My cousin Matthew and his girlfriend Christina both moved to the UK this year to follow a masters programme. They have thus been living in York for the past two to three months. I have not gotten round to going up to meet them yet, but this past weekend they came down to London for a visit.
Having been delayed on the train down on Saturday morning, when they arrived they pretty much dumped their stuff at our house and went off. We couldn’t join for the morning as Michael had work to do (and I was lazy?) so we just gave them a map and sent them off. We then met up with them in the evening for dinner with them and another couple who I know too who are doing their masters here in London. We met on the Southbank and then stopped at the Doggett’s Coat and Badge for some food (and a lot of talking!).
On Sunday Michael and I opted to join them for the day. Having walked a lot on the Saturday, it was a slow start on the Sunday. However, once we got on our way we soon got busy enjoying London.
First up we stopped at Cafe Laville for a late breakfast. This is a cafe overlooking Regent’s Canal. We had seen it quite a number of times but never entered, so when Christina said she wanted to see the canals Michael immediately came up with this idea. The service here was not the best, but the views (above) more than make up for it!
Having fed ourselves we then made our way to little Venice and on to Paddington station along the canal. There we jumped on a tube to get to North Lambeth. Why? Well, Matthew had mentioned that he really wanted to visit the Imperial War Museum. As neither of us had been there previously, we agreed and off we went.
For some reason this museum was nowhere on my radar of things to do. However, once I got there I really appreciated it. The museum is split into a number of separate exhibits. This is ideal for someone like me with a short attention span as it allows you to see a section and then see how to proceed from there, rather than being overwhelmed from the start.
The first exhibit I saw was the Children at War exhibit. What really grabbed our attention there was records of death in the Commonwealth during the war. It was really exciting (if that is the word) at finding records from Malta, and of people with our surnames there. We also went to the ‘Secret War‘ exhibit, where the part I liked the most was the videos at the end of this small exhibition showing how SAS has dealt with two situations. We also went down to the smelly trench, though didn’t look at the WWI and WWII exhibits close by.
The most overwhelming exhibition though was definitely the Holocaust Exhibition. This was a two-floor section of the museum taking you through from the beginning, including the political situation allowing for something like this to happen, to the end, and its impact on the people involved. I appreciated the videos telling the story from different points of view. However, what I appreciated the most was probably the silence with which people walked through the exhibition. The museum is a must-do, even if only for this part!
Following the museum, we then walked to the Southbank to Tower Bridge to take some photos. By now it was getting late, so we jumped onto a tube home, grabbed some dinner at Spice 6, then went home, they packed and off to York they returned. Thanks guys for coming down…we really have to come visit you in spring!