Saturday, October 19, 2013

Celebrating Eid in London!

September and October have been crazy busy!  I am way behind on blogging.  I still have not finished my visit to Salalah!  But, I am going to start now with what we did last week.

My kids started this school year right in the middle of Labor Day Weekend.  But I was not upset.  I knew they would get a week off of school in October for Eid.  So, what is Eid?  There are actually two Eid holidays, and this one is Eid al-Adha.  It is an important holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide to honor the willingness of prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his firstborn son Ismail (Ishmael) as an act of submission to God's command.  But of course God intervened and provided Abraham a lamb to sacrifice instead.  Muslims celebrate by gathering with friends and family, meals, wearing new clothes, and giving gifts.  Some also sacrifice an animal in the name of God.  (Wikepedia) This account is found in the Quran.  (There is a similar story in Genesis 22, although not quite the same.)

We knew the kids had a week off, so we just needed to decide on a place to go.  Why London?  It is a direct flight from Muscat, which is unusual, and only 8 hours away.  

Here are our wonderful London hosts, Mike and Rachel.  They made us a fabulous traditional English breakfast our first morning.

Our first stop was Trafalgar Square.  Big Ben to the right of Savannah.

This is the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square.  The original statue planned was never completed, due to insufficient funds.  Now it displays temporary works.  This blue cockerel is supposed to symbolize regeneration, awakening, and strength.  Hm, if they say so.  :)

Getting ready for a tour of London on a double-decker bus.

It poured the whole time, but I kind of like these views of London.

Savannah was so excited to visit Madame Tussaud's.

We got tickets to a show on our first night.  There were so many good choices, but Savannah picked Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  It was a great choice!

We were on our way to the London Eye.  This was on Saturday, and we had the best weather of the week.  The lines were long, but the wait wasn't too bad.  Good thing about October is that most places were not as crowded (except the Sherlock Holmes pub).

I enjoyed looking at some fall color as we waited.  I was just saying, that I was looking forward to cooler weather and that I missed fall.  I can tell you, it felt and looked like fall all week.  A bonus!

One of the views from the London Eye

The houses of Parliament, Big Ben, and Westminster Abby

The London Eye is made up of these pods.  Each pod can hold around 20 people.  The whole trip takes about 30 minutes.

Back on the ground and headed to Westminster Abby.

Westminster Abby

I know, you are not supposed to take pictures inside the church.  But, I couldn't resist getting a picture of Savannah at the same spot where Kate Middleton walked down the aisle to her prince!

We tried to eat here, at the Sherlock Holmes pub, but the wait was too long.  You would have thought the Holmes family could get a table, but no.

We saw Platform 9 3/4 at King's Cross train station!

The Tower of London

Bob, the Beefeater

A small changing of the guard.  But still cool.

This gun was last fired at Mirbat, Oman!  Mirbat is located close to Thumrait, where USG's quarry is located.

Tower Bridge

This picture was taken the next day, as we took a Thames River cruise down to Greenwich.

The tourist center in Greenwich had some neat displays, including this jousting helmet and gauntlet.

It was quite a hike to the Royal Greenwich Observatory.  But amazing views!

Austin is standing at the line of 0 degrees longitude, with a foot in each hemisphere.

This evening's choice of entertainment, STOMP.  The kids really enjoyed it.

After three days of the city, we went to Hampton Court.  Wonderful!

This was Henry VIII's banquet hall.  Amazing!  The chapel was very beautiful, too, but no pictures allowed.  I followed the rules this time.  ;)

Just one of the gardens!

This was not even the main gate.

After Hampton Court, we went to see Stonehenge!  We were on the fence about making the trip out to see it, but Austin really wanted to.  It was a pleasant drive in the country, especially after the days in the city.  

I was expecting large crowds, but there were only two tour buses.  I was told that there can be up to 35 busloads of visitors at one time!

Peek a boo!

Those clouds threatened all day, but we stayed dry.  

This wraps up four amazing days in London.  I think this is my longest blog post to date.  You should have seen all the pictures I edited out!  There were so many things we did not have the time to see, but hopefully this won't be our last London visit. The next day we boarded the Eurostar train to Paris!


  1. Wow! You guys packed a lot into your tour. Brought back lots of memories!

  2. Beautiful pictures. And you continue to look younger all the time.