Our latest adventure took us to London for a few days followed by a week’s sailing charter in Croatia.

Our flight over was uneventful (for a change!)  The man who sat next to me was from Croatia.  I thought I would find out some useful information but he was hard to understand and only wanted to talk about himself.  Thankfully, I had earphones!

Arriving in Gatwick tired and disoriented, we managed to get on the wrong train to London.  I had paid for the express train but somehow we got on the local train.  We slowly rode to Victoria station crammed in with all of the people going to work. Oh well, at least we got to the right place!

Our 2 bedroom flat that we rented in London was on Baker street close to the trendy Marylebone area.  I liked being outside of the usual tourist center where we could just fit in with the regular folks.

We crashed for a few hours and then revived with some coffee and went for a walk.  We discovered Regent’s Park only a few blocks away and gawked at the beautiful roses and delphiniums in bloom.

Roses in Regents Park

Regents Park

English rose

Regents Park

Such vibrant shades of blue in the delphiniums.

Regents Park

Skip found the Beatles store and was a happy camper!

The next day we took a boat ride down the Thames to Greenwich. We visited the last time we were in London (18 years ago) but got there too late to go into the museums.

Brave kayakers on the Thames

Brave kayakers on the Thames. There’s an astonishing current with a 25 ft tide.  It makes Hell Gate look like a kiddy ride!

London Eye
London Eye

Going under the Tower Bridge
As we went under the Tower Bridge the guide kept saying that we should try and time coming back when the bridge opens. No thank you…I’ve seen plenty of bridges open!

Boat ride down the Thames
Going past the Tower of London

Cutty Sark
Since our last visit they built a fancy museum around the Cutty Sark.

Shiny Hull of the Cutty Sark
Based on her shiny hull, the Cutty Sark hasn’t seen water in a while!

Collection of figure heads
Colorful figurehead collection

Hmmmm
How did I get by without these??!

Watch the red ball
The red ball atop the Greenwich Observatory drops every day at 1pm to indicate 0 hrs Greenwich Mean Time. Ships leaving the city could coordinate their clocks to make sure that they can calculate their coordinates and not get lost.

After a mediocre lunch at a pub recommended by Rick Steves (poo on him!), we toured the Naval museum and the Royal Observatory.

Straddling the east and west
The obligatory photo standing on the line that separates east and west longitudes.

Dolphin sun dial
Cool dolphin sundial

I'm in the Bahamas!
One floor of the Naval museum was a giant map. Look, I’m in the Bahamas!

In the evening we had fish and chips with mushy peas for dinner. It was delicious but they didn’t serve beer. WTF!!!

Rick and Eva arrived the day and after they rested a bit we walked around the neighborhood. We were drawn back to the beautiful gardens at Regent’s Park.

Smelling the roses

I've never seen so many colors of delphiniums

Guy chat
Guy chat

English rose

On our last day in London we took a 3hr Gastronomical Tour provided by Context Tours, a company we used when we visited Italy.

We started at the food hall in Fortnum and Mason, the elegant store known for it’s fine foods, teas and picnic hampers. Our tour guide, Catherine, guided us through the various rooms and talked about the history of F&M which started in the early 1700’s. We tasted scotch eggs (an acquired taste…) and delicious violet flavored chocolates favored by the queen.

Start of our gastronomic tour

Katherine has a masters degree in anthropology with a concentration on microbreweries. She has a wealth of knowledge about food and beer!

Our next stop was Paxton & Whitfield, cheesemongers for over 200 years and known for their fresh, local cheeses.

Tasting lovely cheeses
Learning about cheeses

I liked the Stilton
Tasting!!! The Stilcheton was my favorite. It’s a blue cheese from Nottinghamshire made with unpasteurized milk.

Who drank all those giant bottles of wine?
Snooty wine shop. Who drank all those giant bottles of wine?

Tasting beer with our tour guide
A mid-tour stop to taste some beers that Catherine brought.  They were a little to hoppy for me.

Fine chocolates
Fine chocolates at Paul A. Young. We tried the hot chocolate which is pure, liquid happiness!

We wandered through Soho and Chinatown and ended up at Covent Garden where Catherine left us on our own.  We found a pub, of course!

Taking a break at the pub
Touring made us thirsty

We wandered down by the Thames and saw the Houses of Parliament. Eventually, we made it back to Fortnum and Mason to pick up some delicacies for dinner.

Big Ben

City reflections

Eagle in the eye
Eagle Eye

Coming back on the Tube we couldn’t stop at Baker Street due to a security situation. Taking the next available stop made for a long walk back to our apartment. We were ready for happy hour to start!

Saturday began with traveling to Heathrow for our flight to Croatia. I’ll continue in the next post…

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