Posted by Amy
Well, another milestone in our tripped has passed. It is time to say good bye to Europe and make our way to Asia. We are ready. We have loved our trip here in Europe but I think we are all feeling a little bit done with cathedrals, castles and art masterpieces. Yawn. Sites are running together and another Panini sandwich or pain du chocolat awaits around the next corner no matter what country we are in. Time for something different, shocking even maybe. We are ready for China. The very wise Lisa Stern told me that a few months from now, familiar and normal might be just the thing we miss the most. Probably true, but not the case right now.
So the last week in Europe was filled with visiting the Sterns one more time in Paris. So nice to be able to see friends when we are so far away. Scott and their other visitors Jill and Kramer made us a delicious and overwhelmingly large Friday night dinner where we celebrated Rikki’s ninth birthday one more time. The Sterns gave Rikki the perfect gift, a book called “The History of Toilets.” The next day it was hot chocolate at the famous Paris eatery, Angelinas. Then a walk through the city ending up at the Cirque d’hiver, a Parisian circus. We sat close enough that we were not aloud to take the kids to their seats until the tigers were back in their cages, too distracting. The circus was refreshingly simple. One ring, acrobats who wince when they have a close call, we were close enough to see that too. The best part was the clowns who were not scary at all.
Then we had a slight detour from our travel arrangements. David’s father had a medical scare and David flew home to see his dad. Everything turned out fine with David’s dad, and in the meantime, the girls and I hung out in London waiting for David to return. All in all, we had about 5 unplanned days in London. We filled them by seeing a West End show, Shrek the Musical. We went to the Imperial War Museum where they had a great exhibit on children’s lives in England during WWII. By the way, the Imperial War Museum is the best signed London tourist site in the whole city, maybe even in all of Europe. You simply cannot get lost, from the second you get off the tube there are signs directing you to the museum. Good job London.
We ate at the Dark Restaurant, as chronicled by Eva, a most unusual experience. And to answer all the questions that arose, the food did taste better in the dark and I ate more than usual because I was more interested in finding the food on the plate than I normally would be.
Finally, David returned long enough for us to meet him at the train station, check out Portobello antique market, where David started no less than three new collections of stuff that we don’t need. Including cigarette trading cards from the early 1900s. Hmmmm…? Then it was off to Heathrow airport and a 12 hour trip to Hong Kong. If you read carefully you will notice that David had flown back from Chicago that morning and out to Hong Kong that night. Since most of you know how David functions on low sleep, you will be impressed to know that he actually managed to stay coherent well into the day before he crashed for the following 24 hours.
So goodbye to Europe. It was great to be with friends, Sterns, Muellers and Belloulous. Your hospitality really brightened our travels. Good bye familiar sounding romance languages, and good bye toilets with seats. We’re goin’ East!