Saturday, February 21


We split London yesterday afternoon for Whitstable in Northeast Kent or Southeast England. The drive should take less than 2 hours but since we are on the M25 there is traffic and so forever. We are in Whitstabel because last Sunday's NYT's Travel Section did a profile on the town and so I thought - why not? The town is known as the "Pearl of Kent" and famous for its oysters, which have been collected since at least the Romans. The town itself dates back to before the writing of the Doomsday Book, which is pretty cool and connects us to Chichester. I am told after a decline, the oyster fishery industry now thrives. And on to oysters: last night Eitan and Madeleine try their first. Says Eitan: "a bit awkward but I guess OK." He does not venture a second. Madeleine seems to love them - "it tastes like the sea, dad!" We stay at the Hotel Continental which overlooks the water and indeed the oysters are some of the best I have ever had. A nice warm up for sure. Feeling very Bri-tu-ish.

This morning kids up 6AM - pow! -and we are beach-combing by seven. Both fill a pale-full with white shells which are later deposited at the front desk. The receptionist smiles at her own childhood memories, I imagine - she enjoys the kids enthusiasm anyways. We then stroll a few hundred years to the local pool - nice and clean, thankfully - where Eitan swims 32 laps of the 25 meters. His crawl is coming along and the easier he goes the faster, which is the big secret of swimming and most things in life. Madeleine and I play "jaws of death" and then guess-the-fish, a game she invents where I have to guess the... fish. Or crustacean. This allows for a fun goof as I toss every under-water sea creature I can think of in her direction, to her frustration. But sometimes it works: Madeleine's interpretation of a jelly-fish with feet and arms dangling I guess first try. Brils. I remember vaguely doing this with my mom at Strawberry Canyon or some other place. We discover a nearby bowling rink and believe you me we are are going back.