Julia picked us up and took us back to their place where it was great to see the kids (who have all grown of course!) as well as Rebecca and the family who are here for the Olympics as well.
A quiet day for us, snoozing (after not sleeping for 23 hours) and just settling in.
Wednesday was lovely and warm and Michael and I tried out the Tube which is much simpler to follow than the NY subway but is slower and is not air conditioned so we think we prefer the subway! Later I met up with Matt who took a lunch break and showed me around the area he works in the City on Fleet street. The Temple area was a great introduction to London, so much history and lovely little cobblestoned lanes to explore. When Matt went back to work, I jumped on a double decker bus and rode up Fleet Street past St Pauls (where Charles & Di were married) and up towards Tower Hill.
Although it is obvious to say it, the city is so different from New York - it is so old, there is so much history around very corner, the people are different (more British?!) and it feels busy but not full on crazy like New York.
On Thursday Robbie and I took the 3 boys on the Hop on Hop Off Bus which is a great way to get an overview of the city. We went past Margaret Thatcher's place, Sean Connery's house, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, the London Eye, across Tower Bridge and then Michael and I took a ferry from Tower Bridge back to Westminster, catching the Tube home.
It's great to be here with the Olympics on. The whole city is in the grip of Olympics fever. The shops have flags in their windows, there are 'Team GB' signs and messages of support everywhere you look and the television coverage is very parochial. The atmosphere is great! Mostly we have to follow NZ's successes online because unless we are in an event with someone from Great Britain, we are unlikely to see it on TV!
On Friday we took an hour's bus trip out to Leavesden where the Warner Brothers Studios are where Harry Potter was filmed. This was essentially home for the cast and crew of the Harry Potter films for ten years - amazing. The studios are brilliant. Lots of the sets are still there in their entirety, just as they were in the film - the Great Hall, Diagon Alley and others. The props, costumes and sets were all there for us to wander through and marvel at and it was just mind blowing how much goes in to making such a film. Being big Harry fans, this was a fantastic day out and we had a brilliant time!
On Saturday Rebecca, Hannah, Zac and I went to Madame Tussauds and wandered among the rich and famous. The Sports section was very popular, particularly the Usain Bolt model and we had lots of fun posing with our favorites. Hannah reminded Rebecca and I that we were interested in a 'different' era' than they were as we posed with George Clooney and they lined up for a photo with Justin Bieber! We also had lots of laughs doing a 'photo shoot' with a very enthusiastic photographer copying the Warhol style.
We're heading down to West Wittering in the morning to stay at Matt and Julia's country home which will be a nice change from the hustle and bustle of London for a few days.
A quick flight from Dusseldorf and we flew in over London, spotting lots of the landmarks - the Olympic Stadium, Westminster Abbey, Thames, London Eye etc.