Today’s adventure started with trying to figure out how to Hop on and Hop off the tour bus. Getting on (once you find the proper stop) was pretty easy. Getting seated before the driver floor boarded the gas pedal was a bit trickier! We rode the entire red line and saw so many sights. We also discovered it was easier and closer to just walk ten minutes to Buckingham Palace from the hotel rather than riding 30 minutes and getting off at a crazy roundabout. Go figure. We saw Westminster Abbey, Trafalger Square, Tower Bridge, London Bridge, Downing Street and so much more.

We had quite the experience at Buckingham Palace that we will write about later. I’m still laughing. So typical of Gene and I traveling together. But we are learning new things about each other . . . like it turns out Gene doesn’t like traditional French food. Go figure. After 35 years, I find this out (and after booking a traditional French cuisine restaurant the first night). So no more French food. I had black pudding (don’t gross out, I grew up eating blood sausage and loved it, and still like it), Gene didn’t try it. And I learned not to share my water with him on the plane. He drank five bottles of water (two were mine), and seemed surprised that I was thirsty.

Navigating London without cell phones is a challenge, but loving being inaccessible! There are so many smokers and people don’t walk on one side of the sidewalk, they just plow through. Very crowded. And tipping is weird and we still haven’t gotten it right (tip is included and we keep forgetting)

We had an unpleasant awakening at 10:20 PM when the fire alarms went off and they announce “Alert, alert alert . . . this is a fire alarm. At this time, you do not need to evacuate your floor.” I briefly wondered if they were allowing the Hilton Honors Platinum members first access to the fire escape like the airlines do, but according to Gene, I was so tired from our flight that I just rolled over and went back to sleep. Not encouraging!!! This morning, I read the manager’s apology about a shower setting off the detector and asked Gene, “Do you think they were giving evacuation preference to the people in suites since they said we didn’t need to evacuate?”