Whether birds break into song at 2 a.m. across London or across the UK or across Europe remains unknown, but I can vouch for the fact that they do so in Bloomsbury. Or at least they did, all three nights we were here. Then they quieted down a bit, before hitting it again near dawn. Perhaps it was the unseasonably warm weather that prompted their singing, or perhaps it has always been true that they do so, and we only became aware by virtue of sleeping with the windows open. We saw daffodils blooming during this trip; perhaps all of nature is just confused.
My son awoke naturally on the first morning in London, before the alarm we set went off, and he woke me up. In our past experiences in this time zone, if we are able to sleep at all in the first few days, we normally get our best sleep from 4 a.m. on, when it is nighttime in Chicago. But we were determined to make it over for the Emirates stadium tour and have adequate time to see everything. Touring ends a bit early on a Sunday, but we also hoped to also take in the Reading v. Blackburn match in the afternoon, which would have required catching a train at around 1 p.m. Why Reading v. Blackburn? Because it was the only match near London on Sunday. Reading is now in the Championship; it didn’t seem disloyal to Arsenal to attend.
However, we ended up spending so much time at the Emirates, we never made it to Reading at all. We saw all the Emirates sights, inside and out, and did all the shopping we never managed before this trip. I was moments away from making the grand purchase of a home jersey with Ozil’s name and number on the back, when I saw the perfect item and bought that instead. The Arsenal pajamas are soft and comfy and perfect for wearing the night before a match that’s almost always watched early after jumping out of bed.
Ozil, never forget you were almost my man.
My son has always been a discerning eater, in the sense that very few foods make the cut for consumption. Although he’s now 14 and desperately hungry all the time, his dietary repertoire has not expanded much to match his increased appetite. We tend to let him fend for himself when we are traveling as a family, but since it was just the two of us this time, I decided that we’ll let his standards be our guide in restaurant selection. He surprised me by not wanting to eat at any notably American chains, but almost everyplace we ate this trip was a local chain, new to us, but common to Londoners.
We had breakfast each morning at the Costa Fresca down the street. (I jokingly said it was named for Diego Costa, but my son said it was too nice, so it must be named for Douglas Costa.) I could have porridge and a flat white, and my son could have pastries and white hot chocolate. Perfect for both of us.
We had a very late lunch the first day at the Spaghetti House. What a fun chain. The decor was beautiful and the food was both pretty and delicious.
During our meal my son decided that he would surprise me by taking me by Tube to the attraction of his choice. He figured out the route by himself and we went to the London Eye. We had been once before on our one previous family visit, although that trip was during the day. By the time we got to the Eye this time it was quite dark, having been rainy in the late afternoon. Beautiful nighttime views of all of London.
We walked around near Big Ben and Westminster before heading back for dessert at the Le Pain Quotidien near our hotel in Bloomsbury. I had the Buche de Noel and my son had Belgian Waffles with chocolate sauce.
We were very tired and made our way back to the Arofsa.