Packed for two weeks in Europe.
Our plane from SFO to New York.
First thing in London - to the Borough Market. It's a periodic farmers market type thing very close to London Bridge Station.
They were selling peat smoked fish, and of course the question came up.
Double Decker Bus outside London Bridge Station.
We walked around near Kensington High Street and saw this commemorative plaque for a famous botanist.
This tea is at a fancy hotel and is fashion themed.
Harrod's - you could once buy almost anything there.
There was quite a bit of constuction still going on. London is getting ready for the olympics.
The drinking age is a little different here.
In Britain, they have traditional cask ales. These are beers served directly from an unpressurized cask. They are nicely flavored, lightly carbonated, and served just below room temperature.
A touristy shopping area on the Thames.
Tower Bridge - a drawbridge across the Thames.
Tower of London. We did not go here after we saw the admission price and the line.
They still have a remarkable number of phone booths.
We did see a play in a reproduction of the Globe theater, built near the original. "As You Like It" has stood the test of time.
The theater is built as closely as possible to resemble the original.
It's the same size, and there is no theater lighting or elaborate stage machinery.
The stage serves a couple different productions at the same time.
Boxes were decorated - it was as much a place to be seen as a place to see a play.
Dinner at The Narrow - a pub owned by Gordon Ramsey's restaurant group.
We has a few of the aforementioned cask ales.
The pub is right on the waterfront.
The telephone boxes come in black, too.
We spent a lot of time walking the waterfront.
We went to Maidenhead, a small community about 40 minutes outside of London by train. This is the location of the Fat Duck restuarant - what some say is the 2nd best restaurant in the world.
Linda waiting in anticipation.
The cuisine at the Fat Duck is modern and artistic. They use a lot of strange techniques. This is a bed of moss with some smoke coming out covering the table.
For one dish, they gave us a seashell with an i-pod inside and had us listen to sounds of the sea while we ate.
Recovery from the meal will take some time.
We took a river cruise that evening.
The first thing we saw was somebody jumping off a bridge. Apparently this happens with fair regularity.
A tidally available beach - complete with a beach party.
OXO tower is one of the few things that could be considered advertising allowed to face the river. There's a restaurant and bar on the upper floor.
This used to be a rail bridge. It was demolished, but the piers were left in place in order to avoid failure of the bridge next door.
We went under the modern London Bridge. The older one is in Arizona.
Starbucks temple of coffee - you cannot hide.
We went to the tower bridge museum. The bridge is a drawbridge, and it was originally designed for foot traffic to be able to cross even when the drawbridge was lifted.
The upper level is now a museum.
They have exhibits about the building of the bridge, and about other bridges around the world.
They also have excellent views up and down the Thames.
Quite a large number of cranes in London right now, despite the economy.
This is one of the coal fired boilers that used to power the bridge.
This is one of the steam engines that ran from the boilers.
One of the famous London Black Cabs. We tried to take the subway whenever possible.
They do drink a lot in London. These are widely available and consumed on the street - gin & tonic in a can.
Went to Kew for a slightly rainly day.
One of our goals was to see the Lily House, which was closed for the season on our last visit.
They grow the giant amazon waterlily here. Victoria cruziana is actually slightly smaller than the biggest species, but it's impressive and more cold tolerant.
Passionflowers and other vines also find a home in the Lily House.
End view of the Palm House.
Kew is celebrating its 250th year as a botanical garden.
These flowers of Aristolochia gigantea are about 2 feet long when they're not dried out and crumpled on a rock.
Yep - that's two feet long.
The Alpine House is probably the newest glasshouse at Kew.
It keeps the rain off sensitive alpine plants, and also keeps them cool.
There have been a lot of Amorphophallus titanum flowerings around the world this year - this seedhead is one result.
This plant was named after one of the scientists we'll meet later in the trip.
One new feature is a raised canopy walk - you can walk among the tops of the trees.