London 2018


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Monday, March 19, 2018: Tom and his colleague Scott headed to London via Charlotte, where they had some Carolina barbecue for dinner. In a rare turn of events, Tom will be writing the captions for this travelogue. Take it away, Tom!
I recognized this part of the Charlotte airport from when Debbie and I were here a couple of years earlier so I tried to recreate that photo while I had Debbie on the phone.
When we boarded the plane, it was almost too good to be true - an international overnight flight that wasn't even the slightest bit full.
Scott and I both got to spread out with entire rows to ourselves.
Debbie loves to justify her actions by saying she needs to put on her own oxygen mask before helping others, so I had to get this screenshot of the safety video for her.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018: Almost there!
We checked into the Hotel Bosco in Surbiton.
Let's tour the room, shall we?
Here's the bedroom ...
... and here's the bathroom. Tour complete.
After a brief stop in the hotel to freshen up, we headed over to Teddington.
After a very productive first day, we deserved a beer. Turns out there was a beer hall right next door to our hotel. Feast your eyes on Coronation Hall, a fantastically magical place that served the best beer in England.
After the best beer of the trip, we headed across the street to discover whether Chinese food is different in England than in America. Confused about the sunlight in this photo? It was taken the next day. Sneaky.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018: The next morning, we drove past lots of buildings with names that made it clear that this country had a monarchy.
Twice every day we crossed over the Thames to go from Surbiton to Teddington.
"The Old Kings Head" looked like a very typical English pub.
The drive was quite scenic with huge parks lining the road.
We overestimated how long it would take to get where we were going, and when our driver suggested that the nearby park was an excellent place for a walk, we thought that sounded like a great idea.
We headed into Bushy Park through the Clapperstile gate.
Dog owners were warned to be wary of the free roaming deer in the park. We saw lots of dogs, but no deer.
The park is huge, and we only scratched the surface.
As we first entered the park, we passed an area where the grass was formed into these strange mounds. 
It was only in this section though. The rest of the grass throughout the park was normal park grassland.
After our very enjoyable walk, we arrived right on time.
The building featured lots of natural light and office windows that actually opened.
I just love the phrase "Government Chemist." Sounds like something right out of "Breaking Bad," doesn't it?
After another very productive day, we decided to walk around Surbiton and find a nice cold beer. We stopped in for a pint at the Victoria. It had hand-pumped taps and warm beer, which is something I don't think I'll ever get used to. We left after that first pint in search of colder beer elsewhere.
We walked across the street to the Duke hoping that their beer was more to our liking.
We had a nice chat with the barman and selected two beers that we'd never heard of and were very happy to find that they were indeed cold. We stayed there for dinner and then walked back to the hotel.

Thursday, March 22, 2018: We woke to our third straight sunny day.
Seriously. Just a gorgeous day.
While we waited for our ride, we looked longingly at Coronation Hall where we had those first deliciously cold beers.
Even the high schools in England are charming.

We had spent most of the last day with Ricky and Rachel going over exactly how they used our system and looking for ways that we could help them be more productive. It was a great trip and they were fantastic hosts.
We finished up just after lunch and decided to walk to Hampton Court palace at the southern tip of park. We passed Diana Fountain on the way there.
The fountain was in the center of a pond, which was in the center of a traffic circle.
This is the best view that I could get of the front of the fountain.
We saw some of the wild deer that we'd been warned about.
We were nearing Hampton Court Palace after about 40 minutes of walking. This is the back of the Hampton Court House, a school for ages 3 through 18.
At this point, we were feeling pretty good. On our two previous trips back to the hotel, it had taken about 45 minutes in stop-and-go traffic to get back to our hotel. Our phones suggested that it would take just an hour to walk the three miles back to our hotel. It was still a lovely day and the walk would be along the River Thames. The walk started off in the town of East Moseley.
Along the way we passed this vintage Lotus.
I'm pretty sure that this is the very car that my uncle once owned.
After an hour and 15 minutes of walking, we made it back to the hotel for a much needed change of clothes. You should always think about the weight of the things in your backpack before you decide to walk three miles back from a client visit.
Before dinner, I had to complete my unofficial but very important mission to England: score some Peppa Pig stuff for the grandkids and "interesting" food for Debbie. I was able to check off the food items at the Waitrose grocery store that was just around the corner from the hotel, but no Peppa.
I completely struck out at Poundland, which is the British equivalent of the Dollar Store. Plenty of Paw Patrol, but no Peppa anywhere. I was starting to get worried.
Finally, I looked in Boots pharmacy a little farther down the street. (Photo courtesy of Google Street View.)
Score! I managed to buy the last two boxes of Peppa Pig bandages. In this country, they're called plasters.
We headed to a Thai restaurant for dinner, and it was the best meal of thhe trip.
After dinner, we continued our streak of looking for interesting and hopefully cold beer, and managed to find both at the Surbiton Flyer, just outside the Surbiton train station.
I still had British pounds to spend, and decided to stop at the liquor store across the street from the hotel to buy interesting snacks. I spent the last of my cash on two or three packages of these adorable "Giant Strawbs" gummy treats along with peanut M&Ms.

Friday, March 23, 2018: Every day on the trip to Teddington, we passed an Aldi grocery store. I finally managed to get a decent picture of it on my last possible opportunity.

In addition to the Peppa Pig souveniers, I also managed to pick up some interesting teas and two Kinder Joy eggs, which are legal to bring into the US.

We had a layover in Detroit then were back in Indianapolis by evening.

** THE END **


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