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Friday, August 27, 2021

Ending Our EuroExcursion With A Week In London

The queen lives here. 
People sit out front all the time.

This last week has gone by in an eye blink. Last Sunday we blazed into town on the Eurostar and tomorrow we head home the same way - back to Paris to catch our flight home.  We met up with Steph Green - a former student from 30 years ago - but that is a separate story. We went to a play called - Be More Chill. We stayed in 2 hotels. We started our in a Marriot Residence Inn - the first 3 days - but decided we would rather be back in our old neighborhood - Bloomsbury - so the last 3 nights are in a Hilton Doubletree here. 

We rode a lot of buses - subways - cabs. We ate a lot of pub food - and had a few drinks. We shopped for groceries and took it home to prepare. We bought a lot of nice ready to eat food at Waitrose and other markets. 

Weather has been fantastic during our entire Europe trip. We had mostly 60s and 70s - very little rain and wonderful breezes. South of France was hot and dry. The mistrel winds coming down the Rhone River dried out my nose. 

I can tell Lulu misses teaching her classes here. We were here 10 summers while she taught courses - not only visiting London for free - but being paid. Getting to share the knowledge with the students made it special. Lulu has one professor friend that has taught a course here for 30 years. Her class is usually the one to fill up first. 

We visited Charles Dickens' home. It has been perfectly restored - all 5 floors. You are able to go in the attic - basement - and floors in between. Dickens wrote many of his important books here. I often considered writing a story comparing Paris and London - little did I know that Dickens' - A Tale of Two Cities - is just that - a comparison of these two wonderful cities. 

The covid situation is a story within our story. First - we had to have a covid test and proof of vaccine to go to France in June. Then we had to get a covid passport in France to get into many shops and attractions there. To go to England on the train - we had to show our covid card - take a covid test - and then sign up to take another covid test 2 days after we got in England - send it in - and get results. To go back to Paris - we can just show our covid passport. In Paris - we must pass another covid test - to get back into the USA. The covid test in America was free - in France it was $25 - in England it was $75. Now another $25 one in Paris. Confusing yes - but it is part of our story. 

It is really nice seeing London as a bit of a ghost town. But you realize how much these businesses are hurting - also the people. Don't get me wrong - they really appreciate us coming to visit. If you want to come and see the sights of London - this is a good time. You will see that lots of my pictures have no people. I did not plan it that way. 

THE STREETCAT NAMED BOB - this is a favorite movie of Lulu's. It is the story of a street musician who befriends a stray cat - names Bob. It is a true story. The cat became very famous - and all the people loved to touch him and watch him entertain. He really attracted the spare change into the hat. If you are a cat person - it is on cable - please watch it. In London - the street music scene is big stuff. You may recall - one time- Rod Stewart performed for us on the street. 

I am sure it was tough on Lulu teaching her first class of the semester for FSU at 11 pm to 3 am. The students got a kick out of - LONDON CALLING - for their first class. 

On to the next adventure. After 60 days over here - we get the enjoy of settling back in to another school year - and our home in Tallahassee. 

Our train to London and back -
is effortless. You can arrive late - 
carry your bag - walk in. 

Eurostar goes through a 30 mile long 
tunnel at 150 mph

First flight in England occurred at Farnborough

They were nice and postponed 
the Tube strike for us

Cereal at the American store

Penn State pretzels are here 10 years

They do not like this guy

American store


Simon's favorite tea

I love these plug in black cabs

Hydrogen powered bus

Duke of York pub

Versace store

Lulu loves shopping galaries

Guard the queen

Buckingham Palace

Westminster Abbey -
Dickens buried here

Do you remember The White Swan
in Tamaqua

Leicester Square tickets - 
look at tree

Mary Poppin

Tower Bridge

Tower of London Castle

Bus driver in sealed booth

V-2 Rocket terrorized London

Japanese Suicide bomb

Imperial War Museum - free

Imperial War Museum - 
by our first hotel

They mailed us covid tests -
we had to test ourselves - $75

My favorite - fresh yellow custard

Lulu mailing in our covid tests

Our second hotel in Bloomsbury

British Museum was very empty

Rosetta Stone 


Seminole Indian coat -
in British Museum

Our friend Sandi's favorite eatery 

Dickens' dining room

Dickens' basement kitchen

Dickens' living room

Office where Dickens wrote

Dickens bedroom

Art at Dickens' house

Dickens on money happiness

5 stories all restored

Looks like Dickens liked sports cars

We saw this play. The crowd loved it.
It was not aimed at gray heads.

This is the Cuba Embassy

We like this pub - good food - 
right across from 
British Museum

Empty cabs sitting in front of 
British Museum

Lulu loves the Streetcat Name Bob story

I was surprised how important it 
was to her.

Memorial to Bob

We had a drink there today.

Statues have sound -
just use your phone

They were changing exhibits

A little wilderness in London

People in London think - 
the difference between a rich American 
and a poor American is - 
the poor American washes his own