Our Second Month on the Road

Our Second Month on the Road

Here’s a recap of our second month on the road from twelve-year-old Calla. See how she feels about our family RTW trip.

 

Our second month in our year-long trip around the world, started with us leaving Barcelona and going to England, Cambridge to be specific. We arrived at the airport in the morning and got on the train to Cambridge. We got to Cambridge after about an hour on the train. We started walking to Burt’s apartment. When we got there we waited for about 15 minutes for Burt’s neighbor to bring us the keys. We got the keys and started walking up the steep stairs with all of our heavy luggage. Burt’s apartment was really cool! He had lots of books all over the house, I think in every room! Once we got settled, we went to walk around Cambridge. We walked to one little square with a cool little market! We got some mini savory pies known as pasties and walked around a bit more. When we got home mom cooked the pies and we had dinner. We all slept very well and very late the next morning. The next few days were mostly exploring Cambridge, having tea at Fitzbillies, and looking in small little shops. We went to the Fitzwilliam museum which was interesting, it had paintings from France, Spain, England, and a lot of other countries, it also had a lot of old sculptures and Japanese/Chinese artworks. We took a really creepy ghost tour which gave me nightmares… like the one when we went in an ally and the guide said “if you hear breathing behind you or warm breath on your hand, don’t turn around because it could be the ghost dog and if you look into his eyes, a family member will die.” It was scary! I had my first real fish ‘n’ chips and it was delicious!! We saw 2 boys choirs which were cool and they were very good singers. We rented bikes for a day and explored more of Cambridge; we went along the river and behind Kings College and through traffic which was scary for me! There were big cars and trucks right next to me! We went to the Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology which was not so interesting for me, more for my mom.

Bike tour of Cambridge

We did get to go to London for about a day and a half. We went on the train and got to London. First we checked into our hostel and then walked all around the shopping streets which was really fun for me and Magnolia. Then we walked back to our hostel and went to bed. We had breakfast and then went to the more touristy part of London. We went to Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and we even went on the London Eye! It took a long time to get on the London Eye because the line was soooooooooo long! We started walking towards a museum that my mom wanted to see called the Tate Modern when we saw a Malaysia festival going on. We stopped to look around and it was so cool! We had some spring rolls which are so good! We learned about Malaysia and now I’m excited for that! We went to the museum which was more for my mom. But there was this weird thing going on there and there was a group of people who were walking really slowly and they stopped and talked to random people about random things going on in their life which was really creepy to me. But it was a performance/flash mob, but it was an interesting one though!  After the museum we went to the train station and went back to Cambridge. I think the next day we left to go to the train station to go to Edinburgh! The train ride took about 5 hours. But I was just really excited to go so I didn’t mind how long it took.

In front of Buckingham Palace

When we got to Edinburgh, we took a cab to our apartment. The apartment was really cool!! We were kind of tired so that evening all we did was do some homework and watch some tv which had my all time favorite shows: Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother. The next day we walked around and found some cool Halloween stores and joke shops that we took a peek in. We walked a bit longer and found Greyfriars Cemetery where we saw Greyfriars Bobby’s grave. Greyfriars Bobby was a dog who, after his owner died, sat by his grave every day. After we walked through there, we went to the Elephant House Café which was where J.K. Rowling wrote some Harry Potter books or at least some ideas for it. The café had really good hot cocoa and cookies! The bathroom walls were all covered with Harry Potter quotes and messages to J.K. Rowling which I thought was very cool! We looked in some shops and some vintage shops because my mom was looking for some charms for her friend.

Harry Potter graffiti in Edinburgh

 

We went to the Camera Obscura museum which I thought was awesome! It had lots of optical illusions and this cool computer thing that makes you look like a baby, chimp, or a manga character! It’s really cool! We took the bus for 45 minutes and arrived at my mom’s friend Rahki’s house for lunch, where she cooked us a delicious vegetarian Indian lunch. After lunch, we went on a walk around the neighborhood with Rahki and her husband. Afterwards, they drove us back to our apartment.

The fabulouth Firth of Forth

The next day, we went on a ghost tour that was mostly funny not so much scary. It involved a ghost tour guide who looked like a vampire, a money collector, Agnes who threw her “waste” at us (don’t worry it was just water), a zombie monk, and a pregnant skeleton dancing to Gangnam Style! It was so funny, I loved it! The next day we went to the Edinburgh Dungeons. It is this underground place that is like a big haunted house. It was really scary but really fun! We went on a really dark boat ride and at the end we went on the Drop of Doom which was so scary!!! Then we went to get hot cocoa at a good café called Porto and Fi.

Cadies and Witchery Tour in Edinburgh

The next day my dad came back from Eindhoven after 6 weeks! We had lunch at an okay Mexican restaurant called Illegal Jack’s. We showed my dad around Edinburgh and went to a museum and then we went back to our apartment so my dad could get settled. The next day my parents friend Brian came to give us a driving tour of Edinburgh. Brian was very nice and told us a lot about the city. We had lunch at a place called Howie’s. This place had very good food. My first course was traditional Scottish haggis served with mashed potatoes and turnips. I thought it was pretty good until my parents told me what it was, which is basically sheep liver, heart, and lungs, baked inside of the sheep’s stomach! Crazy!  My second course was risotto but I didn’t care for it so I traded with my mom for her venison with a nice sauce on top. We paid and split up.

Calla's first taste of haggis.

The next day Brian picked us up and said we were going to the beach and we needed to pick up his friend Roland on the way. We picked up Roland and his dog and went on our way to Tyninghame beach. It was a short but muddy walk to the beach and it wasn’t so much beach as it was rock, but it was very pretty! We walked up the beach a bit and then climbed a big grassy hill. We walked along the muddy hill and I should’ve mentioned this before but I was wearing Uggs not realizing that it would be rocky and muddy so I guess I should’ve thought about that because halfway on the hill I slipped and fell! I got my North Face and jacket and jeans all muddy! But luckily it wasn’t that visible. We finished up our beach walk and went back to the car. We had lunch and said goodbye and went to take a tour of the underground caves. It was pretty cool! I think I might’ve felt the presence of a ghost… BOO!

Tyninghame beach, Scotland

The next day we went to the Museum of Childhood which was basically a museum with lots of toys and games. It was pretty rainy so we went to the Scottish History Museum. We went to get some wine because that night we were going over to Brian’s house for dinner. We got there at about 6:30 and the kids weren’t home yet, Brian said it was because they do all of the things that we Americans do on the weekends, like sports games and piano practice and things like that, after school, so he said that they usually come home 6:00 – 8:00. They got home at about 7:00. The kid’s names were Noah 12, Naomi 10, Archie 11 and Jasper 15. They had a baby named Cosmo who we met briefly when we got there. But he was already in bed. We talked for a while before dinner; then us kids went downstairs to play ping-pong and pool. Then it was time for dinner. After dinner we played ping-pong again and then they went to bed and so after the parents finished talking we went back to our apartment. The next day was Friday so we checked out of our apartment and brought our luggage to Brian’s house. Magnolia, my dad, and I went to an art museum and my dad got a little housewarming gift for when we would go to Brian and his family’s country beach house in Elie. While we were doing that my mom was meeting with some people from Eurail and by the end of the meeting, we had 2 month Eurail passes! Soon we met my mom at the Royal Yacht Britannia which was the Queen’s yacht that they used for family outings and stuff like that. After that we went to Brian’s house and had dinner and got set up for the night. When we woke up, we had breakfast and the kids’ babysitter for the night had made some tea. We got dressed and then I was playing with Cosmo for a bit and then Magnolia and Archie and I took their dog Winston for a walk in the park. When we got back, we watched television for a bit and then Brian and Amy got back from the wedding they went to. After about half an hour we were packed up and ready to go to Elie!

Aboard the Royal Yacht Brittania

The drive to Elie took about 45 minutes, but after about 10 minutes we went to the grocery store and got some Monster Munch which Brian said we had to try. I have to admit, they were delicious! We got to Elie, got settled, and me Magnolia and Naomi and my dad went on a walk on the beach. Later we had dinner and then played rummy, a card game. And after, us kids went to play monopoly. After about the first 10 minutes the game ended with Noah underneath the beanbag and Archie jumping on top of him and someone else  flipping the board. The next day we went on a walk on the rocks. It was really fun! And it was really funny because Naomi saw a big shell that she wanted in the water so Brian told Noah to go in and get it, but it was chilly outside and the water was freezing but Noah said yes and took off his jeans shoes and socks and went waist deep into the freezing cold water. He was screaming like a little girl! He picked up the shell and threw it, thinking Brian would catch it but he didn’t so Noah had to go in again and get the other shell. He got out and gave it to Naomi and 2 minutes later she threw back in the water screaming “THERE’S A CRAB!!!” It was all really funny to watch. We finished our walk at the beach and met Cosmo and Amy there. Then we went back home.

Magno being sassy on the beach in Elie, Scotland

The next day we went on the chain walk. The chain walk is a long hike that you can only hike when it is low tide because you are hiking by the water on big huge rocks! So basically we started walking on the beach and then we got to the rocky part. to climb up the rocky part there is a chain which you cant let go of or else you would fall off the cliff. One time I almost did! Some parts were easy to climb and some parts like when I was climbing straight down was scary! During our hike we found a big quartz rock, we all tried to get a piece of it. There was one part where we were right next to the water and if you moved over you would fall into the water! After we climbed up that we were on a trail down, so it wasn’t hard then. When we got back, Magnolia, Naomi and I played with Cosmo on the trampoline and then we helped him with his bath. The next day we rode our bikes to a nice little breakfast place and then went back home and a few hours later, Amy and Jasper came. It got sunny so we went to the smokehouse and got smoked cheese, smoked salmon, smoked langoustines which are like mini lobsters. We also got these marshmallow cookies and ate them on the rooftop. Then we went to a little bar and the parents got beers and the kids got little mussels in a jar. When we finished we went to play bulldogs which is basically like tag but with 3 bases.

On the chain walk in Elie, Scotland

The next day we went with my parents, Brian, and the kids into St. Andrews We walked around a bit and then went to dinner which was burgers and chips (fries) there was lots of board games and Connect 4, so we played those while we were waiting for our food. After dinner we walked to the movie theater and we went to go see The Perks of Being a Wallflower which I think everyone liked. Then everyone was very tired so we drove home and went to bed. The next day we kids went on a really long walk with Winston. Then when we got back everyone said that they wanted to go to Dundee pool so Brian said if we all made a piece of artwork we could go. So we did. After we made our artworks, we went to Dundee Swimming Pool, which is a indoor water park. It was really fun!! There were 3 water slides and wave pool and a lazy river. The blue and green slides were fun but the yellow one was my favorite – it was like a 3 meter drop! It was so fun! When we got back in the car we heard Naomi’s “Payphone” rap which was actually really good! We got home, then had some dinner and watched a movie. Then it got to be late so we went to bed.

Time for art in Elie

The next day we Totaros packed up because we were leaving for Paris. But before we left, Brian judged our artwork and we each got a pack of Rolos. We said our sad goodbyes and Brian drove us to the airport. We said goodbye and checked in for our flight. It was really sad to leave Scotland because I had sooo much fun there! And before we left, Brian gave us some Monster Munch for the plane ride and I got some Irn Bru which is a Scottish soda which is delicious! Then we flew to Paris.

Monster Munch

We got to the airport in the evening about 5pm and we got a taxi to our apartment. We brought all of our luggage up the 4 flights of stairs and settled in. the apartment was very small! Much different than Brian’s house in Elie! There were 2 rooms: one was for me and magnolia and the other was the kitchen and my parent’s room. After we unpacked and relaxed for a bit, we got on the metro and went to the Eiffel tower. We sat down on a ledge and ate baguettes while watching the Eiffel tower. All of the sudden, the Eiffel tower started flashing with strobe lights! It was so cool!!

Our first night in Paris

The next day we went to the Centre Pompidou which was like a big modern art museum and since I don’t like museums very much I actually liked this one, so that’s good! We had lunch on a bench, again having baguettes. We walked across the river and went to an English bookstore called Shakespeare and Company. I thought it was really cool! Most of the books were in English so we stayed there for a few hours, just reading. It was very comfortable and for a while there was someone playing the piano softly and nicely. After we finished looking there, we walked around the corner to a crepes place. It looked pretty good so we went in. I had a crepe with ham, cheese, and egg, it was really good! And for dessert we all split one crepe with butter and caramel and whipped cream. I have to say that the restaurant was delicious!

Outside the Centre Pompidou

The next day we took the metro and walked a little to the flea market. In the beginning it was all furniture, modern, old, and new. After a bit we got to the clothes and shoes and accessories part, but it wasn’t really my style. So we walked back to the furniture part. And it kind of reminded me of the movie ‘Midnight In Paris’. After a bit more walking around, we started walking towards somewhere to eat. We walked to the neighborhood called Montmartre and got some coffee and hot cocoa and saw the famous cathedral called Sacre Coeur. We walked up the hill a little more and found a little brass band which was really good!

Clignancourt market

After a while we walked to a neighborhood called Belleville and visited my parents friend James and his family. We walked around the neighborhood and got some bread and had a really good view of the Eiffel tower. He recommended some restaurants for dinner. When we were walking home, someone snapped a rubber band on my backside!

The next day we went to a museum called L’Orangerie which used to be a greenhouse and you can tell that because of the glass roof. There was an exhibit by Soutine which I did not like very much but there was still a few that were a bit interesting. After we finished looking there, we ate lunch outside in a park. We sat in comfortable chairs and again, ate baguettes (this was what we had for lunch almost every day). We walked over and saw the Louvre but we didn’t go in because me and Magnolia didn’t want to 😉  We walked to one of the bridges and it was COVERED with love locks! Then we went to see Notre Dame. We got in a big line and went inside. It was GIGANTIC!! And the stained glass was really pretty. Then we walked to a neighborhood and went to an Israeli restaurant called Pitzman. We had a few latkes and then went on our way. We walked down a shopping street and peeked in a few stores.

Love locks on a bridge in Paris

The next day Magnolia, my dad and I rented Velib bikes and for a while we rode along the Saint Martin canal, and then we started riding towards the Arc de Triomphe. It was a looong ride with lots of traffic and being really close to the buses because it was a bus/bike lane. But soon it became crowded with people so we walked our bikes to the nearest Velib station which was a long way away, but right next to where my mom was getting us some French macarons which are French cookies, which have all different colors and flavors. They are delicious! The flavors were rose, bubblegum, violet, chocolate, salted caramel, and pistachio.Velib bikes in Paris

 

Since we were close, we walked to the Eiffel tower. It was really pretty! We got there and there was a huge line to go to the top so we got in the shorter line to just climb up the steps to the second floor. We got our tickets and started climbing up. The stairs were really steep! I was really tired by the time we got up. We were only on the second floor but we were so high up! I’m glad we didn’t go to the top; I would’ve fainted and fallen off! It was really scary climbing up and down because we were climbing in all the steel and wires that make up the Eiffel tower! When we got down, I looked up to the 2nd floor and it didn’t look very high.  But I was glad to be down, though the view was great! Afterwards, we looked at these exhibits about the United Buddy Bears. Buddy Bears are sculptures of bears that every country decorates to represent their country. It was really cool especially the one covered in calla lilies. After, we took the metro back to our apartment. I was exhausted! So we had dinner and went straight to bed.  The next day we went to the Musee d’Orsay and spent a lot of the day there, and then we had lunch in Jardin Katherine Labouret. After lunch, we went to a big shopping street where we went into the Conran Shop and Le Bon Marche. After a while we went back to our apartment by subway.

At the Eiffel Tower

The next day was Halloween so we decided to go to Pere Lachaise Cemetery, which had a lot of famous people buried there and a lot of war memorials. We walked around the cemetery for a bit and then went to a French restaurant for lunch called, Le Bouchoir. They had really good food! I had goat cheese wrapped in crispy bread. Then we took the subway to the train station to get overnight train tickets to Berlin. We then went back to our apartment but not before we got some candy from the grocery store J. When we got to our apartment I started working on my costume (a mouse) by drawing a nose and whiskers on my face and putting on red lipstick. Finally to finish it off, I made some mouse ears out of paper. Then we ate candy! We actually got some trick-or-treaters, but me and Magno didn’t want to give up our candy so we gave them key-chains leftover from the Malaysia fair in London. But at least they seemed happy with them!  October was really fun for me!

Halloween costumes on the fly

RTW Week 1 – Is 5 countries in 6 days a bad idea?

RTW Week 1 – Is 5 countries in 6 days a bad idea?

I’ll answer that one. Yes. Yes, it’s a terrible idea. Especially if you’re traveling without a spouse and with two tween girls, one of which has a cold.

It started well enough. We succeeded, after much deliberation, in packing everything we thought we might need for a year into one small suitcase and one backpack each. Let me remind you that three of us are female, and like to wear cute clothes and shoes. This was not easy. But we did it. Here’s the proof:

Packed for our family round-the-world trip - one small suitcase and one</a srcset=

You might notice that two of the three suitcases are already extended to their maximum girth. This does not bode well.

My mom drove us to the airport (thanks, Mom!) and after a few tears at the drop-off, everything was better with one last trip to Five Guys and some free wi-fi (both of which helped to make Dulles our favorite airport of the trip so far). A few hours later, we bid farewell to country #1.

We arrived in Reykjavik, Iceland at the crack of dawn, and found the bus to our hostel waiting for us. Iceland really is the most tourist-friendly place I’ve ever seen. And friendliest, period. We went to our hostel, but weren’t able to check in until 2 pm. They were nice enough to let us wait in the lobby, which was furnished with comfy and stylish vintage furniture, had free wifi, and felt much more like the Ace Hotel in New York than any hostel I’ve ever stayed in.  Then again, it cost as much as the Ace Hotel, but that’s the price of being in Iceland. It’s expensive!

Sleepy girl at Kex Hostel, Reykjavik, Iceland

The girls were exhausted, and Magnolia seemed to be coming down with a cold, so they quickly fell asleep in the comfy chairs. I felt a little guilty for not going out to see the sights, since we only had a day and a half to spend in Iceland, but we needed to rest for our afternoon tour. We had booked a tour through Viator for the Golden Circle Tour, where we’d see Þingvellir, a huge rift in the earth where the North American and Eurasian plates meet, Gullfoss, an immense double waterfall, and Geysir, the eponymous waterspout. The tour was fantastic, our tour guide an encyclopedia of knowledge, but the weather was awful. Cold, grey, rainy, miserable. They may look happy here, but that is only because we had just had a hot bowl of lamb stew at the cafeteria next to the Gullfoss stop.

Freezing cold at Gulfoss

The next day was our reward for the hours of being cold and wet on an unheated bus: the Blue Lagoon Spa, where we could be warm and wet and covered with silica mud to make our skin glow with youthful joy. I had made arrangements with Visit Iceland to write about the spa, so they picked up the tab for our transportation from the hostel to the Spa, the admission fee, and the bus to the airport from there. Nice! See how happy Magno is?

Happy girl at Blue Lagoon Spa, Iceland

We had so much fun, we missed our bus! And though it seemed like we would have plenty of time to make our flight if we took the next one, everyone we talked to seemed to think that we’d better take a cab. Instead of the free bus? Yes, they assured us. You must take a cab now. So we did. And 15 minutes and 60 euros later, we were there. 3 hours early for our flight. No one in line for security. The passport control for our flight didn’t even open until an hour before our flight. So for the entire flight to London I was kicking myself for busting our budget on our second day. At least the cab driver was lovely. When I asked him why things were so expensive in Iceland, he pointed to the hood ornament on his car and replied, “Like the cabs? So that we can drive Range Rovers!”

So on to country #3, briefly. We flew to London (Heathrow), arrived on time, retrieved our bags, hopped on a bus, and arrived at our Holiday Inn Express Stansted at 11:30, so we could get up at 6 to get a shuttle to the airport for our 9 am flight to Portugal (country #4). Done.

In Porto, I was attending the Travel Bloggers Unite conference for the weekend, so we stayed in the conference hotel: the Sheraton Porto (five stars). I assured the girls that this would probably be the nicest hotel we stay in for the entire trip. The girls enjoyed the tv, the wifi, and the enormous bathroom. From the tub, you could open the bathroom blinds to watch tv, and adjust the volume on the bathroom speaker to your liking. They did not seem to mind hanging out there while I went to the conference.

On Saturday night we did a bit of walking around, and took a ride on the teleferico – an air gondola ride up one of the many hills in Porto. Seriously, this city rivals San Francisco in its steep streets. And in its lingering sunsets.

Teleferico in Porto

 

I tried the truly awful local favorite sandwich, the francesinha, pictured below. It’s made with steak and several kinds of sausage, covered with melted cheese, and served with a tomato and beer sauce, and always served with fries. The three of us could not finish it.

Francesinha in Porto

We walked across this bridge, on the top level, mind you.

Luis I Bridge, Porto

Here, I’ll prove it.

Walking across the Luis I Bridge in Porto

OK, that doesn’t really capture the height of this bridge or the extent of the vertigo we experienced, but it was seriously scary. Especially when the tram went by.

The next day, after the conference, we met up with a CouchSurfer who had offered to show us around a bit. She and her daughter walked with us to the Casa da Musica, designed by Rem Koolhaas, to watch the skateboarders on the inclines, and around the monument celebrating the Portuguese victory over Napoleon.

Couchsurfing friends

We enjoyed seeing the surfers on the metro, but we never managed to get to the seaside of Porto.

Surfers in Porto

 

Not at all satisfied that we had seen all there was to see in Porto, we nonetheless had to get up at 5 the next morning to get our 6:30 am Ryanair flight to Madrid. This one was totally my fault. I had meant to book the late morning flight, but the website timed out while I was reserving it and when I went to buy it, it automatically booked me on the earliest one. Which I didn’t notice until after I had already checked in for the flight, which meant it was too late to change it. Nice work, mom. Here no one told us to get there early. They assured us that if we left by 5:15 we’d be there in plenty of time. And yet… the airport was packed with people trying to get the earliest flights out. The security line took forever. Hundreds of people in line. And who had not had her coffee? Yep. Cranky old mom.

We made it to country #5 early enough that caffeine withdrawal had not kicked in by the time we sat for a cup of coffee in the airport. We took a cab to the home of our Couchsurf hosts, which was quite a bit longer and more expensive than we expected, but we arrived to find our very cheerful and chatty hostess, Carmen, and a few hours later, her three adorable kids home from their first day of school. Carmen does not speak much English, and I do not speak much Spanish, but we managed to get through the day until her husband Antonio came home and could be our translator. In the meantime, she taught me how to make a Spanish tortilla!

When Antonio came home, we went to the town of Alcalá de Henares, birthplace of Cervantes and home to a lovely old university (and an ice cream shop, conveniently enough! – note the chocolate on little Andres’ shirt).

More Couchsurfing friends in Alcalá de Henares

Had our first taste of tapas and began to understand the Spanish schedule. Lunch is normally at 2 or 3 in the afternoon, and is the largest meal of the day. Siesta is a serious thing, especially in the hotter parts of Spain, and many shops close from 2 til 4:30 or 5. From 5 to 8, people walk around, meet their friends, maybe have a drink and a snack, and then head home and start making dinner, which happens around 10 or 11. All but the smallest kids are up until 11 or 12, and up for school at 9. Unless your names are Calla and Magnolia, in which case you sleep until 11.

So why do I say that 5 countries in 6 days is too much? We did have fun, and we saw and did a lot, but do you know what happened on Tuesday? Magnolia could not get out of bed. We had run her ragged, and her cold had become a hacking cough. So on day 7 of our trip we decided to just take the day off and make the whole day a siesta.

 

London with Kids – around the blogs

London with Kids – around the blogs

What can we say about exploring London with kids that some other fantastic bloggers haven’t already said? Well, not much, until we get there in a few months. In the meantime, here’s what we’re reading to get ready for our trip!

London with Kids photo by Steve Parker

Photo by Steve Parker used under a Creative Commons license.

Tamara from Mr. and Mrs. Smith offers a wonderful overview of visiting London with Kids over on Delicious Baby. Travels with a Nine-Year-Old offers a great list of activities in London for kids arranged by themes. My favorite is #2: See Something Gross. We here at All Over the Map have a perverse love of medical museums and gruesome things, so the tip about the London Dungeons is very welcome!

The Wandering Educators have a great post about teaching literary travel to kids. Our girls have had a wonderful introduction to the works of William Shakespeare at home in Alexandria, so we’re all looking forward to a visit to his Globe Theatre, reviewed by Jessica from Suitcases and Sippy Cups, who also shares her tips about overcoming jet lag with cultural stimulation at the British Museum. And we would not be forgiven if we did not explore all the Harry Potter-related sites in England, nicely profiled by Kirstie Pelling of the Family Adventure Project.

The Barts took a crazy day trip to London with their kids, and have some excellent tips for saving your pennies there. (Hint: museums are mostly free, but not so toilets!) Rhonda Albom also shares some budget tips for UK travel – like purchasing the Overseas Visitor English Heritage Pass before you get there.

Delicious Baby spent the day at the Princess Diana Memorial Playground in London and gave it a big delicious thumbs-up. Haute Compass tried out the Brick Lane Market and found something between a “jewel and a junk dump,” which sounds like a perfect morning’s activity to me!

If you’ve got more posts we should check out before we get there, please send them along or post them in the comments.