1. There is never enough time in a museum for Cooper. He could spend a week at the Imperial War Museum, another at the British Museum, another at the Louvre, another wandering the Tower of London -- and that still wouldn't be enough. He loves to read all the placards, watch all the videos, listen to all the recordings.
Cooper and Katie get as close as possible to the Rosetta Stone at the British Museum -- one of the highlights of the trip for Cooper. (I admit that when I was 9, I had no concept of the Rosetta Stone, its importance or its location.)
2. Katie likes to skim museum exhibits. She soaks in a few details, commits them to memory and then moves on. But a museum gift shop? She could spend a full day in each one.
Katie enjoys touring Shakespeare's Globe (a reproduction of the original theater) -- and this smile is before we hit the gift shop.
3. Cooper knows more about Greek and Roman mythology than I realized. He regaled us with stories as we walked among statues in the Louvre.
4. Pear sorbet with dark chocolate chips is delicious.
This flavor was one of many signs throughout London that a royal wedding is just weeks away.
5. It's not enough to know at which intersection a London bus will stop. You need to know EXACTLY where, as there are probably 10 stops at every intersection -- and "intersection" is loosely defined as a three-block area.
We spent about 30 minutes searching Trafalgar Square for the correct corner to catch this tour bus.
6. Katie is frightened of fruits in foreign lands. I explained multiple times that the bananas in London come from the same fields as the bananas in Frisco, Texas. I had better luck with pineapple. She is not frightened of desserts in foreign lands.
Katie prepares to dive into chocolate mousse in a Parisian cafe.
7. Nothing can quell Katie's love for George Washington. (She long ago declared her love for the first president and her wish to marry him.) Cooper and I were excited to find this tribute to Abraham Lincoln near Westminster Abbey. "Well, he's not George Washington," Katie said.
8. No matter where we are, Cooper and Katie always make me laugh.
In the tiny museum at Westminster Abbey, there's a tiny sign that indicates children can dress as monks. We asked, and a nice docent unlocked a tiny closet and helped Cooper and Katie with all the layers. Cooper refused to smile for photos -- he was in character. Katie couldn't stop giggling -- perfectly matched to her own character.
9. No matter where we are, I miss Steve a little more each day. I love him a little more each day. I see so much of him in our children -- a great salve for my broken heart.
Uncle Jim helped me, Cooper and Katie re-create the Eiffel Tower photo of Steve and me in autumn 1999.