Thursday, May 30, 2013

The One Where We Went to England

So we did it.

We managed to go on our first international vacation with a baby in tow. And you know... it really was quite pleasant. Brayden adjusted much better than we expected to the time change, new (strange) location and mixed-up schedule (proving once again why Mommy loves this little man's adaptable temperament). The hubby and I were able to do most of the things we would have done if we had been on our own (the unfortunate exception here being night-time adventures).

In Oxford, we made it to numerous colleges, the punting-docks, the Botanic Gardens (twice), Christ Church Meadows (one of my favorite spots), and even some fancy afternoon tea. In London, since Lauren had never been there, we did most of the touristy items: the double-decker bus tour, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben & Houses of Parliament, walking along the Southbank, Tower Bridge, the British Museum, etc. We even took little man to a nearby playground in Hyde Park after letting him watch the swimming duckies.

Having a ball in a Hyde Park playground.
Pointing at all the ducks and swans.
(All the ducks and swans)
I was absolutely in love with the hotel we stayed at in London. We were in the Kensington area and from the start, the hotel impressed me. Service was excellent, the food was great and our room was fantastic (it was an upgrade from our original room, but still). The trip was made even better thanks to a fellow Mom who suggested stowing Brayden's crib in the bathroom at night so the adults wouldn't have to hit the sack at 8 p.m. Thank goodness for that. (It's one of those things that seems so obvious, yet it probably would never had occurred to us)

Hey, why do you guys get those big comfy beds?

At the start of the trip, Lauren wondered if this vacation would make him want to hold off on any other international trips with kids. I'm not sure about him, but I'd do it again. It was definitely a different type of vacation than we're used to, but it was still great. We're used to being able to amble around the streets of Europe with a carefree attitude. We would stay out as long as we wanted, leaving first thing in the morning and not coming back until late at night. I do miss those trips. And I wouldn't want to replace all of them with vacations with kids. But there was something different - something special - about getting to experience everything with Brayden (even if he isn't old enough to remember any of it!).  It was nice trying to find things that he would enjoy (gardens, parks, playgrounds) and seeing how he reacted to such unusual environments (he was simply awe-struck with the horses in London!).

Fascinated by the horses near Buckingham Palace.

The truth is, this trip let me two do of the things I love most: travel and spend time with the people I love. And it can't get much better than that, right?

(Unless, of course, I had been able to figure out a way for me and Lauren to go out for drinks and fancy dinners every night).
Apparently, our family looks at the image of ourselves instead of at the lens.

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