Friday, April 6, 2018


 On Ryan's birthday, we drove up to Frankfurt Hahn and stayed in the B&B across from the airport.  We realized we left the main luggage and so I drove back home and picked it up and drove back.  It is about an hour and 15 minute drive one way.  We still left behind Sam's coat.  Oh, well.  You can't remember EVERYTHING.
Day 1 
We almost thought we were not going to be allowed on the flight because we only brought our "travel" passports and not our "working" passports.  We didn't have our military ID cards or anything.  I was in a panic and then he let us pass.  WHEW!!!  At the boarder crossing into London, Luke spoke in a British accent. His accent is funny but this was the one time that we needed to prove he was an American. 

We checked our luggage at Victoria Station (next to the theatre showing Hamilton).
We took pictures with bright red phone booths and gawked at the double decker buses! I love all the pops of Red everywhere! We got on a double decker bus to Tower of London. The line was ridiculously long but a lady came and got us from the end and had us skip to the front because we had a stroller. We listened to a Yeoman Watchman or Beefeater tour and learned about who was held captive in the Tower including the 9 and 12 year old princes and Anne Boylen. It showed where people were beheaded. The crown jewel line was too long but we saw an exhibit on the military and Kings’ armor. 

We saw the London Tower bridge and rode a boat on the Thames. On the Thames we rode by the Globe and London Eye. We got off at Westminster and went straight to the abbey and got in line for a 3 pm Easter service. Everything was written down and they followed the script. Even the lyrics to the songs were written down. It told us when to sit and stand and when to talk. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I imagined all of the coronations and princess Di and Charles getting married there. We all fell asleep during the sermon except Sam. We ate Japanese food that was really yummy. We picked up our bags at Victoria and went to the hotel. The kids watched the new Charlie and the Chocolate factory. Ryan ran to to the store and got treats and some yummy pizza with spinach, goat cheese and walnuts. We called home to mom, dad, Bran and Claire. 
Train into the city

King's Armour

Shakespeare's Globe

Day 2
We made our way to a bus stop to Windsor Castle. We were a little nervous about being able to get tickets but it all worked out and we rode on the top of the double decker. The kids drew in the foggy windows. 
We got to Windsor Castle and saw a huge line. Because I already bought tickets online, we skipped a huge part of the line! I love it when that happens! We entered just as they were changing the guard with a band! 
We went in St. George’s cathedral where Henry VIII and George and queen mother Elizabeth and princess Margaret are buried. Then we saw the castle apartments, Queen Victoria’s doll house (again skipping the line because a guard told us he would get us in).

Then we took a train back to London and getting to the British Museum at 3pm. Again no line and walked right in but it was very crowded. We all were amazed by the Rosetta Stone, Easter island statue and Egyptian and Greek exhibits. It was massive! We spent 2 hours and then went to a souvenir shop where Luke picked out a bear with a London sweatshirt and Tess picked out a welsh corgi with a crown. Sam looked for an Egyptian book from the museum but I think we will get on online. We made our way home and stopped to get the kids subway sandwiches and us Indian food. Tonight the tv played Night at the museum which was perfect because we would soon be visiting the Natural History Museum. 


Day 3 
We went to Churchill War Rooms. This was really cool to show the underground bunkers and offices of Churchill and his military staff and secretaries during the war. It also had a great exhibit on Churchill. I loved reading his quotes. He was hilarious. Someone important (I don’t remember) said when he died, “There goes the end of giants among us.”

We then walked by 10 Downing Street to see where the priminister, Teresa May lives. 
Then we walked though St. James park to see Buckingham Palace. I liked seeing the guards and the balcony where all of the famous waves and pictures are taken of the royal family after a wedding. We let the kids play at the park for a little while before heading to Kings Cross platform 9 3/4. We waited in line for a picture. 

Next we went out and got the kids some McDonalds. I didn’t get happy meals but someone gave them their toys from their happy meals and the kids played with them for the rest of the trip. St. Pancres station was impressive and next to that was the British library which housed the Magna Carta, writings from Shakespeare, Jane Austen, the Beatles, the first bibles, and writing the lyrics for Elton John to English Rose for Princess Di. 

We then took a bus to Chipotle on Baker Street and then walked to 221b Baker st. And took a picture in front in honor of Sherlock Holmes. Then we made our way to Abbey Road and took the iconic Beatles picture. The kids are getting to be pros in the tube. Luke said on a crowded tube, “These people must not have learned about personal space because they are making me stand on one foot like a flamingo.” We then went home and on our way stopped at the grocery store and got some yummy Cadbury and discounted Easter treats. 
10 Downing 

10 Downing from other side

"I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals." –

"Show me a young Conservative and I'll show you someone with no heart.
Show me an old Liberal and I'll show you someone with no brains." 

"Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." 

"Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference." 

"For myself I am an optimist - it does not seem to be much use to be anything else." 
"Don't interrupt me while I'm interrupting." 

Churchill room

Hitler drawn on the map
Map Room

St. James Park


221B Baker Street 
Abbey Road

Day 4
We went to the church near Hyde park. It has a visitor center and is on the same street at the museums.  The couple missionaries were sent there from the visitor's center at the Temple.  This one gets much more visitors.  The Sister started out British and then let her American accent come through.  I guess the British are more likely to listen to her if they think she is British.  We then went to the Natural History Museum. I was really mad because we stayed at the church too long and now needed to wait in a 40 minute line. Lines can make or break my experience. The museum was ok. I guess I was hoping for it to be as cool as the one in NYC.  It was very crowded but very neat dinosaurs, whale bones, and evolution exhibits.  We were really tired and made our way to a place to eat. We found two great places next to each other, Japanese and French salads and sandwiches. Tessa fell asleep in the stroller and we ate from both restaurants. Still very crowded that we could only get a table with 2 chairs. 

We then had to go to Euston to catch a train to Harry Potter. We got the slow train and I slept on it. We caught a bus to the Warner brother lot and got there just in time. We spent 3 hours there. It was cool to see all the props and sets. The kids loved the forbidden forest and Luke, Tessa and I rode on a broom. Tessa accidentally hit Sam in the eye and so it was all watery and he wasn’t in the mood to to it. Also Luke and I learned how to cast spells in a choreographed manner. Lots of cool things to see and learn about behind the scenes. I wish I didn’t get audio tours for the kids because they worried more about those then looking up at what they could see. We didn’t really get into the snitch hunt or passport stamps but we all enjoyed it. We stopped for a packed lunch and butter beer and butter beer ice cream. The kids liked the ice cream but not the drink. Sam thought it was going to be warm and said it tasted like funny Fanta. We had to catch the bus and then train back and talked to nice people from San Francisco and Sweden. The kids sure ham it up with them. We got back really late and went straight to sleep. 

Harry Potter tour

HP under the stairs room

Some wigs were not used.  They would style the wig the way the hair was styled for continuity if there was a long time between shoots. 

Boys' dorm room

Mirror of Erised
The Fat Lady

Gryffindor common room

Invisibility cloak and clothes

Dumbledore's office

Snape's potion room

Quidditch balls

Weasley clock
Voldermort's tomb

Delores Umbridge's office

Back drops from Minister of Magic and Gringott's Wizarding Bank

Entry into the Forbidden Forest 



Hogwarts Express

Hogwarts bridge
PRIVAT Drive Home

Diagon Alley

Day 5
We all slept in and barely made it to the 9 o’clock cut off for breakfast. We checked out and went to Notting Hill. A lady at a park stopped us to do kids crafts that they were doing for an environmental charity for the neighborhood. A man told s about the history of the area and showed pictures of what it looked like 100 years ago. The kids made prints about not polluting and then made little gardens in plastic containers. We couldn’t take their gardens but they loved doing it. They kept little plastic animals and played with them for the rest of the day. We are going to try to replicate the gardens at home. We then made our way to Portabello Road. The Bed Knobs and Broomsticks song was permanently in my head. It was a charming street. It then turned into colorful buildings and what you see on Notting Hill, the movie. I will want to rewatch it. 

We made our way to Princess Diana’s Playground. There was a 40 minute wait to get in. They only let people in when people came out. They say about 5,000 visitors a day. There really wasn’t another playground at the park! The kids loved climbing on the ship and playing in the sand. Tessa made friends. We then went to Kensington Palace. This is where Diana lived and now Will and Kate live here. We walked by Albert Memorial and then to the Diana Memorial fountain. We thought it was going to be a statue or fancy fountain but it was a great splash fountain for kids to play. The kids loved running and playing and got soaked. Luckily it was warm enough but the water was cold. We had our luggage with us so we just changed their clothes when they were done. 

We went back past the church and museums asking if they found Tessa’s lost welsh corgi with no luck. We told her several times not to bring it but she snuck it with and of course lost it. Love and logic. Then we went back to the restaurants from yesterday and ate sushi and more yumminess before getting on the last underground trip and train back to the airport. A nice Irish man named Steve entertained the kids on the train with his photos and magic tricks. We have met the nicest people on this whole trip! We did everything we wanted and even got a sunny day at the end. 

We stayed at a hotel and woke up super early-3:45- for our flight back to Hahn.



Princess Diana Memorial Fountain

Hyde Park LDS Church

She sleeps with her eyes slightly open