Well, after an 8 hour flight, we arrived and began our tour of London with a motor coach drive through the city.
Our guide, Peter, is a very knowledge local who enjoys history and lived through both the London Blitz in WWII and through the swinging 60s!
Our first stop was Hampton Court Palace, which was the home for Henry VIII, best known for his six wives and separation of Church and State. By modern standards, his court was quite primitive, but he is a major figure in history.
Also, we have visited the Tower of London, which has serviced as the Mint, a zoo, the treasury, the royal court and more. But we think of it as a place of imprisonment and misery because of the high profile people who were imprisoned and beheaded there.
On the lighter side, we've also taken a twilight ride on the London Eye Ferris wheel to the delight of 30 of our travelers. There's a large international tourist presence here, and our guide frequently mentions sarcastically that all the congestion and confusion is being caused by something he refers to as "The Games". ("Have I mentioned to you The Games are coming?")
Seriously, the Brits are taking security extremely seriously this coming summer, with an obvious military presence, security, police and expansion plans underway. While the influx of visitors, athletes and dignitaries will swell London from 9 million to 15 million, this town looks extremely clean.
Like many European towns, space is at a premium, and they drivers are experts at exploiting every free space on the traffic lanes. But one thing is obvious... they drive on the wrong side of the road over here...but they're proud of it.
Someday I'll tell you the story of why they think they are right, but not right now. We're tired after a second full day. More details tomorrow, as we prepare to drive to Bath and Stonehenge! It should be fun!
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