Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Best Laid Plans

I have been carefully planning this trip for many years as you well know. I have created itineraries for each day, then rewritten the itineraries as new information came available. According to my excellent itineraries, in one week we could accomplish every major sight worth seeing in London. Yes, it did include long-ish days but we are all fit, active people and would be raring to go! I planned for flexibility so that if people didn't want to do one thing, we'd just flex to do something else. I planned for finances so that if we were running low on cash, we'd cut our losses and focus on the freebies. And then, to my surprise, it was not personal preference or cash that was the issue. It was sleep.

After three days of watching my family sleep until noon, I managed to drag the brood out of the apartment at 8:30am. Yesterday, I finally left with Julia at 11:30am. I had been up for three hours, worked out at the gym, showered, broke bread, cleaned the kitchen, tidied the apartment, uploaded pictures, categorized pictures, planned the day's outing...then replanned the afternoon's outing...then sighed loudly in many directions. I have been positively buzzing with morning energy. Sadly, everyone else gets going about 6pm when I am running out of steam. Of course, they all seem happy enough to get into bed again by 10pm. But I perseverate.

Where guidebooks recommend 2 hours, my family seems to spend twice that amount of time. Who knew my children had the stamina for five hours at the National Art Gallery? Mind you, we flew through the Tate Modern Art Gallery in only 2 hours. My favourite painting was the Shooting Picture by Niki de Saint Phalle (or something like that). She took plastic baggies of different coloured paint and tied them to a board. Then she covered it all with wire mesh. Then she covered all that with plaster. Then she put the whole thing at an art exhibit and invited apssersby to shoot at it with a rifle. I like her. Caused quite a stir at the time, of course. My favourite sculpture was The Kiss by August Rodin. I thought is was interesting that Claude Monet is credited with influencing "abstract art" as a sort of "first abstract artist" kind of guy. I always had a slightly different impression of him. Get it? impression?

The Tower of London was cool. We spent many hours there dodging in and out of towers. I'm pretty sure Tom is jealous of Rick Steves. Every time I mention his name, Tom just rolls his eyes but I tell you, there was no eye-rolling today. Rick said to get to the Tower early and head for the crown jewels so we did. By the time we came out, the line up was three times as long. Another hour later it was so long I couldn't imagine why anyone would get in it! The thirteen Rick Steve's guidebooks I packed are paying off...

The other thing that is interfering with my amazing planning is the travel time. Walking takes forever! I swear we must have walked around the entire city twice by now. Even with my superior map-reading abilities, we always seem to have to walk in concentric circles to find our target. Today, I even broke down and planned to take the bus. We missed the stop and had to walk back to find the art gallery. I'm pretty sure it was just as far walking back as it would have been to walk there in the first place. I may not have to work out in the mornings much longer.