Monday, 10 September -- London

After a bumpy, but otherwise uneventful flight, we touched down at Heathrow an hour early. However, there were no available gates, so we waited 20 or 30 minutes before we could de-plane. Heathrow is big; it was a very long walk to Immigration and then there was a very long line-up. But it moved quickly and the process was smooth. A very nice chauffeur was waiting and whisked us into London to the Hotel Ibis Earl's Court.
After checking in, we were directed across the lobby to meet Violet, the Trafalgar hotel rep. She set us up with a tour of Buckingham Palace for tomorrow afternoon and gave us information about the start of the tour on Wednesday. There will be 48 of us -- that's a big group. Many had already arrived at the hotel, but we haven't met any of them yet. Our room is basic, but comfortable and clean. The surprise was that they don't provide shampoo. We also realized we'd left our plug adapter at home, so after a quick nap we headed out to the North End Road a few blocks from the hotel. This neighbourhood reminded both of us of Notting Hill (the movie) and Catastrophe (the TV series).
We walked about 6 blocks, and passed several charity shops, street vendors, restaurants of every ethnicity. Lots of traffic, both pedestrians and vehicles. We bought our shampoo and adapter, then had supper (fish and chips) at a local pub. We noticed that the signs all suggested that this area is known as Fulham, though we don't see that on the map. We're too tired and it's too late to try and hit Central London, and Larry's knee is really bothering him, so we'll rest up and do what we can tomorrow. We'll have a day and a half here after the tour too. Lots of things circled on our London map to try and see.

I drifted off to sleep very early. Luckily, Larry was awake when the bathroom flooded, and he called maintenance. They determined that major plumbing intervention was needed, and tried to block the flood. That wasn't successful, and 20 minutes later, when the water threatened the bedroom carpet, the hotel agreed to move us to a different room. They had given us an accessible room, for no reason we could discern, and so were concerned that they didn't have another to offer.  We reassured them, and were quickly re-established in a regular room that suited us far better anyway. So it was disruptive, but ultimately OK.

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