Cracking on With Christmas

(I was going to title this “Kicking off Christmas,” but I realised that is a very American thing to say, as here “kicking off” means starting to throw a fit. So I revised to something that sounds a lot more British.)

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This is our third Christmas season in London. Yes, Christmas, not holiday season; the holiday season here means summer vacation; and even though in general I find this a very tolerant melting pot of a city, Brits don’t seem to be concerned about religious political correctness surrounding Christmas the way Americans are, hence every public school child performs in a nativity play, and no one seems bothered by it. Continue reading

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An English Summer Seaside Holiday, Part 2

{Read An English Summer Seaside Holiday, Part 1, here}

On Tuesday of our week in Cornwall, we visited St Michael’s Mount. The thing about visiting this island is that when the tide is low, a causeway appears and you can walk over from the mainland in Marazion. But when the tide comes back in, the causeway completely disappears under water, and you have to take a ferry.

So we waited for the causeway to open that morning, and walked across.

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An English Summer Seaside Holiday, Part 1

At the end of August, we took a weeklong family holiday to Cornwall, which E had been excited for all year. I was a bit worried it wouldn’t live up to her expectations, since she’d been asking when we were going to Cornwall since before Easter. But as it turned out, it did; she had a fantastic week filled with kite-flying, sand castle-building, fish and chips, and ice cream cones.

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Our cottage in the town of Marazion was a Saturday-to-Saturday rental. Because driving there takes at least 5 hours (with no traffic) and there’s always traffic in London, we left at 4:30 a.m. Which was the best decision we could have made. We were sitting in a café in Marazion, ordering breakfast, by 9:30.

We passed Stonehenge right at sunrise, and there wasn’t a tourist in sight!

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Barcelona, Part 2

{Read Barcelona, Part 1 here}

On our third day in Barcelona, we started the morning with breakfast at another food-tour-company-recommended spot called Cosmo. We went in, sat down at a table, looked up, and were instantly transported back to Baltimore.

We got a good laugh out of that.

Then we were back in Antoni Gaudí’s Barcelona, on a three-hour walking tour to learn about the city’s unique architecture. Continue reading

Barcelona, Part 1

At the beginning of the summer, my parents were visiting and once again graciously stayed with our girls here in London so M and I could have a little getaway. We spent four nights in Barcelona, were we appreciated the sights, the weather, the artistic genius of Pablo Picasso and Antoni Gaudí, and of course the food and drink.

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We flew out of London on Thursday night, on a very rowdy budget airline flight with a stag (bachelor) party and a boys’ football club (probably ages 8-10?) whose parents let them run wild.

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The “stag” on our flight

Fortunately, the man next to us on the plane was a nice Barcelona local and helpfully gave us a bunch of restaurant recommendations. (And as always happens with us on international trips, we ran into him again later that weekend, on a random street. Does this happen to anyone else? Is there a term for this phenomenon?) Continue reading