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Published: April 17th 2019
Today seems so very long. We boarded our plane and took off at 7:30 last night. Dinner was served at 9:30 and then we tried to sleep. I really don't sleep well on a plane. I cover my eyes, use noise cancelling headphones and still just don't sleep. I did get about 3 hours of sleep. Because of the time change breakfast was served at about 2:00 am (7:00 am in London). This threw us off just a little. We landed at 8:30 (London time) which was 3:30 West Virginia time There's a 5 hour time difference. We were happy to get off the plane and walk a little. We walked right to customs and stood in line for the next two hours. It was so easy to get from the airport to our hotel. We weren't supposed to be able to check in until 3:00 but we were so fortunate that our room was ready. We couldn't wait to get out of those clothes, shower, don clean clothes and take off exploring!
We purchased a London Pass and the hop on hop off bus pass so that we had easy access around the city. London is set up in
communities named by the surrounding tube and rail stations. We are staying in Paddington (like the bear). Our hotel is really a bed and breakfast called the Balmoral House. It is a renovated Victorian House with many additions. Our room is near the garden and is so cute and quaint, not to mention small. However, the beds are very, very comfortable. The young man at the front desk seems to be a jack of all trades. He is a young Italian who would love to live in the United States. He was quick to make recommendations for things to see and do as well as where to eat!
There are many restaurants and shops all around us. Our first order of business was to find good fish and chips (French fries). We went around the corner to a place called Mickey's. We got a piece of fish, French fries, and a soft drink for 6.95! Sounds like a great bargain but remember the currency exchange is higher here so the American dollar doesn't go so far. We have to add 30% onto the price of everything. So the fish and chips were $9.00. Still a great value for what
we got but not the 6.95 we thought!
Just around the corner was a sign for a hospital. It was St. Mary's Hospital! We were excited as it seemed like a piece of home followed us here. The interesting thing about this is that is the hospital of the Royals...both Prince William and Prince Harry were born there. Also the latest royal baby is scheduled to be born there in the next few days or weeks. We all thought we could just go hang out at the hospital in the event that Meghan Markle showed up we'd be there to greet her!
We boarded our bus and took one of the loops around the city. One thing I like about the hop on hop off busses is that they give you earphones and let you listen to a live guide or a recording that tells about the important sites as you pass them. You also can stop, get off the bus and visit the site if you want. It was such a pretty day that we took the blue loop around the city and got off at a few stops. One was Harrod's, the big department store in
the city. It reminded me of Macy's in New York. It was established in 1834 as a wholesale grocery store. It burned down in 1883 but was quickly rebuilt and expanded. It is one of the most exclusive stores in the world and sells big ticket merchandise. It was packed! One of Harrod's claim to fame is the world's first escalator was installed there in 1898. The thing that impressed us the most at Harrod's was the bathrooms! WOW! Check out the pictures!
We drove by Hyde Park and Kensington Palace (home of the royals William and Kate), Notting HIll and Baker Street. We saw beautiful buildings, hot cars, black taxis and one purple one! We walked and rode and we were worn out. We had an early dinner, got showered and are ready for bed. Early day tomorrow for the London Eye, River Thames and the West End for Mamma Mia!
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