My kids and I just got back from a last-minute 5-day visit with friends in London. We initially went because a childhood friend of mine was visiting family in England. I hadn't seen her in 12 years and it was great to catch up a little! But I've also got some good friends, Becky and Claire, who live in London (one block apart from each other), so I decided to hang out with them for a few days and make a little holiday of it.
Becky tried to give me directions for how to get to Claire's house in Peckham from the British Museum by bus, but apparently I didn't understand exactly where to get off. We reached the area near her house and I recognized it from previous visits, but thought that the bus would soon get us even closer to our destination. So we stayed on the bus.
Alas, we should have gotten off the bus when I knew where we were. By staying on longer, we not only got farther away from Claire's, but I also ended up lost since I didn't have a map! We got off the bus and by looking at road signs, I started walking with the kids in the general direction of Peckham. We walked and walked and walked.
The kids were slightly worried because their own mom didn't know where they were or where they were going. It didn't help that we were exhausted from a long day out, having left Oxford at 8:30 AM, and tramped around London all day. It was now 8 PM and we hadn't had dinner yet, and didn't know when we'd arrive at Claire's.
When I saw a little shop that was still open, I popped inside to ask if they had a map. They didn't, nor did the next shopkeeper I asked. Finally, after 30 minutes of walking, we came to a police station that had a local map posted outside. I found where we were and where we were going -- and the quickest route there! We all cheered up, knowing we'd get to Claire's in the next 30 minutes or so.
We arrived around 9, ate dinner a little later, and I got the kids in bed at about 10:00. A comfy bed never felt better! My friends told me later that it was probably a good lesson for my kids -- to watch an adult be lost, persevere, and figure out how to get there in the end. It was also an inspiration to me to buy my own detailed map of London!