Tuesday, February 20, 2007
The Schmitts are back in the USA! We had a great time in England!! We have had some photos posted on our flickr site for a couple of days already, so go check them out.
Here is a not-so-brief synopsis of our trip:
We flew out of Minneapolis on Monday (2/12) to Chicago where we caught a flight that just managed to get out of O'Hare before the big snowstorm hit. The flight to London was long and uneventful. Benjamin did really well during the flight, sleeping a bunch and watching some of his movies. When we landed in London, I realized that I had left Benjamin's passport on the plane and went through a huge ordeal to get it back so that we could be processed through passport control. Needless to say, we were happy to finally meet up with Roland who helped us carry our luggage by tube to the flat that he shares with Cicely and a roommate. We arrived at the flat around 3pm on Tuesday. Benjamin and I desperately needed naps and so we slept for a couple of hours. Next the four of us went down to the pub where we had a drink and FINALLY got to meet Cicely! After enjoying the pub, we went back to the flat for some Indian takeaway, which both Mike and I had been craving for YEARS! Yum.
On Wednesday, both Roland and Cicely had to work, so we were on our own. We decided to go to Harrods to shop around and visit a special guitar exhibit at the store. We had planned on going to the London Aquarium after that, but since we were having so much fun wandering around the toy and kitchen sections of Harrods, we never did. Then we met Roland and Cicely at Rainforest Cafe where we had a very nice Valentine's Day Dinner.
Thursday we traveled by train to Winchester, where we once lived. I had made arrangements for us to stay at a studio B&B, which was above the garage of a very lovely home where the owners lived. This allowed Benjamin to run about and be as loud and he wanted to be without disturbing anyone. The owners were even nice enough to give us a portable crib and toys for Benjamin! We met an old friend at Ask, one of our favorite restaurants, for dinner and then walked down to our favorite pub. Benjamin loved the Black Boy Pub, which is decorated in a very eclectic style, including a stuffed "doggie" on the floor. Benjamin and I left Mike to enjoy his friends while we went back to the B&B to get some sleep. The next day we had our full English breakfast and then walked into the city center to see the sights. Benjamin had fun playing at the park near the Mayor's house and we were able to walk around the Cathedral, where I even saw one of my old co-workers (who remembered me!!). We had lunch at a pub and walked up to our old house, which was EXACTLY the same as we left it. That evening, after taking the train back to London, Cicely made us some tasty lasagna, which allowed us to stay home and get some much-needed relaxation.
On Saturday Cicely and Roland accompanied us to Cambridge where we met Cicely's Mom for lunch and did some sightseeing of the colleges and river area. After spending a nice day being guided around the city, we took the train back to London and had dinner at Giraffe, a very cool restaurant that we really loved.
After taking some pictures at key London landmarks, we visited Greenwich on Sunday, where the Cutty Sark is usually docked, but the ship is currently under repair. Roland, Mike and Benjamin trekked up to the Royal Observatory to see the Prime Meridian while Cicely and I did some shopping. We also walked through the Maritime museum, had Sunday lunch at a pub and ate some yummy crepes from a street vendor. We headed back to the flat after a full day of sightseeing to pack up our bags and relax before our early morning departure. Cicely very graciously helped us with our luggage and kept us from getting stressed out about traveling on our trip back to the airport, even though it was her day off. The flight from the UK was about 2 hours longer than the flight to the UK, so it took some real strength to make it the whole flight. By the time we landed in Chicago and departed to Minneapolis, we were all on edge. Jen picked us up at the airport Monday evening and took us back to the house for some yummy Chinese food and then we headed back to Rochester. We were all sound asleep by 8:00pm and up again this morning at 6:00am feeling unexpectedly refreshed!! I’m sure it will be an early evening again for all of us!
All in all, we had an excellent vacation and really loved spending time with Roland and Cicely. We were able to experience things we loved about the country all over again and even discovered some new things. We also accomplished something we have always dreamed of doing: traveling overseas with our children. It wasn’t always easy, but in the end, it was completely worth it. We can’t wait for Benjamin to be able to look back at the pictures and know that he was able to fly to another country before he even turned two!!