Sunday, July 03, 2005

The Alexander's visit us in London

This family had been talking about coming over on this huge European trip as long as I remember. The Alexanders are Carly's Aunty Therese and Uncle Bill's family, comprising three beautiful girls who i've now known since the first christmas I spent with Carly and her family.

So the five of them planned a huge European tour, taking in England, Northern Ireland, and some fo the major European capitals. The itinerary was crazy, but they were determined to see everything they could see.

They arrived in London one summer afternoon, with the weather and falling rain looking more like a winter's day! We met them at a horror of a hotel in Earls Court they'd booked for just the first night, and quickly took them to our place for dinner and a look around our pocket of West Kensington.

The next day, I headed off to work, but Carly went out with them to see the sights. That 2nd evening they checked into the hotel that we'd booked for them in Fulham, and this place did more than impress - it restored their faith in the London hospitality industry after the nightmares of the previous 24hrs. So Bill & Therese checked into the hotel room, and as previously arranged we looked after the girls at our place! How was I going to survive this for three days!!!

The girls setting up the very congested lounge room for the three-day sleep-over!

Over the next few days they all headed off out around the City during the day, meeting back at our place for dinner and to catch up on what they'd seen.

Susan and Stephanie outside Temple Church in the City

One night, Therese and Bill headed off to the theatre in the West End to see Mary Poppins, while we took the three girls to see Shakespear in the Globe Theatre in Southwark! It was a brilliant night, where we stood in the rain, out in the open air theatre in the cheap seats right down the front, watching an excellent performance of A Winters Tale.

Some great shots I took of the girls beside the Thames during the intermission

Inside the Globe Theatre after the show

Some famous sights on our walk over the river on the way home

After the theatre we walked across the Millenium Bridge and to the front of St Pauls Cathedral so they could see that for the first time - from there we began a long bus and tube trip home, trying to see as many Monopoly property names as we could - this is how we went home on the bus = Fleet Street, The Strand, Trafalgar Square, Northumberland Avenue, Piccadilly, and then underneath Mayfair and Park Lane on the tube!!

Stephanie outside the front doors of St Pauls Cathedral

Stephanie on the tube at Piccadilly; and with big sister Catherine

On the last night they were there before the caught the train up to Manchester to see other family, we went out for dinner to The Famous Lily, an Indian Restuarant spotted by Bill and Therese one night near their hotel. Before we got there we started off with a few cheeky ones at our local, The Curtains Up just over the road from our place. The dinner out together was a great night, after which we took eldest daughter Susan, recently 18, to one of the pubs at Fulham so she could experience the late night English pub culture!

Underage drinking at The Curtains Up

Coming home on the bus after being out in Fulham with Susan

On the last day we all hauled all of their luggage up to Euston, to catch the Virgin Train to Manchester. There were some sad goodbyes, but we'll see them again when we're home, and if not before if the eldest - Susan - gets the travel bug and comes and joins us!!



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