True story – Addison and I slept in this morning. We were both tired from our long days this week, so while Kendra took the high school kids to see St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Museum of London, Addie and I hit the snooz button. She got up before me, and I let her watch some British cartoons. She was transfixed!
By the time we arrived at the St. Paul’s tube station and grabbed some Starbucks, the kids had finished their exploration of the museum. They had rave reviews, so if you are looking for a good London attraction for your teens, the Museum of London should fit the bill.
Our next stop of the day was the Temple Church, once home to the Knights Templar. (This church was featured in The DaVinci Code movie.) As we sat in the courtyard, Eva gave us a brief history of the area, the Knights Templar, and the church itself.
Built in the 12th century by the Knight Templar, the church served as their London headquarters until the fall of the Templars in 1307. At this point, the church was handed over to two colleges of lawyers, the Inner and Middle Temples, and has remained in their possession ever since.
The building was hard hit during WWII, and suffered extensive damage to the roof. It has since been restored. Unfortunately, we were not able to go inside the church, as its hours did not fit into our time schedule. We did get to see the outside though, as well as the unique Templar statue atop the pillar outside of the church that features two Knights Templar riding the same horse, a symbol of the bond and brotherhood shared by the society’s members.
After snapping some photos, we took the kids to Camden Town, an eclectic area of London known for its punk scene and shopping. The streets are lined with outdoor markets selling everything from clothing and food to souvenirs and magazines. Needless to say, our high schoolers loved it!
We let the kids shop for a few hours while we snuck off to get sushi at Hi Sushi with Eva, our tour guide. The resteraunt was very cool – the tables were just above the floor, and though we sat on mats on the floor the area under the table was cut out so we could let our legs dangle as we ate. Addie ate half of my avocado roll, and then moved on to the Dragon Roll I had ordered – an amazing concoction of jumbo prawn tempura, avocado and asparagus. We also had vegetable gyoza and edamame. Eva was right – the food was excellent!
After lunch, we met up with Kendra’s cousin, Irit, for coffee at Cafe Nero. It was there that we discovered babyccinos. I had recently read in the NY Times about the trend of Brooklyners giving babyccinos to their little ones, but laughed it off. However, after scooping all the foam off of my cappuccino for Addison, Kendra and I realized we needed some more, so she asked the barista if he could just give us a cup of steamed milk. He smiled and replied, “Oh! You mean a babyccino!” So Addie had her first taste – a concoction of cold milk topped by steamed milk and a sprinkle of chocolate. She downed two of them – luckily, they were free.
Irit spent the rest of the evening with us while Tommy and Eva (our other chaperone and our tour guide) took the kids to see 39 Steps (which they LOVED!). Long story short, Kendra’s paternal grandparents were both Holocaust survivors who lost many family members during WWII. Irit’s mother is Kendra’s granfather Felix’s first cousin, one of his few surviving relatives. We connected through Geni.com over a year ago, and have been able to spend time with Irit three times since. Tonight we were able to meet her daughters, Eynat and Tal, who are our age. We all met for a late dinner at Cafe Rouge in Leicester Square. Unfortunately, by this time Addie was overtired and had her first European meltdown, which cut our visit short. Despite this, it was wonderful to catch up with Irit and meet more relatives!
Tomorrow we are off to Paris on the Eurostar train!