Here I am in London, please see the map for the topography and the geographical statistics for England. I was going to Paris and didn't want to go to London. The same old thing. My travel agent said why not go for a week and see how you like it. I can put you up at a bed and breakfast next door to Harrods at a very reasonable price.

Landed in Heathrow and walked through customs and onto the underground. I was surprised as I checked the map, finding out that San Francisco is on the same longitude as Northern Sicily.  Of to downtown London, stopped at Harrods and walked to bed and breakfast. Talk about convenient. Then I found out the a bus called the "Culture Bus" costs (then) about $5.00 a day. It stops at about 40 different places, goes in a great loop around the city. A bus stops at each location about every half hour.

Talk about convenient. I stopped at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Wax Museum, the British Museum (the Rosetta Stone), Tower of London (the Crown Jewels), the Tate Gallery of portraits, the theatre district, Buckingham Palace, and so on.

B & B and Area Around the Center of the City

British Museum

Buckingham Palac

Parliament Area

So here I am on the Tower Bridge looking back at the Tower of London!  We were escorted into a room in the Tower of London where the crown jewels are kept.  The Royal Guard told us we could walk around the glass case once to look closely at them and then had to stand on an upper step for longer viewing. There were quite a few people in the room and some woman said as she looked at the scepter which has the largest diamond in the world in it, about three inches long,  "I wouldn't want to have to hold that thing for very long."  I said very loudly:  "Give that sucker to me and I will hold it all day!"  Everyone cracked up, even the guard!

Tower of London

More than 20 towers comprise the fortress (the largest in Medieval Europe) over 18 acres on the banks of the Thames. William the Conqueror built the original fortress in 1078. It's most famous role is as a prison to hold some of the most famous Englishman for execution, Earl of Essex when he lost favor with Queen Elizabeth I, three queens of England, and of course Henry VIII 's wives! The Crown Jewels are in the Jewel House north of the White Tower. The largest cut diamond in the world is a 530-carat monster from the Cullinan diamond. The Imperial State Crown has 2,800 precious stones including the second largest diamond in the world.

Tower Bridge

Tower of London

Then I met a couple from Iowa and we decided to take a Thames cruise to Greenwich, a borough of Greater London, SE England. Site of the Royal Greenwich Observatory between 1675 and 1950, the meridian that passes through here serves as a basis for standard time through out the world and for reckoning of longitude. When we got back to Big Ben and left the boat, it was misting. We couldn't get a taxi and I stood there with a great tan and bleached blond hair looking very Californian! A woman about 70 saw me and asked me where I was from. I told her and said I just loved London and the people. She asked me if I needed a taxi and I said yes. She stepped out into traffic, took her cane and bashed in the hood of a taxi! He stopped and shook his fist at her. She told him tough and told us to get in the taxi. So even though it was raining and there were many others waiting for taxis, we got to the head of the line all because of a tan and bleached blond hair! The couple with me just loved it, something to tell the folks back in Iowa.

Thames Cruise to Greenwich

Train ride from London to Dover

The last day of my stay in London was just great, I met the group of 40 people I was going to accompany on the tour of northern France. The hotel that we were to stay in was full so they put us up at the Ritz! Talk about elegant. Had dinner in the main dinning room and the waitress were all over me because I was single and from California! There was a cocktail party so all of the group could get to know each other and now for a good nights sleep before going to the English Channel. We took the train to Dover the next moring.

Hover Craft from Dover to Calais

From Dover we took one of those huge hover crafts to Calais, on the coast of France. Then we were picked up by the tour guide and bus at Calais and now our trip to France starts.  Here I am in front of one of the largest hover crafts in the world that hold hundreds of people and multiples of cars and trucks.

I just heard that they are being phased out and as they wear out, the parts are cannibalized to repair the other ones. Since the parts aren't made any longer, once these are gone, so will be the largest hover crafts in the world.

They also have the worlds largest propellers, four of them on tall masts on the four corners to drive and direct the crafts. These and other types of channel travel may be reduced due to the completion of the Chunnel.

Created on: 1986
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Updated on: 2020.10.23