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A Quick Overnight in London

A perfect day in London. That was the plan, and we managed just about everything, even good weather, for a trip to see Hamilton and celebrate 10 years of marriage.

For the first time in a while, I successfully convinced S to plan everything well ahead of time. Well, except our flights - we ended up paying a bit more than expected since I waited until 6 weeks in advance to book... The theatre tickets were booked as soon as I found out (via Facebook) that they were released for the London show. When Harry & Meghan got engaged, I rushed to book the Taj St James Hotel near Buckingham Palace, and a convenient 7 minute walk to the theatre, just in case there was a rush on hotel bookings. Finally, for all I'd heard (and enjoyed for dinner) about Dishoom's breakfast, I booked a breakfast table for Saturday morning.

Day 1: 
So our plans for Friday were set - after setting up our tag-team of babysitters and village of neighbors to look after the boys, dropping them off at daycare and leaving the car for pickup by sitter #1, we headed out to catch our flight to Heathrow! We napped on the plane, enjoyed not having to entertain kids (first trip since the older one was born. Woah), and landed to face an insane, hour-long security queue at Heathrow. No surprise, I guess. Another lesson: during rush hour, save some cash and take the tube rather than Heathrow Express. I wish I'd checked the times before buying the ticket! About two hours later we arrived at the hotel to an upgraded room at the Taj. The hotel was really lovely, rooms perfect, and service excellent. We headed out to see the show with an hour to find our seats and wander around the theatre with glasses of wine. I loved how they let ticketholders go exploring in different seating areas - it was neat to check out the stage from all possible views before settling down into our seats for the truly amazing show.

Dinner was underwhelming at Millbank Spice but hey, it was food, and it was open past 10:30, so we were happy to eat something!

Day 2: 
I wish we'd booked breakfast at the Taj instead of Dishoom - it was a trek to get to Covent Garden from there in time for our reservation and the hotel restaurant smelled great. Nevertheless, we hired bikes for the day - there was a station around the corner and getting the app to find empty stations near Dishoom was ultra-easy. And we headed off through the crowded morning streets of London.

The restaurant didn't fill up until after 10, so we had our fill of chai, naan wraps, and people-watching before we headed back to the hotel, once again on the bike. Thanks to the Westminster Mile, much of our planned route was closed off to bikes or entirely, so we took a very circuitous route to the hotel. When we finally got back, we had an hour pack up, clean up, check out... and then head to the lobby for a beer break (as one should do when on holiday without kids). We decided to hop on a city bus to buy tourist junk and wander through Piccadilly Circus. What should have taken 15 minutes took nearly 45... we quickly realized that on any given weekend, London seems to have events and crowds in nearly every corner of the city. Especially during summer break. Anyway, it was a comfortable ride and conveniently straight to Uniqlo. A bit of shopping later, we wandered to some tourist shops, walked our way through Chinatown, and had a bit of lunch at Cay Tre

We had to catch the Stansted Express shortly after, so we caught the tube to Liverpool Station, found a pub for a quick beer and bite, and caught a train to Stansted (and a nap) before our flight home. I have to say, Stansted is quite a nice airport with loads of eating options. Our flight was very delayed, so we had time to browse... I was glad to see it wasn't as sparse as Hahn airport for window shopping possibilities.

After landing safely in Frankfurt, and catching a train & taxi home, we hit the hay ahead of a busy Sunday back with the kids. Boy was it a nice break, though!


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