Day 5: English Countryside
Finally, we were able to head out to Surrey and visit our good friends Esther and Luke. We grabbed a train out of Waterloo and headed to Farnham, where Esther and her daughters Floreana & Sienna met us at the park. The girls got to play, while Staci and I got a chance to hold Sienna! After playtime, we took a stroll through the village and grabbed a lovely afternoon tea outside at the hotel. After tea, we walked over to the Waitrose to grab the ingredients needed for dinner. On the way, we saw a Waterstone’s bookstore and I suggested that Abby and I pop in. I wanted to see if she would be interested in buying a copy of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’, to go with her copy of ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ (in paperback and Kindle!). She was TOTALLY excited and read the whole thing again while were there. (She later pointed out to me that there was no difference except the title- but she liked that she had both versions on her bookshelf).
After the Waitrose, Abby was able to realize her dream of riding in the back ‘trunk’ of an SUV, as we were a bit tight on seating and it was only a short drive to Esther & Luke’s house. We had a great time hanging out and Esther surprised us with a recommendation to take the kids and head to the local pub. Why? The new owners built a garden with a play set and grass for children to play while the adults could have a drink or some food. It was great- we walked right up and the girls were able to play around while we had a pint! Afterwards, Esther and Abby walked Sienna home in the stroller while I got the chance to walk with Floreana. She is totally awesome and kept telling me the whole time (while walking and holding my hand) not to worry, since she knew where she lived. Too precious!
Luke made it home from work and we sat down to a home cooked dinner- a nice treat on holiday. The little ones went to bed and we settled in to watch a bit of the Opening Ceremony. By far, the funniest line of the trip was made by Luke during the ‘greenery’ scenes, when he pointed out the similarity to the Shire! (Tolkien reference, FTW) We decided to catch a train out a bit earlier to see if we could make it back to the flat in time for the Parade of Athletes. While in the car, we heard the BBC talk about a marching bad playing at one of the Opening Ceremony public viewing spaces. It was the University of Florida Marching Gators! At least we were able to figure out where they would be playing. We said our farewells and started our trip back to London. I decided to fire up the Mifi and attach my iPod Touch. Lo and behold, there was enough bandwidth to continue to watch the Opening Ceremony during the hour long train ride. Totally worth it! And yup, we managed to make it home in time to see Afghanistan walk across. Apparently, we were extra lucky to be in London to see the non-NBC/Matt Lauer version, too!
The ladies decided to head off to bed before seeing the US, since we had our first events tomorrow. I decided that I would tough it out, finish the ceremony and then collapse in bed! Our Olympic adventures were to kick off in earnest in just a few hours.