Final days in England
20.08.2010 - 21.08.2010 64 °F
We made it back home so I'll try to re-create a brief summary of the last 2 full days we had in Brighton before heading home. I'll mainly have to defer you to the pictures though, since I was at my meeting most of the day on both days but here goes what I can recall based on bits and spurts from the kids and my Mom.
I had a 7am breakfast meeting so I was out the door before anyone really woke up. I stopped back by the hotel after a few hours of meetings around 10:00am and the three of them were just finishing up their breakfast in the hotel. I said good morning and good-bye and headed back to my meeting (the conference hotel was about a 10-minute walk from where we were staying) for the rest of the day.
From what I gathered, the trio I left behind got organized and then headed to the Sea Life aquarium which was just a short walk down the street. They had lots of fun (and can you believe that was the first time my Mom had ever been to an aquarium!). The big hit was a glass-bottom boat - great white sharks (real, live ones) swam around and underneath them - and the favorite - Lulu the sea turtle followed underneath the boat and beside them. Evidently she was huge ("She was as big as the table, Mommy"). They saw lots of neat things at the aquarium. After that they strolled around the Lanes and walked around in the neat neighborhood behind our hotel. They found a bakery that had gluten-free macaroons and Elaina thought they were ok (the inside was better than the crunchy outside). They got back to the hotel around 3:00 and had lunch there. Elaina had a triple-decker gluten-free grilled cheese sandwich and Allan Michael had a bacon cheeseburger that he really loved.
After that I think they just rested and chilled in the room until I got back around 6:30pm. My friend from Finaland, Maarit came over and we went out for dinner about 7pm. I asked for a recommendation from the hotel for a good restaurant with gluten-free options and they suggested Donnatello's. An Italian restaurant about 5 minutes away. We took off and at first thought it was quite a small place but then they took us to our table and we kept going up to different floors. I think there were 4 floors in all and outside dining as well. It was a very large and very busy place. The food was very good and they did have gluten-free rigatoni. Elaina, unfortunately didn't love it but I tasted it and it was good (I think she wasn't very hungry and was too tired to enjoy it all). They had gluten-free ice cream as well. The rest of our dinners were really good. Maarit presented the kids with the original Mooman book (famous characters in Finland and who now have a movie out- at her last visit to the US she gave Elaina a stuffed Mooman which she has been sleeping with every night so the book was a big hit).
We got back to the hotel pretty late and went to sleep after giving Mamie and Pappy a call (and to check on Aunt Meghan).
On Saturday, I woke up in a rush because I had to be at the meeting at 8:00 and I had to give an oral presentation at the session that started at 8:30 and be a moderator (chair) the session starting at 10:30 so had lots going on. Again I got up and headed out to my meeting while everyone else was still in bed (Mom got up just before I left though). I made it in time and got through my presentation and chairing of the sessions and then the kids and Mom met me at my conference hotel for a little while. They had been out walking around (it was drizzly and cooler but was the only day we were there that we really had any rain). They went to a museum (that Elaina said was boring) and visited with me while I ate lunch (they weren't hungry since they didn't finish breakfast until 10am). They left again and I went back to my meetings. They walked around and went back to the pier where the kids one some prizes from the coin machines (those things we had seen on the first day in Brighton where you put in a coin and it drops and occasionally something comes out but usually not).
They walked around some more and I met them back in the room about 4:30. Mom and I packed up everything as best we could and I took the kids back down to the hotel swimming pool for a while before we all got dressed for the evening closing reception.
We decided to feed the kids first in case they didn't like the food at the reception so after eating in the hotel again, we all headed out to the Corn Exchange where my closing banquet was being held. There was probably 500-600 people there but it wasn't too crowded. Lots of space to spread out and a really good band that did ABBA. They dressed like them and sang like them and were really good entertainers. The food there was actually really good. The kids were on the dance floor with Mom and me. Allan Michael kind of stood there but Elaina was dancing about. They met several of my colleagues and were very talkative. I mentioned there were probably 500 people there - they were the only kids under 13 that I saw there....so they got a lot of comments.
Finally about 11:00 we decided we should leave and get some rest before the next day.
See next post for the last entry about the travel home.
I'm going to try and post the pictures before crashing tonight.