Erika is off to Bath again today, this time by train for an academic conference where she is delivering a paper. She'll return Saturday. Meanwhile Benedict and I will manage to carry on.
And, with remarkable good timing, two packages arrived in the mail--a package from Oma and Opa in Oberkochen, and a package from Benedict's Aunt Claudia and her family Albrecht in Aalen. Benedict chose to wait until that evening to open them.
|Ealing Town Hall|
We had a little extra time so we walked around Ealing Broadway, which is what the downtown area is called. There are dozens of shops and restaurants and many people bustling about. We briefly visited a book store, which seems to be part of a chain called Waterstone, and then we had lunch at MacDonald's. This was my first time eating a Big Mac outside of the US. I would call it Big Mac Lite because it's smaller than the stateside version. A far more sensible size for those of us whose caloric needs have declined.
|Eros at Piccadilly Circus|
|The Criterion Theatre|
|A rather large throne.|
|Admiring the Tower Bridge made of matchsticks.|
Although all of it was fascinating, the most fun we had was trying to get out of the Mirror Maze. We spent about 15 minutes or so playing around inside the maze, bumping into mirrors, being startled by the sudden appearances of people just as confused as I was, and finding ourselves at the entrance of the maze instead of the exit.
By the time we finished seeing and doing everything, it was rush hour. We had a bite to eat and decided to take a bus part of the way home. The bus we took was an old-fashion double decker, smaller than the new double deckers now common around London. The bus took us west past Hyde Park, Kensington Park, the Royal Albert Hall, and, of all things, a Whole Foods store. The bus ended at the Hammersmith Bus and Underground Station, and we took the tube back the rest of the way home.
At home Benedict opened up the rest of his presents, we ate some birthday cake, and we played Uno, one of the gifts he received from his aunt Claudia. It turned out to be a wonderful day, though it would have been even more fun to have shared it with friends and more family.