The upside of this “job” is that I don’t have any set vacation time, so I can travel whenever I want. The downside of this job is, well, that I can travel whenever I want. Especially as I seem to have a severe wanderlust problem.
In October, I stumbled upon a discount airline offering $350 round trip tickets to London, which just seemed like way too good of a deal to pass up. Dan was preparing for trial and couldn’t take the time off, so I convinced some friends to come with us and take the kids out of school for a few days (I know, I know, I’m a horrible parent, school is important, etc. etc.).
Unfortunately, a few weeks before our trip, the airline went bankrupt (there’s a lesson here, but I’m choosing to ignore it). Luckily, we still found cheap flights (though not as cheap as previously) through WOW Air.
In law school, I spent a semester in London studying abroad. And I fell in love. This was my first trip back. And it was as amazing as I hoped it would be. I wish we could visit all the time.
Day 1 - After flying through the night, we arrive in London and go straight to the pub for a traditional English breakfast (not photographed, as I was exhausted). After our food comas kick in, we sleep the day away (despite trying to power through). At night, we hook the kids up with some pizza at the hotel, while us adults attend “Nate” at the SOHO theater, which was all sorts of crazy and impossible to explain.
Day 2 - For years (okay, so maybe months), Trout has wanted to see the Tower of London. So we spent the morning behind its walls, first with a tour through London Walks (love them!!) and then exploring on our own. Since we had a lot of people - 5 adults and 7 kids - and since we were having so much fun, we ended up staying all day.
We ended the night with dinner at NOPI, which has been on my bucket list for years now.
Day 3 - I'm a huge fan of the Turner Prize, so we spent the morning at the Tate Britain checking out this year’s entries (which were all really odd and depressing). Afterwards, we had an amazing lunch in SOHO (we ate really well this trip) and spent some time shopping, as I tried to teach my children about exchange rates and how everything was still cheaper in the US.
After two nights of fun, the kids and I were pretty exhausted. So we spent the evening at our hotel - ordering room service, watching James Bond, and discussing Brexit which was all sorts of awesome in a different way.
Day 4 - When you travel to London with 7 kids, you need to plan for some touristy stuff. So we spent the morning on another London Walks tour, watching the changing of the guard (my first time seeing it). The whole thing was cheesy in the best way (i.e. the kids were enthralled) and the surrounding parks were crazy beautiful.
For a vacation grand finale, we went to Wicked (our first time), which was much cheaper in London than in the States. And it was crazy good (now I get what all the fuss is about).
Day 5 - One of the quirks of flying WOW Air is that all flights layover in Iceland. The upside being that you can “stayover” at no additional cost. So, while the rest of our party continued on to DC, my kids and I spent one night in Reykjavik and booked a Northern Lights tour.
Unfortunately, we arrived to 50 mile an hour winds and crazy rain (i.e. the tour was canceled) and the whole night became a soaked to the bone scavenger hunt as we searched for our airbnb in a rental car. Oh well, at least the apartment was gorgeous and dinner was great, albeit expensive. And the morning was beautiful.
Maybe we’ll have better luck next stayover (though, as of now, my kids say they’ll never go back to Iceland. Which is especially sad as Dan and I visited 13 years ago and he also never wants to return).
All in all a fabulous (albeit quick) vacation.
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Darcy Troutman Photography is a Northern VA/Washington DC/Maryland documentary-style family photographer, who believes in capturing real moments. Interested in learning more? Please click here to sign up for my newsletter or schedule a session.