Our First Three Days
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Our First Three Days (in London)...

At the airport Elena's waiting to board the Virgin Atlantic plane. Here's the Boeing 747-400 we flew across on.
One of the nice things about these planes is the personal entertainment system they install in the seat-back immediately in front of you. I especially enjoyed the map showing the location of the plane and the remaining distance and time as the flight progressed. You could also watch movies or TV, play games, or listen to music. Helped to pass the time. 
Elena enjoys the wonderful old style bathtub once we got to where we were staying in London. A nice warm soak was just the relaxing prescription after a 10 hour flight plus another hour by train and foot to get to Chalon House in Richmond (a very nice bed and breakfast run by Ann and Virgilio Zaina, highly recommended.)
Ann has a beautiful garden which we enjoyed. Flowers grow so well in London because of the temperate weather and plenty of moisture.
Funny shirt we saw in a store window. Those Brits will do anything for a laugh -- especially a naughty one.
Lots of construction always going on. Many of the brick buildings (and most of them are brick) had scaffolding up for workmen to climb around on while performing the repairs. These were everywhere.
While standing across from these famous sights we saw another couple helplessly looking for someone to take their picture. I offered to swap services if he would return the favor. He took about three tries before he was able to get the hang of the Mavica and actually get a shot on disk.
I gave Sherlock Holmes a few tips on some stumpers he was working on while I was there...he said my mental abilities were the real mystery and some other compliments like that which I didn't quite understand, but I could tell he was very impressed. I amaze everybody! 
This was the Sherlock Holmes museum. Pretty tame by American amusement park standards, but still a "must-see".
While in the Sherlock Holmes museum we had one of the staff take our picture while we were consulted on matters of international importance. Holmes and Watson were late for their appointment, so it was lucky that we were available to fill the spot.
This is the posting board in Leicester Square where they place notices for the 1/2 price tickets available for that evening's performances. We saw Starlight Express one night (okay, but not real impressed) and Notre Dame de Paris another night (terrific and highly recommended.)
What a funny little motorcycle. We saw a couple of these unusual beasts zipping through traffic. I guess the London weather is so inclement that someone finally insisted on more protection from the elements than a simple helmet would provide.
The inside of Covent Garden, London's version of a shopping mall. Many little shops along several aisles, and a generally festive atmosphere.
Covent Garden (the "t" is silent in Covent) had an area where shoppers could rest their weary feet, drink a tea or other rejuvenating potion, and listen to various performers (who evidently sign up for a specific time slot in advance). These folks played terrific classical music while prancing, jumping, and generally cavorting all around. It was fun to watch and listen. Like most street performers in London, these had a container seeking "donations" in front of their act.
Elena and I had to try this one dessert dish at Porter's English Restaurant. It's called Spotted Dick; their menu says, "Not what you might be thinking! A steamed suet sponge with sultanas [raisins]."

It was the best thing we had there. The fish and chips were terrible and the beer lackluster, but the dessert was worth a laugh and didn't taste too bad.

Look at this sleepyhead. Elena was absolutely impossible to get out of bed the first couple of days we were there. I finally had to get dressed and threaten to go out on my own to get her up and running. But once she got in gear there was a job to do to keep up with her. Elena seems to be able to go and go and go... (especially when shopping).
Here's Chalon House in Richmond (a suburb of London) where we stayed with Ann, the proprietor. We had all of the 2nd story windows in the front. Ann cooked terrific traditional English breakfasts, which is to say there was enough eggs, cereals, toast, coffee or tea, fruit, potatoes, tomatoes, sausage, bacon, mushrooms, etc., to feed an army. And with the amount of walking Elena put me through we needed the fuel too!
We had mild weather while we were there. We were told that this was exceptionally good weather. A few of the mornings were mighty clear and bright, but usually some clouds rolled around and made it necessary to take a sweater everywhere we went. This is one of the obligatory views one is forced to look at during a visit to London, they don't let you leave until you swear you've seen it... And yes, they really do have double-decker buses for everyday use.
Here's Elena sniffing some kind of fragrance for sale. This was taken in Harrods, a large department store that is the pride of London. I later found they don't allow pictures inside the store, so this is the only shot I have. Highly recommended, though the prices are quite steep (most of London is expensive I think). They have a terrific food court where Elena had oysters and I a crab salad -- about $60 USD for the meal (ouch).
One of the views of our room at Ann's. The room was quite large and very comfortable. I kept hitting my noggin on the crystal chandelier though. I wasn't too happy with that.
Another shot of some of the spectacular weather we had there. What dramatic cloud formations. Only problem was, once the sun ducked behind them it turned chilly, especially if a breeze came whispering through. Elena calls these kinds of clouds, "Constable Clouds", because of the artist John Constable (he was know for his clouds.)
Elena's buying our tickets on the EuroStar, the 150 mph train that was to take us from London to Brussels in about 3 hours. The nice gentleman recommended we try the Belgian beer. He knew what he was talking about.

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