London, England

 In Honeymoon Planning
Welcome to London, England.  London is the most popular tourist destination in the world.  Each year London attracts about 27 million visitors.  London employs 350,000 to maintain the booming tourism industry, which produces 15 billion pounds ($30 billion dollars) annually in revenue.  It is a very expensive place to live. The population is at 8 million and growing fast.  Over 300 languages are spoken in the city, as immigration from Africa and the Middle East has been steady.  Heathrow airport is the busiest on the planet.  Cassandra grew up about an hour from London on the southeast coast.  I’ve been fortunate to have spent nearly three months in England.  During our last visit, Cass’s parents (Angie & Ray), sister (Cherri) and nephew (Tommy)  took us on a trip to downtown London.
England has an amazing public transportation system.  We made it to the heart of the city from her parent’s house without a car.  A red double decker bus pulled up on the corner a block from her house and took us to the train station.  From there, an hour trainride takes you to Victoria Station.  From the station, the Tube (London Underground) can take you anywhere in the city in a matter of minutes.  Our first stop was Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guard.  This takes place every other day at 11:30 am sharp.  The pageantry is brilliant!  After the changeover, we took a few photos in front of the Queen Victoria Fountain that sits in front of the Palace.  Next we took a walk through the lovely St. James Park.  London is filled with lucious parks and greenery.  St. James is a great place for a picnic while you watch the ducks on the pond.  From certain bridges in the park you can see the famous London Eye. Standing at 135 metres, the London Eye is the largest Ferris Wheel in Europe.  It is visited by over 3 million people a year.  It takes about 30 minutes to make a complete revolution.  The view from the top offers amazing panoramic views of the House of Parliament, Big Ben and the River Thames.  After the ride, we stopped for lunch at a traditional British “chippie” on the banks of the river.  We had classic jacket potatoes covered in baked beans, cheddar & chives. It was D-licious!
After lunch we took a guided cruise on the Thames to explore the city.  We sailed right beneath Westminster Abbey, the London Bridge and the Tower of London.  Other great spots to see in London are Hyde Park,  Trafalgar Square, St. Margaret’s Church, the Kew Botanical Gardens and the Picadilly Circus.  Fortunately we had seen them a few times before as the day was growing long.  We stopped for tea and chocolate one last time and caught the train back to Lewes.  Special thanks to Cass’s family for showing us a wonderful time!
London is a seven-hour flight from BWI.  They are 5 hours ahead of Ocean City time.  The 2:1 exchange rate is brutal on the U.S. dollar. The city is extremely safe for its size.  I’d rate the British as the most hospitable people we’ve found.  It is a very pleasant culture and the people are genuinely friendly.  We’ll be back again soon.  Cheers!
– The Rox

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