Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Barcelona is Amazing! Wish You Were Here!

We've been in Barcelona for a little over 2 weeks, and I have barely written about it on this blog.

And what's even worse is that we have less than a week to go!  So much still to do, and so much to write about!

I apologize!  I have so  much to write about-- I've been loving spending this extended time in Barcelona, and you can find photos and brief observations on my personal facebook page (many of them are public, so even if you don't know me personally you can take a gander), my twitter account, and my instagram.   (And I urge you to follow me on those last two if you don't already!)



A post shared by Adam G (@kafclown) on

Rather than write a step by step chronological account of our time in Barcelona (as I did for our shorter 6 day London extravaganza:  See here for a sample post about a couple of our London days.)

I think that I'm going to try to write about different themes of our time in Barcelona.  The food.  The art.  The fun.  The joys and troubles of parenting a kid on vacation in a foreign country.

The Magic Fountain of Montjuic:  It first started entertaining people in 1929.  Now, thousands of people attend every show!
My son, in the Nativity Tower of La Sagrada Familia.
It's a long long long way down!
Some of those posts might morph into longer reviews (for example, we spent a delightful day at the second oldest amusement park in Europe (Tibidabo) and had a whole bunch  of fun.  That's worth a whole post in itself.  Or the day we went to go see the Castellers perform (it's an ancient Catalan tradition where teams from different cities practice making human pyramids of different shapes and dimensions.  People from all walks of life get together to perform on this team as part of a civic pride and just fun.

Or La Sagrada Familia, the masterpiece of architectural madman and genius Gaudi, who designed this massive and breathtaking church knowing they would not be completed in his lifetime.  It is expected to be completed in 2026, 100 years after his death!

Or just about any of Gaudi's works, which are all over the city!

Selfie in front of La Catedral in Barcelona's Gothic Quarter
Or  Las Ramblas, one of the main touristy streets of Barcelona, which has all kinds of walking and touring right outside of it (and most importantly, leads directly into the Gothic Quarter, a series of winding streets and shops and cathedrals and colleges and tapas bars and markets and all sorts of other great stuff for a tourist such as myself  (and my intrepid son) to get lost in and around.

I love getting lost in the Gothic quarter, because you never know what will be around the corner of the little winding street.  It could be an ice cream shop, or the public library with homeless men playing chess with tourists, or it could be some 15nth century sculpture garden that has somehow managed to remain undisturbed for all these years.

On Las Ramblas, there is a fountain (The Canaletes Fountain)  whose plaque reads (translated) "If you drink water from the Canaletes Fountain, you'll fall in love with Barcelona forever and no matter how far away you go, you'll always return."

Let it just be said:  I drank from the fountain!

So bear with me, and stick around, as I slowly get around to writing about this amazing city.

 Even after I've returned to my own city!
(cue the song My Sweet Home Chicago by Buddy Guy and Jr. Wells!)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Travelogue: London (part 5) The Making of Harry Potter

Our 6 day trip to London with our 8 year old was permeated with Harry Potter references.

OUR LONDON TRIP

This post is part of the travelogue of our London Trip 2017.
If you'd like to read the posts in chronological order they are below.

Part 1:Travelogue London: Arrival
Part 2: Travelogue London: The Tower of London/Golden Hind/Play That Goes Wrong
Part 3: Travelogue London: Hampton Court Palace
Part 4: Travelogue London:  Buckingham, Hamley's, Posh Tea, and an Old Enemy
Part 5: Travelogue London: The Making of Harry Potter (coming soon)
Part 6: Travelogue London: 48 hours of very hard travel by train.



We of course, visited King's Cross to gaze (along with about a million other people) at the wonders of Platform 9 3/4.  Every Doubledecker bus was a potential Nightbus.  We saw a large black stray dog and wondered if it was Sirius Black.

Even when we went out to suburban London to visit our cousins, my son wondered if we were near where the Dursley's lived.

We unfortunately could not get tickets (or quite frankly spend the money or the 9 hours) to watch the West End show of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (can't wait for it to come to Chicago or New York!) but the be all and end all of our trip was our visit to The Making of Harry Potter.

This attraction, about an hour by bus from Victoria Cross on the outskirts of London, is a tour through the actual studio where Warner Brothers shot all of the Harry Potter movies-- in fact, while we were there, we were informed that in a building we didn't go into they were currently shooting Fantastic Beasts II.


In the great hall, they have models of some of the teachers in their costumes.  (Not real actors!)


The studio has been since turned into a booming tour industry.  We were just a few of the thousands of tourists who attend every day.

My son was so excited to get on Hagrid's
motorbike (with sidecar)
Unlike the Harry Potter worlds at Universal, there are no rides to go on here.  Everything is related to the movies and how the movies were made.  That's not to say there wasn't interactivity.  There was plenty.


You could push a button and see Dolores Umbridge's pink sweater start to smolder.

In another area, you could try your hand at getting a broom to rise up to your hand (SPOILER ALERT:  It's not real magic.

 They have a hydraulic lift cleverly hidden behind the actor, and an operator whose job it is to raise and lower the broom.)

There are spiders that pop out at you in the Forbidden Forest (and for the arachnophobes, there is a spider free route), and you can open and close The Marauder's Map in a very cool visual display.

You can even get (for an additional fee) greenscreened into riding a broom during a Quidditch match!

Here's the video of Umbridge's smoking jacket.



Designs of the Whomping Willow and the Flying Car.
It turns out that the whomping willow only had one arm that actually moved.

The Gleaming Castle. It's a model, but when they shoot it, it looks enormous!

During the course of the tour, you can get a passport to get a stamp through each area of the exhibition, and there's also a number of Golden snitches throughout the exhibition that you are supposed to find.  There's no real reward for doing any of those things, but it's clever and fun.

The Golden Egg.
The thing is that most remarkable about The Making of Harry Potter is the explanations by some of the creatives about how they made all of the objects.  There is a multi-room video tour of how some of the props got made, multiple quotes from people about different areas, a life size version of the flying car and the Gringotts train car, and tons of other stuff.

Understanding how they made Hagrid seem so big for example, or the secrets behind how they staged all those Hogwarts flyovers was astonishing.

We were there for 3 hours, and while we saw a lot of stuff, we didn't see it all.

One of my favorite moments is the reveal of the Hogwarts Exterior

 (THIS IS A MILD SPOILER ALERT)

After you enter into the exhibition for the first time, there is a 12 or so minute movie about the Harry Potter Experience.  After the movie, the screen lifts up to reveal the door to Hogwart's Castle.

It's breathtaking when it happens, and it felt truly like a magical experience.  The doors opened magically to reveal the enormous Great Hall.  They didn't have the animated sorting hat, but it was just amazing.  You get about 20 minutes to take in all of the details of the Great Hall before they move you along so that the next group can experience that same magical moment.

They use perspective to make big people look smaller
As you walk through the rest of the exhibit, each of the sets and set pieces are grouped together, so you see the boys dormitory at Gryffindor, one of the magic shops, or even the train station.

If you've been to Universal (as we have) you'll know that the attention to detail there was (and is) superb, and they've kept up that same attention at this attraction.  You really feel like you are in the Forbidden Forest, or at the Leaky Cauldron, or in Snape's Potion classroom.  (Which makes sense, as these are the film sets!)

If you've got a Harry Potter fan in your household, I think that visiting the Making of Harry Potter is a must.  You should definitely book in advance, as tickets are often sold out.  Our bus over there was completely full, so unless you are driving, you should consider booking with one of the bus tour companies.

Buy tickets directly: https://www.wbstudiotour.co.uk/
Book bus directly:  https://www.goldentours.com/warner-bros-harry-potter-studio-tour-london

Occasionally Living Social London or Groupon London have deals on this tour, so check it out as well.

Here are some additional pictures (I took over 150 pictures while I was there, so I am not posting all of them.)

Snape's potion room (where the potions stir themselves!)



Slughorn's chair along with a design for it.


A giant model of Hogwarts allowed them to do flyovers for all of the owl segments.

Placard about the Triwizard cup and what the cup should look like

I have always been in love with all of the various signage of Harry Potter.  They do a great job with posters of the world.  Here are a few.










The actual Philosopher's stone.


The reveal of the Great Hall.  The photo doesn't do it justice.  Keep your eyes open here!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Travelogue: London (part 4): Buckingham, Hamley's, Posh Tea, and an Old Enemy

After our fun family times on Thursday, we were ready for some sightseeing over the next couple of days.

The scene while waiting for the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace

OUR LONDON TRIP

This post is part of the travelogue of our London Trip 2017.
If you'd like to read the posts in chronological order they are below.

Part 1:Travelogue London: Arrival
Part 2: Travelogue London: The Tower of London/Golden Hind/Play That Goes Wrong
Part 3: Travelogue London: Hampton Court Palace
Part 4: Travelogue London:  Buckingham, Hamley's, Posh Tea, and an Old Enemy
Part 5: Travelogue London: The Making of Harry Potter (coming soon)
Part 6: Travelogue London: 48 hours of very hard travel by train.

FRIDAY: BUCKINGHAM IS A BUST AND MY OLD ENEMY SPOTTISWOODE


Waiting for the Changing of the Guard
 We got up and got ready to go to Buckingham Palace for the Changing of the Guard.  It was supposed to happen at 11 am.  We got there early (about 45 minutes) and there were plenty of tourists waiting around, and we saw some Beefeaters on the inside of the palace.  About 25 minutes before the changing was supposed to start, we saw a coterie of Horses come by across the road, and we thought they were getting ready for the changing.

While we waited, we talked about our upcoming plans, including how to get our stuff over to the train station during the giant Bike London event that started the next day.  AA climbed the statue of Victoria in the center of the square while we waited.  It was quite sunny and beautiful and crowded.

Surely the guards would come and change soon!

More waiting for the Change. 
11 am came and went, and nothing.  11:30 came and went, and nothing.  Finally, Stephanie looked it up on her internet device and it turned out that they had changed the Changing of the Guard to 7:30 am.! There was going to be no ceremony for today!  We decamped quickly before the crowd discovered it and became unruly.  There were lots of Americans in the crowd, and we didn't want to get sued!

We then walked over to the Green Park next door to meet my other college friend Spottiswoode.  (I call him my enemy because his band is appropriately called Spottiswoode and His Enemies)  He and his daughter (age 1.5 or so) came to meet us in the park.  We walked around, had lunch, walked around some more in the park.  It was great to see him.  I've known him for 25+ years, we rarely see each other, but we manage to pick up where we left off somehow each time we see each other!

I did manage to get a photo taken with him, but it is on my wife's phone, so I may never see it! (and neither will you!)

Here's a picture of the statue of Queen Victoria instead.  She looks NOT AMUSED.
"We are not amused."



HAMLEY'S AND POSH TEA: LONDON TRADITIONS



We kept on walking and got over to Hamley's Toy Store, which bills itself as the finest toy store in the world.  It lives up to its billing! 7 floors of fun!


 (Spode and his young daughter left, as she had just fallen asleep, and the toy store was loud and full of surprises.)

We were agog with all of the cool toys.  Many of them were similar to our toys, but there were lots of other toys we had never seen before.  We bought a couple that they had on display.  They also had magicians and demonstrators on every floor, and their own brand of magic stuff.  AA got a magic set, of course, and some other stuff as well.

I highly recommend bringing your kid to Hamley's the next time you are in London.



What's on tap at Hamley's.

The queen and I have an audience. Or should I say, The queen was my audience!


Here's a sample Magic trick from one of Hamley's resident magicians!
Yes, we bought a magic set.



After Hamley's we had a  posh tea at Fortnum and Mason.  While it was not exactly what I was dying to do, my wife and son were really into it, and it turned out to be a lot of fun.  As I have mentioned before, traveling with your family means a lot of compromises, because everybody has different things they want to do.  But the good news is, you get to experience things you might not otherwise experience!

Posh Tea was one of those things.  Basically, you go to a very fancy place with very fancy teas and all different kinds of sandwiches and little pastries, and you gorge yourself until you can't eat anymore.  It was fairly pricey, a very touristy thing to do, and yet somehow I enjoyed it far more than I thought I would.  Maybe next time my wife suggests something I might not like (Mani/Pedi ?  RomCom?) I should take her up on it.

Fortnum & Mason has been doing this forever.  It works for them!

One of the fabulous sweets at Fortnum and Mason

My family is simply too full to even eat any more sweets!  (I on the other hand, was just very full.  I ate some more anyway.  :O(  

After High Tea, we went back to the room for a siesta.  Then we packed everything that we could into our 3 big suitcases and took a taxi over to St. Pancras and left them with the Left Luggage people there.  We then took a night bus back to our hotel, and got up very early for the next day's adventures.

The Making of Harry Potter! (see next post for that!)

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Good Morning Snore Solution

Please note:  This is an affiliated post.  I received the product for free to try.  Any links to this post may result in sales commission to me.  All of my opinions are my own.  I take my integrity seriously, and so should you.

I suffer with snoring and sleep apnea.  I've mostly solved this problem by using a CPAP machine, which forces air into my nose and mouth, keeping my passages open, and stopping snoring.  For the past 3 years, sleeping has not been a problem.

This works great, except for the fact that it's electric, it requires distilled water (which is surprisingly difficult to get in Europe) and it does make a slight noise.  It also is bulky to carry around.

I decided to try another solution, The Good Morning Snore Solution, because it is not any of those things.

a) Not electric.
b) Not bulky.
c) requires no distilled water,

The solution is a very small mouthpiece that uses suction to pull down your tongue.  By pulling down the tongue, the back passages of your mouth remain open and it becomes nearly impossible to snore.

The company has been in business since 2005.  The inventor of the mouthpiece is a Canadian dentist and sleep researcher.

It seemed like a smart idea, and if it worked for me, it would make a great travel way to prevent snoring.  And who knows, maybe not even have to always be cleaning my CPAP.

Sadly, I didn't get it to work properly.  I tried for 3 nights, and for 3 nights my wife kept on nudging me awake, and telling me that I was snoring.  I think I had it in properly.  But it's possible that my interior phsyiognomy doesn't work well with the device

To be fair, it does say it may take up to 6 weeks to get it right.  But I'm not sure my marriage could survive 6 weeks of experimentation.  At least, not when I have a solution that already works.  So I'm sticking to my CPAP.

If you don't have a solution that works, are single, or your wife is on an extended business trip, it is definitely worth giving it a try.  They offer a money-back guarantee if it doesn't work for you, the company has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau, and The USDA has cleared it as an okay device.  The device itself is BPA free. And costs in the neighborhood of $100.  (If you buy multiples, you get a big discount)  Each device is supposed to last about a year, I think)

To find out more, visit Good Morning Snore Solution on the internet.
(this link will result in a credit for me, if you end up buying.  Please don't feel any pressure to buy.  Only if it's right for you!)

Wishing you lots of good sleep!




Monday, August 7, 2017

Travelogue London (Part 3) Hampton Court Palace with cousins

Hampton Court Palace in the rain.  It's still really beautiful


OUR LONDON TRIP

This post is part of the travelogue of our London Trip 2017.
If you'd like to read the posts in chronological order they are below.

Part 1:Travelogue London: Arrival
Part 2: Travelogue London: The Tower of London/Golden Hind/Play That Goes Wrong
Part 3: Travelogue London: Hampton Court Palace
Part 4: Travelogue London:  Buckingham, Hamley's, Posh Tea, and an Old Enemy
Part 5: Travelogue London: The Making of Harry Potter (coming soon)
Part 6: Travelogue London: 48 hours of very hard travel by train.


The coat of arms of Henry VIII (I think)

On Thursday, despite a late night the night before, we got up pretty early in the morning.  We took the Tube to Waterloo, and then took a commuter train to Hampton Court.  We popped out of the station and met up there with my wife's British cousins.  The mom of the family is about my wife's age, and when they were younger they were penpals!

 They brought two of their 4 kids with them (one lives in Israel, and one is married, the other two that came with were 13 and 8).  The 8-year old (a girl) was only 2 months younger than my son.  The older son 13, is a brilliant track and field athlete and a really nice guy. He was also really good with my son.

It's always great when cousins get together and they like each other.  (It's also nice when you meet members of your wife's family that you like!  Which fortunately for me, has been everyone of Stephanie's family members.  Really!)   In this case, although they'd never met, they got on at once as if they were old friends.  And then it turned out they had lots of similarities, including a love of Disney World, hypermobility, and a love of reading.  So it worked out great!) Especially since we were spending the whole day with them!

They were big fans of Hampton Court Palace, and it's a good thing, because their tour of this historic site was much better than an audio guide or even an impersonal tour guide.

One of the many marble frieses.  I believe this was Henry's coat of arms . (God on my Right)
The bookstore had lots of good historical
books for kids. BUY ON AMAZON.
For those that don't know, Hampton Court Palace was built in the early 1500's by Cardinal Wollesley, who fell out of favor soon after it was built with Henry VIII.  Henry was given the palace by the Cardinal, and then the Cardinal died two years later.  The palace was one of 60 houses that the king owned, but it was one of the few that could hold his entire retinue of 700 people.  (At the time, the King needed to travel all over England, staying in a place only a few days, shoring up his support, and then moving on.)

The palace was later held by other monarchs and was used as a royal residence for over 200 years, being expanded and expanded upon, especially by William and Mary.  King George I and George II were the last monarchs to reside in the palace, in the mid-1700's.   In 1838, Queen Victoria opened the house to the public as a museum, and it has been a museum ever since.

During the 20nth century It had been used as private residences for British nobility (in which the queen allowed people to live there in return for their service to the crown) until the early 1990's when an elderly resident set the place on fire.  Now, no one lives in Hampton Court, except for the many tour guides and docents.  (And many many ghosts, if the rumors are to be believed)

One of the many formal gardens at Hampton Court Palace
The grounds are absolutely enormous, and feature room after room, sumptuously done and beautifully decorated.  There is also a tennis court, commissioned by Henry VIII himself, amazing and sumptuous gardens, a very famous hedge maze, and a wonderful playground for children.

The Hedge Maze at Hampton Court is one of the most famous Mazes in the world.
(photo courtesy of Hampton Court Palace)

There was a very interesting play featuring Henry VIII, the Cardinal, and Ann Boleyn about the creation of the palace, and also the founding of the Anglican church.  The actors were wonderful, and the play split up at one point so that different groups followed different actors around.  Once again, if I had been on my own, I would have followed the players all around, but we were with the group of us, and so I acquiesced.


We spent the day going from one sumptuous room to another, having a picnic outdoors (even though there was a little rain), getting lost in a hedge maze, and then ending the day on the playground around 3 pm.    I especially liked the kitchens, which were enormous and were actually cooking meat in one of the giant fireplaces.  There was also a special chocolate kitchen, the king's privy chambers, an absolutely beautiful chapel, and lots more.  Over all, we spent about 3.5 hours there before we had to take the train back, and we didn't see everything.  I'd happily return another time.

Find out more about Hampton Court Palace on https://www.hrp.org.uk/hampton-court-palace/

Henry VIII even has his own beer for sale available in the gift shop.  It looked good, but I didn't try it.


I admit I bear a resemblance to the king.
We left the palace and reversed our trail back to our hotel, (although there was some train fu, as a number of trains didn't come the way we thought they'd come. We had a half an hour rest, and then took the train out towards Golders Green, where my wife had even more cousins.  They had organized a dinner in our honor, and it was quite fun to attend and meet even more of her cousins, as well as the cousins we'd spent the day with.  They were all very nice, and treated us like royalty!  (In fact, the guy who hosted the party kept on insisting that I look like Henry VIII.  Which come to think of it, might not be a compliment.  Never mind!)  :O)

 A few of the cousins weren't able to make it, but it turned out we got to see them in Barcelona.  But that's a different story!

We took one of the last train's back to our hotel and got ready for our next day of adventures.

My son and his cousin feast at the table of Henry VIII.
It was a day of a lot of walking and museums, and AA did great.

I think it was good that he got to spend some time with kids, because that's been kind of lacking in our European adventure so far.

And that they were cousins that he liked-- well, that made a big difference.

My wife was over the moon that she got to see these cousins who she only sees once every 15 years or so.

Hopefully we will see them sooner than that the next time!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Travelogue: London (part 2): Tower of London, Golden Hinde, the play that goes wrong.

Because of the recent train disaster, I didn't really get to talk about the stuff we did Wednesday-Saturday (well briefly, about Harry Potter on Saturday) but wanted to chronicle more thoroughly our London adventure.  I'm getting further and further behind on my travel chronicling!  I will endeavor to catch up.

OUR LONDON TRIP

This post is part of the travelogue of our London Trip 2017.
If you'd like to read the posts in chronological order they are below.

Part 1:Travelogue London: Arrival
Part 2: Travelogue London: The Tower of London/Golden Hind/Play That Goes Wrong
Part 3: Travelogue London: Hampton Court Palace
Part 4: Travelogue London:  Buckingham, Hamley's, Posh Tea, and an Old Enemy
Part 5: Travelogue London: The Making of Harry Potter (coming soon)
Part 6: Travelogue London: 48 hours of very hard travel by train.


On Wednesday, we did quite a lot.  Here's the rough breakdown:

TOWER OF LONDON


We got up a little later than we wanted and made our way over to the Tower of London.  We'd walked by it the day before, it was on our London Pass, and it was something we definitely wanted to do.

It was raining a little bit, but fortunately, we'd brought our umbrellas.  We walked in and even in the rain it was pretty crowded. We wanted to take the Yeoman tour (they are supposed to be funny) but one had just left, so we decided to see the Crown Jewels on our own, and come back for the tour.  There was a line of about 35 minutes (supposedly) when we went in, but we cleared it in about 20 minutes.

We saw the Crown Jewels which were pretty cool, but very crowded.  Sadly I did not get to try on a crown,  although they do have a virtual area where kids can see themselves in a crown.  Weirdly, I didn't even try.  (But my son did!)

Buy this on Amazon.
We came back to the tour of the Yeoman with about 3 minutes to go, and waited for about 20 minutes until a guy came out and said Next tour in half an hour.  So we kiboshed that but instead did the walking tour on our own of the tower walls.  We skipped the dungeon tour (which was supposed to be incredibly gory and torture filled, and AA did not want any of that ("creepy!") so we walked through the tower walls, where the king used to live in the 1300s, then ate lunch at the tower, which was surprisingly good, and probably much better than prisoners were used to getting.  The most fascinating thing to me was how small the king's area for sleeping was (Considering he was a king)  It was probably quite sumptuous in those days, but for us, not so much.

At the gift shop I bought AA a book about all the stuff he missed.  They had a whole series of books about London and England from a kid's point of view- quite funny books in the Horrible Histories series.  I really think they are great.  Aaron complained that this book was too gory but he read it all, and he remembers a lot of it.  They are written very cheekily with a little bit of London attitude and I found them funny and informative.
My son tries on the Crowned Jewels (virtually)
Not sure why I didn't!  Next Time!


One of the things I really liked were all of the myths/superstitions about the Tower.  There's a myth/legend going about that if the Ravens ever leave the tower of London, the Tower will fall.  So to this day, they keep at least 6 ravens in the tower.  It's weird and barbaric and totally in keeping with what I know about England.  Love it!



As we started to exit, there was a little play going on, where the commoners were grousing about their taxes and threatening to rebel (which they actually did in the 1380's, one of the few times the secure Tower of London has been taken over.)

The play was quite fun, and I actually wanted to see more of it.  But we had to get going, because I was going to see one of my old college chums and her husband.

 I would happily go back to the Tower the next time I am in London and spend some more time there.   The architecture is amazing, and the history of it (over 1000 years!) just makes me awed.

(Although there are so many other things I didn't do, that I don't know if it will get first priority next time)

THE GOLDEN HIND



After that, we walked down the road to the City Hall to meet my friend Alison and her husband.  I hadn't seen Alison in about 5 years (she came to NY and we did a walking tour of Battery Park City with AA) so it was nice to see her, meet her husband, and have her see how the boy has progressed.  She was very complimentary about him (and I will take full credit!)

We walked the Southbank of the Thames, through the Clink area (former London Prison) and saw the replica of the Golden Hinde, Sir Francis Drake's ship with which he circumnavigated the globe.  It was pretty amazing to consider how many people would live in these tiny areas for a year or more at a time under terrible conditions.  (Most of the under part of the boat I couldn't stand -under it was too short.

The boat itself has also circumnavigated the globe as well!  The docent told me that it had been to Newport, New York, and lots of other places as well.

If you are on that side of the river, it's a cheap self-guided tour, but the boy and I and Alison's husband Julian had a great time touching every rope, asking the guide about the rope and pulley system, and peering out the tiny windows.

(I just looked it up, and it looks like it may have closed: http://www.goldenhinde.com/.  We asked a lot of questions, but I didn't think it was THAT many to close it down!  Unless this is a different organization, or the website is just old?  I don't see anything in Yelp about it closing.) 


I would happily waste my
time here as well!
After that we continued onward, walking past the Globe theatre, the Southbank theatre, and the Tate Modern.  We didn't go in to any of these (another time) as we needed to take our leave of Alison and Julian to grab a quick dinner and go to the theatre.  Of course I forgot to take a picture with Alison because I am a dolt.

But I grabbed a bunch of fun pictures, including the Trash cans of the South Bank, a shark tank adventure that we didn't do (supporting some kind of crazy shark movie) and me posing with Laurence Olivier.

Selfie in front of the Globe Theatre.  (hello Mr. Shakespeare!)
Shark tank on the South Bank.  In support of
a dumb-looking movie.  But an interesting idea!
I believe that Sir Laurence and I share a striking resemblance!  (But I'm biased)


 THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG

We stopped at Covent Garden, went into one of my favorite stores in the world (Pollocks Toy Theatre Shop), took an obligatory selfie at the PUnch and Judy Pub.

Surprisingly, there weren't street performers going at the time, so we grabbed a quick dinner, and then headed off to the Duchess Theatre to see THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG.  It was a marvelously funny farce, in which an amateur theatre society attempts to put on a murder mystery and the set literally falls apart.  Seriously, the set is another character in this play.

All of the characters were delightful, really a lot of fun.  My son really loved it, especially the surly working class stage manager, who is constantly looking for (and sometimes playing inadvertently) his Duran Duran CD.

We had a great time at the play, but we were so tired after this pretty busy day that we decided to take a
cab home.  We had an early day planned for the next day too!

The cast of the Play that goes Wrong.  It was very very funny!


Pollocks Toy Shop.  I especially love their Toy Theatres!
Obligatory selfie in front of Punch and Judy Pub.