After much research, Etihad being the chosen airline for most economical and best route, I decided to confirm my accommodation. Booking.com came up the winner. Best Deals in London, France, Spain. Eurolines and Alsa for Bus and Vueling for internal flights.
Note to self: Read the print. Rooms with free cancellation a must. I accidently booked two rooms in London. One in Mayfair and I found the cheaper one in South Kensington. OOppppps. Yup! I actually lost money. I begged, pleaded, emailed, spoke. Neither hotel would budge, so I had to forfeit one. That was when the Pound was Rs 98/- where was Brexit, when I needed it?
Do Not Book rooms or any tickets when you are tired. Keep a note pad ready.
When you make a reservation, Make sure they have Free Wi-Fi every-where and not just in the lobby.
All my bookings were for 28 days. I had to keep in mind that I had two children and many trains, buses and flights to catch. At 43, I know I suffer from short term ‘Remembary loss!’ I found myself opening multiple pages on my PC. Back-Forth. The note book really helped.
Once I made the bookings I printed out the confirmation sheets and put it in a folder. Actually two sets. In case I lost one. Easy Peasy Lemon Squeazy!!!!
Hadn’t been to the U.K in over 8 years. The visa fees being a huge deterrent as was the exchange for Indian Rupees to the Pound.
London was calling.. Hill-Walkers in Yorkshire, Santa Barbara Linds in London, G and her massive brood and my friend BBC 4 chatterbox Nikki Bedi. This was not where the back-packing started.
Flight was delayed at Abu Dhabi, when we finally reached Heathrow it was 8pm, so we Black Cabbed it to London. First time I watched the meter,Quietly calculating the exchange in my head. Promising not to cab it again. What kind of an example was I setting to the Bratz? Hopping into the first available mode of transport. We should have taken the Tube. Ha ha ha ha
It was smart decision, as the journey to London was 14 hours with the stopover. Finally arriving at our hotel at 9.30pm. The sun was out so we decided to explore. Around the corner, one block down, was pubs, restaurants, PAULS and Tesco. We were set. Best location EVER! Across the street was the Natural History Museum (we never went to it : )
4 days and nights in London. All 4 were spent at Hyde Park. Children played soccer and climbing trees.
Mothers bought water and snacks from The Serpentine every-day. (It had the restroom we customers could use) What was amazing was that each child would want to go to, Just as the other would come back. There would be times where one mum would walk back from the loo with a child and another Mum would leave with another child.
This happened a lot with Ice-Cream as well. Children can never make up their mind. And mothers should never say No to ice-cream if 2 out of 7 are having. It’s a losing battle. I realised SUGAR kept them going till you actually wanted them to crash. Yes Bad Mom! Mine were jet-lagged and needed to get as much in as they could in the 4 days and nights.
First day we had 7 children and 4 adults. It was a mammoth task getting hot, hungry tired kids to walk anywhere. So we tried the Black Cab. That only took 5. Sterling Pounds slowly disappearing. Then we Ubered. (on account) But July was the season for construction all over London. Road works everywhere. We spent more time between Red lights than actually eating or shopping.
After unnecessarily spending money sitting at traffic stops, you would think we would have learnt about the London traffic. We spent 160 Pounds for the HOP on HOP off bus. A complete waste of money to see the Sights of London. We lasted all of 45 mins of sitting in the open top double decker bus. The hot sun coupled with view of the backside wall of the Buckingham Palace got all the kids in a bad mood. So…
I decided we needed to economize and save time and do something Dangerous and Fun. Needed to get the adrenaline pumping again. We jumped off the Bus and Linds and Sadanahs were introduced to the Piccadilly Line (the blue line). 2 Adults, 2 Boys and 3 children free to squeeze through with the 2 adults.
If Helen had sanitizer, she would have used it everywhere. We formed a long single line. Children in between and they were divided, so siblings didn’t fight. Long long escalators followed by Noon rush, following all signs to Blue Piccadilly line. Adventure, excitement, nervous looks by our kids. By the time we got to our destination and I had counted all. (Yes every- time we got in or out of a train I had to count 2 adults and 5 kids.) Helen looked like one of her migraines had come on. This was going to be the end of The Linds’ Tube experience. We didn’t speak to each other for a while. I think she was going to use Bad Words but couldn’t. The 5 children were watching us both very closely. Just Silence…..
What I learnt was never take 7 Hungry children to Dim-Sum if you are hungry. They even ate the paper that came under the Paos. Our 7 behaved like we never gave them a full English Breakfast that morning. Our 7 ate our veg Dim-Sim as well. Our 7 couldn’t see us rolling our eyes at them cos they were digging their forks and chopsticks in to the server as she came to our table with more food. Our 7 ate 27 portions of Dim-Sum. We ate the Sauce that they didn’t like and drank jasmine tea.
If your child loves her Indian Food there is nothing you can do to dissuade her. 4 days in London and Bratz 2 ate 3 meals from The Kati Roll Co at Poland Street. Her God-Parent owns it. She got to drink tonnes of Mango Lassi and eat Chicken Unda rolls. It was easier to feed her what she wanted than argue. However, If Bratz 1 has just finished competing at the Nationals. You need to know that all the ice cream, Pizza, Butter Croissants, nutrella crepes, pop-corn, do-nuts, Ice tea, Fries that he consumed on Day 2 and 3 in London, would not know where to go. Bratz 1 had been gluten free, sugar free, junk free for 7 months leading up to The Swim nationals. So Just as Helen and I left our kids in the Apartment to get some retail therapy. Bratz 1 got so sick that Lind teenager called concierge who called US and told us an Ambulance was going to be called. Imagine the panic, I was to leave in a few hours By Grand Central Rail to Yorkshire. And Helen thought child services would be called,even though we had a very responsible teenager overseeing 3 kids on their various devices. We Black Cabbed it home. Found Bratz 1 throwing up all the previously mentioned contents into the pot of a very Posh Serviced Apartment.
Quick Byes, Grabbed the boy, walked him through the fresh cold air. Made him a huge lime shot. Yes I carried my lime squeezer as well as two toilet bag of many different kinds of emergency naturopathic and allopathic remedies for any medical emergency that might befall the three of us.
And as we left for Yorkshire the next morning, how was I to know There were many emergencies to come in the next 24 days.