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November 22, 2018

Day one in London. 
Train and subway to the hotel then subway and a walk to Abbey Road and the Beetles. Then back to hotel. 
The recording studio is small and is not open to the public. The store with a lot of Beetles stuff is open though. The road crossing on an album cover was busy with cars and trucks having to stop for those wanting a photo.
The hotel is old. The rooms are small. Imagine taking a 8 by 8 foot space and dividing it up for a bedroom and bathroom. The bathroom is two feet wide. It has a two foot by two foot shower, a pedestal sink and a toilet. I am 20 inches wide, so I almost touch each wall. But it is serviceable. 
The power is 220 so I have a converter. The converter needs an adapter to plug in to the wall socket. Then I needed an adapter to go from two prong to three, so it takes three things to get my six items plugged in. I still have a seventh, but that is ok. 
The outlet in the bathroom is hidden so I used an extension chord to run my water pic.
I had my battery out of my Nikon and was charging it at home. That battery is still there so I will not be getting any good pictures, I do have two phones and my Kindle so I am not out of luck.
I still am an admirer of the trains and subway. Just swipe your Oyster card and away you go. The system was built a hundred years ago and thus was not built for the handicapped. Lots of steps to get from one track to the next. Only one change needed to get to the hotel though. A set of steps to get up to a platform above the train, then back down to the next train. If you have several heavy bags it is a challenge. The subway is many stories under ground. Thankfully many escalators are employed, but there are many stairs as well. Being in good shape helps a lot.
There are a lot of shops and restaurants by the hotel. We ate at an Italian restaurant run by Russians. I bought oranges and grapes for snacks from vendors on the sidewalks. The grapes are not seedless, but the oranges were.
The Internet is slow but it works. 
Not much sleep last night on the plane so will be trying to catch up.

Abbey Road with Eileen

Electronics in the hotel room

Day Two in London

1.     We went to the Alexander Fleming museum and had a private tour, it was amazing. Fleming left a petri dish out on the desk as he went on a 6 week holiday in 1929. Apparently a mold spore came in the open window and had landed on the dish before he put the cover on. The mold needed ambient temperature air to grow, and grow it did. The bacteria he had placed in the dish needed warmer temperature. During his vacation they had a heat wave that got the bacteria growing....except around the mold. The mold (penicillium notatum) was giving off a chemical that was killing the bacteria. 
It was not until 1930 that anyone took notice of his finding, and the rest is history, millions of lives have been saved by that chemical, penicillin!
2. We took the tube down to Tower Hill to the Tower of London and got to go with a group to go all over the castle, walked the ramparts. We saw the Crown Jewels. My ancestor Sir. William Herrick was the jeweler to the King in 1595. Unfortunately in 1615 there was a revolution and all of the King's jewels were ransacked, so there are none of his work left. We ate lunch at a hotel a few steps from the subway, quite nice.
3. We took the tube to Victoria Station and walked the half mile to the camera shop - I had left my battery and battery charger for my Nikon at home. They wanted $150 for the pair. I said forget it.
We ate at a Thai restaurant - I bit into a hot pepper, wow!! But a nice meal.
4. We went to the Apollo theater and saw Wicked!!! What an amazing show! I loved the story, I will not give it away, but if you have not seen it, it ROCKS! The tube entrance was just across the street and we were whisked back to a couple of blocks from the hotel.

London Tower

Eileen as a guard.

Day three.

We took a five mile hike. 
We covered Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square, Harry Potter, Downing Street, House of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral, Westminster City Hall, and Buckingham Palace.
We had lunch on the way and took the tube back to the hotel.

We went to a play tonight, Bury the Dead. An anti war play with actors playing American soldiers - the soldiers did not want to die and neither did their loved ones want them to. I thought it paradoxical in that we helped stop the Second World War when Germany was bombing the heck out of London! Did England not want our help back then?

Westminster Abbey

Day four in London, England

Eileen and I started out with a two mile hike down to 1) the Science Museum. Then a walk up and down three floors of exhibits including a 3D exhibit of a moon landing.
Then down to the 2) Natural History Museum, lions and tigers and bears, but a great exhibit of Neanderthals and Denisovans. Dinosaurs, and acres of exhibits.
Next the 3) Victoria and Albert Museum. The Victoria and Albert Museum in London is the world's largest museum of decorative 
arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 2.27 million objects. And we saw them all, NOT.
We hiked a half mile and hopped on the tube to get to the 4) Churchill war room. An amazing exhibit of the actual rooms and furniture Churchill ran the war from for SIX years!
Next off hiking to the 5) Florence Nightingale Museum, a small museum showing what she accomplished nursing the wounded in WWI. Her aristocratic parents did not want her to be a nurse because they worked in dirty horrible conditions, but she insisted.
Last we traversed over to the 6) London Eye. A great sight at night! Fish and chips for dinner in a fast food place there at the Eye.
A hike back by Big Ben to the tube and back to the hotel. 
Another file miles walking in all is my guess, we did not sit down much!
I had purchased a phone (a BLU) to take to Africa but did not use it there. As my good camera is without my battery, I have pressed the BLU into service. It works quite well - when we were in the Albert and Victoria Museum I was able to get on to their WiFi and get directions to the tube, I also am using it to take photos. It is great on battery lasting all day... and with an hour recharge it is back to 100%.

One of many skulls of primitive man.



It was COLD! In the 30ís at night 40ís day.



Day 5 in London
We took the Underground from Paddington to Leicester Square and went back to walk the rest of Chinatown. Everything here is "Oh it is just an eight minute (or five minute, or eighteen minute) walk.", then spent the rest of the morning in Covent Garden at the British Transportation Museum. There we learned the history of the Underground from the 1800's to today.
We hiked to visit and (have lunch with a friend we thought) at a very English pub. Roger Gray - my Facebook friend - bought us drinks and regaled us with stories for an hour and a half! 
Off we went to find the Bank of England to get some old money Eileen had turned in for the new bills. England had called in all of their paper tens and fives a number of years ago and issued plastic bills. No one could use the paper now, the only place the paper was of any value was the Bank of England at the Bank terminal. We stopped in a EAT. shop for lunch (a sandwich). We then went to the Tower Hill subway terminal where we stopped at our favorite spot the Citizen Hotel. I had a piece of cake for desert and promptly sat down and fell asleep! The wine and food and warmth got me! We were going to go to the Jack the Ripper museum but Roger Gray (and then our tour guide) said to not bother because it is pretty much all fabricated.
Off we went again to take the "Grim Reaper" Walking Tour of London and the Lower East Side. A two and a half hour walk around the London Tower where we learned about all the hangings, beheadings and Jack the Ripper. The walk took us to Old Spitalfields Market, and from there we walked to Brick Lane for Vegetable Curry, rice and Naan bread at the Masala Indian Restaurant.
Eileen guided me back to the Liverpool subway (I was lost) and back to the hotel. 
Another five mile walk for the day!

Old Spitalfields Market, it is cold out!

London Day 6

One amazing day. We went to The Society of Genealogists, a small archive. Next time in London I might chose to go to The National Archives, Kew though. I did move my mother's genealogy back two generations today however.
Off we went to Harrods. What a huge place! Fish and chips for lunch was 39 pounds (about $54). We wandered through part of 3 of the 8 floors (probably 25 acres under roof). We did not purchase anything. We then had lunch at the EAT. store. Had a 
nice sandwich/wrap and drink for under 6 pounds (about $7)
We came back to Leicester Square, Eileen wanted to purchase tickets for a play for our last night in London. Of all the plays here (and there are a LOT) I thought that Les Miserables sounded good. I had never seen it. 
We went back to the hotel and I had a nap.
Off we went to the Queen's Theater. We stopped a few feet short and had a wonderful Thai meal. The Thia Tho restaurant is upstairs there in Soho and had super great food,
Across the street to the theater. I did not know what to expect. I was bowled over. The play was SO good. I knew the songs, but now they make sense!! I cried several times. The sets were awesome, the players were great, and the lighting was masterful! If you have never seen it, it is highly recommended!!!



Day 7
On the train to the airport. It is very comfortable. We haven't seen the sun in seven days. The weather has been 35 to 45 degrees all the way. Flying directly to Tampa!!