one snow incident and no rain at all while we were out being tourists. In many ways, London was an experiment, to see just how much we could do with a one year old in tow, and we feel like it was a success. The real world just isn't nearly as exciting now!