Wednesday, June 19, 2013

June 19, 2013 -Day 79 – London, England – Two weeks to go in our Grand Adventure

Changing of the Guard - Buckingham Palace


Changing of the Guard at the Tower of London
 - Complete with Beefeater
British Museum
June 19, 2013 -Day 79 – London, England – Two weeks to go in our Grand Adventure
Signs for Queen's Jubilee
Big Ben
June 19, 2013 -Day 79 – London, England – Two weeks to go in our Grand Adventure

It was inevitable that one of us would get sick on our journey.  Bill got shingles at the end of our Hawaii trip.  I’ve been fighting what I assume is bronchitis for about ten days now so I guess it was my turn.  It appears to be getting better.  Our last week in Berlin was not the best because I spent most of my time on the couch in the apartment.  But we trudged on and arrived in London, England, last Friday, June 14.  The trip went well but we had forgotten that we were leaving the major part of the EU and had to stand in line for about an hour to get our passports checked.  When we emerged from the passport line, we discovered that Bill’s suitcase was among the missing.  There was a similar suitcase going round and round on the luggage carousel, so we assume that someone picked it up by accident.  The bad part was that all Bill’s meds were in the suitcase.  We decided that we would wait to see if the suitcase turned up and then decide what to do next.  Sure enough – the suitcase arrived by early evening and all was well.  This is the third time that our luggage has been lost in our travels and each time, it turned up by the next day. 

The next day was cold and rainy in London, but we got tickets on a hop-on, hop-off bus that included a cruise on the Thames.  We discovered that London was celebrating the Queen’s birthday (actually the birthday was in April) and the Queen was in town to review the horse guard and troops.  We saw the horse guard on the street and decided to get off the bus to see if we could get close to the festivities.  We failed miserably and spent a lot of time in the rain trying to find the next stop for the hop-on bus.  So our first full day in London was not our best, but our second day was great.  We got back on the hop-on and took it to the Thames where we cruised to the Tower of London.  We were totally entertained by the Beefeaters Tour in the Tower and then got in line to see the Crown Jewels.  On the way back, we found a nice oriental restaurant that specialized in Dim Sum that was delicious, and they gave us a 10 pound certificate for Father’s Day on our next visit.  We went back the next night and had a really nice second dinner.  We went to the British Museum on Monday, but didn’t stay long because I was really not feeling up to par.  But we found a great British pub for lunch. 

Yesterday, we went to Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guard.  Couldn’t get close enough to see very much, but the band, the horses, and guardsmen came close to us on their way out and that was enough to see.  Then we went to Westminster Abbey – what an amazing place.  Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed inside.  I have always been interested in British History and it was a thrill to see the tombs of Elizabeth I, Mary I, and Mary Queen of Scots, etc., etc. etc.   Today we are going to see Wicked on the London stage.  My bronchitis has been acting up, so we are staying in our hotel room until it’s time to go to dinner and the show.  It feels good to relax.  I really like London, and it’s nice to be able to watch TV in English.  Our hotel is very cool -The Luna and Simone Hotel – one of our favorites.  It’s in a great location between Pimlico and Victoria Stations with a bus right out front and lots of great restaurants.  It’s owned and managed by identical twin brothers who are very funny gentlemen.  The staff has gone out of their way to accommodate any thing we have asked for, and they give us great directions every morning when we set out. 

One of the things that we have discovered is that while seeing the sights is nice, it’s the culture, the atmosphere, the people, and the food that excite us the most about traveling.  We can always visit another museum or look at another building, but the ambience of the experience is what makes traveling worthwhile. Obviously, this blog will have to be finished when we get back to the states, but that’s o.k.  We are sadly counting down the time until we get back.  We are very glad that we did this in spite of the occasional struggles and would do it again if we had the chance. 

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