Some family friends from Australia were passing through London this past weekend, so Joost and I headed into the big city to meet up with them! I’ve known them since… forever, really, as our parents have been friends before any of us kids were around. We’ve traveled to/around Hawaii, Minnesota, Whistler and Kangaroo Island together, so it was fun to be able to add London to our list. It is amazing how friends who live 10000 miles away from your home can make you feel homesick, as you reminisce about eating Swedish meatballs at Christmas in Minnesota, playing the ‘penis’ game (a mature and intellectual game played by teenagers around the world, where you take turns saying ‘penis’ in escalating decibel levels until someone gets too embarrassed to continue) while on a penguin tour in Australia and that time your littlest brother gave a rousing speech on the Pilgrims coming to America. Even though we only see each other every few years, we really have grown up together.
Joost and I started the day by waking up early and taking a bus to Oxford and then a train into London, where we met Alice and Annabel for a delicious brunch. Can we just take a minute to revel in how glorious it was to be back in civilization, where brunch exists?! Seriously. Glorious.
After spending time catching up on the past three years or so of our lives over lattes, we ventured out to see some of the big sights. Even though we’ve now lived in England for four months (!), Joost has never seen London. I know. It’s just been too expensive/time consuming to get in yet, so of course we had to show him all the classic tourist destinations! We went to Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. The weather couldn’t quite make up its mind, but we had fun frolicking in the pockets of sunlight when they appeared through the clouds.
We split up for a bit in the afternoon so that the girls could get some shopping done before heading back to Australia. Joost and I wandered up and down Oxford Street (don’t worry, we found Ben’s cookies!) and through Hyde Park. We stumbled upon the Speakers’ Corner, a section of the park devoted to people having lively debates and protesting just about everything you can imagine. Our favorite was a black woman handing out fliers and wearing a sign in a campaign to ‘Save the Blondes!’
Later, we met up with Alice, Annabel and Susan for drinks and dinner at an adorable little wine bar. Susan grilled Joost on his life before giving him the Auntie Susan stamp of approval! 🙂 It was such a great day, getting out of our little town and spending time with good friends.