Maybe it was the Tube ride, the first since we arrived in London three days ago (why did we wait so long?!). Or maybe after almost two weeks away from home we’ve all finally figured out the rhythm of outing-downtime-outing. In many ways, our day didn’t seem any more or less ambitious, any more or less scheduled than any other day, but this is the one day that kept everybody happy all day long: no whining, no sniping, no dragging.
First stop, the Tate Modern, which offers kids’ activities on Sundays. We went straight to the Family Desk and loaded up on activity books and a big sheet of heavyweight paper for the boys to take into the gallery and draw what inspired them. Tony and I took turns, alternating supervising the kids and wandering the fabulous galleries. Ben was delighted to find a gallery in which he could identify every artist (Rothko, Monet, Picasso, Kandinsky, Pollock). The boys explored, drew, and folded their big paper into funny hats.
Why yes, we are feeling peckish, thank you, and the cafe did very well by us. Not having planned in advance to get reservations anywhere interesting (oh, River Cafe! we’ll see you another time), not to mention the fact that the boys are beyond restaurant-weary by now, this is the most delicious meal Tony and I eat in London (orecchiette with summer squash and broad bean pesto for him, grilled vegetables on ciabatta with a good, vinegary caponata for me). Meanwhile, the boys eat their most elegant monochromatic meal of the trip: plain penne, chips, olives (some color there), and a vanilla/honey smoothie. Tony and I drink a glass of wine, the boys color happily, we watch a big rainstorm blow past.
Next stop, the London Transport Museum, with its fabulous interactive collection of exhibits on all aspects of London bus, boat and tube travel. There are vehicles to board and drive, passports to stamp, light-up, interactive maps and displays. It’s the only London museum at which we paid an admission fee (one more reason to love London: free art!), and it’s worth every penny.
We walk home through Covent Garden, eating ice cream on the way, the boys looking forward to leftover rice for dinner, and feeling happy about our two-museum day.