So at this point you’ve heard about almost everything. Except day fieeeeeeve and the trip home. Aren’t you excited?
After cramming a ridiculous amount of sightseeing, culture, shopping, walking, tubing and food into the first four days, on the day before we left, we took it easy. Kind of.
We dropped Alistair off at his day camp and headed for the O2, which, if you’ve never heard of it, is a ginormous arena with a bunch of restaurants and everything in the world inside of it. Almost.
It’s where we went to see the Titanic exhibit, which I was pretty excited about because I’d wanted to see it when it stopped in Louisville, but missed out. Plus, ya know, I did see the movie four times.
Why? One word: Leo.
The exhibit – a traveling one – tells stories of several of the passengers as well as puts on display everything they’ve brought up from the wreckage at the bottom of the ocean. It’s amazing how much some of that stuff is still intact. There was a shelf of plates where the shelf had disintegrated but the plates were still there, perfectly lined up where they landed.
When you start to go through the exhibit you’re given a boarding pass. It has the name of a passenger on it and some information about them and at the end you find out if you lived or not. Lovely.
I was a first-class lady (naturally) who was coming home from visiting family in Paris. And apparently, I had been warned by a fortune teller not long before I got on the boat to “stay away from water.” WOOPS.
Ashley was a second-class lady who was a model and a mistress. Scandalous!
The others we were with – Matthew’s friend Penny, her son Ethan (who I taught to say hamburger like an American) and Penny’s dad Wolfgang (honest-to-God, and he is Scottish) – were various passengers with similar stories. I think Ethan was a second-classer too.
Matthew, however, was a bigshot. He was Ismay, the owner of the White Star Line, the company who owned the ship. If you saw the movie, he’s the skeeze who jumps in a boat with a bunch of women and children like a chicken and one of the crew members sees him but lets him go.
About halfway through the exhibit is part of an iceberg, supposedly. Or, a big chunk of ice that they’ve cooled to the temperature it was that night.
It was so cold it burned, if that makes any sense. I kept my hand on it for approximately five seconds. Had I really been on the ship and ended up in the water, my weak-threshold-for-pain ass would have died quickly.
We get to the end and wouldn’t you know it, we all died. Except Matthew. Sad.
We consoled ourselves – well I did anyway – by trying to teach Ethan how to say words like we do, but not before he showed us his “American rap skills.” I don’t remember all of what he said, but it was something like, “And where my bitchez at?”
He’s 13. Go America.
Keeping with the theme of the day, we took our own boat ride after a quick lunch. We took the boat down the Thames – pronounced Temms, like PIMM’S. WHAT?? – to a tube stop closer to home.
From there it was time to figure out a way to re-pack all of our stuff, plus souvenirs, without going over the 50-pound weight limit allowed before you have to pay extra. That was fun.
That night, we found out, we were headed to a dinner party in Chelsea, with Roma and her family and Matthew, Alistair and Allyson of course. The dinner was at their friend Sally’s, who is the first person all week to give us the European kiss-on-each-cheek thing.
The food was delicious, and there was wine and champagne a-plenty. Also part of the dinner party? A discussion on how Ashley and I were the No. 1 guests who’ve stayed with Matthew and Allyson.
Yep. We’re awesome like that.
You see, Allyson had made a list of the things we needed to do as soon as we got there. We’d accomplished everything on it, and then some – for example, hang out with an old Scottish man.
I’ve told her to frame it. And hold everyone that visits after us to the high standard that we’ve set. It’ll be hard to match…much less to beat.
Dinner was delicious, of course, and that’s the night we had the Gu cake that I would possibly marry if it wouldn’t be weird. It was that good.
Oh and before we left, we made sure we took some pictures – well, Sally’s son Seb took some – and then we got some of our family.
And we couldn’t resist a last-minute run up the stairs to get a quick picture of Sally’s bedroom. Why? Because, according to her, at some point, Charles Dickens had had sex in the house where we’d just had dinner. In what’s now her bedroom. Yay history!
I didn’t want to go to bed that night because it meant it was over. And we in no way wanted it to be over, therefore we decided we’re going back. ASAP.