About 4,000 miles away from Hope, our daughter, Haley, was studying a semester in London through Indiana University. Lisa and I thought it would be great to visit her. Lisa's mom, Fran, joined us as well as our daughter, Bethany.

The Town of London itself consists of 9,000 people, but what is considered to be Greater London has 9,000,000. In our 15 minute walk to the subway system, I saw more people than I would in downtown Hope on a busy day. And, you quickly realize every nationality and language is represented.

Movement, whether it be people or traffic, seems fast. Then again, I have a high preference for slow! The subway system, The Tube, is amazing in many aspects, in particular how efficiently it travels from one place to the other. When first being built, there were many doubters. On one escalator, I once again saw many people going up and coming down with several choosing to run up and down while passing others who were choosing to ride like me.

When looking around, it seemed I was the second oldest rider with Lisa's mom being the oldest. Apparently, older people in England live in another place or find another way to commute.

We were able to view many wonderful sights by way of taxis, the subway, a tour bus, a narrow boat to Little Venice, and a river cruise ship on the Thames. Buildings are a complimentary blend of the old and the new, the shorter and the towering with World War II bombing certainly being a factor.

Our travel agent put us in a perfect spot, Camden Town. The Holiday Inn we stayed in has a wall of famous people connected to the town. Charles Dickens, famous novelist, lived there. Amy Winehouse, singer and songwriter, worked as a teenager at Camden Lock Markets just behind our hotel.

There are several other notable names on the wall.

My wife did an excellent job of planning each day. One of my favorite adventures in Camden Town was a peaceful ride on a narrow boat in a canal built hundreds of years ago by hand and rightfully preserved for other generations to enjoy. Due the the foresight of a few, the Regent Park area draws numerous visitors each year.

Another of many highlights was watching the Changing of The Guard at Buckingham Palace. The 45 minute formal ceremony accompanied by music is quite systematic and spectacular. And, it's free! (During a conversation with the gentleman sitting next to me on my flight back to the United States, I mentioned how impressed I was with this event. Soon, he was sharing a picture of himself in full uniform pulled up on his phone, serving in the guard for six years before moving to Columbus and starting another career. Now, what would be the chances of such a meeting?)

Toward the end of our time, I thoroughly enjoyed our tour bus trip that took us away from the bustle and hustle of London to the English country side.

We visited quaint and quiet little villages, one being Bampton Village where “Downtown Abbey” was filmed. We had some wonderful scones and tea. I had never had a scone before meeting my wife but have acquired a taste for them just like the rest of my family. And, we all love High Tea with all the tasty options!

Our final stop on this trip was a World Heritage Site, the Blenheim Palace and Estate. Words cannot do justice to the grand entrance with all eyes focused on the Great Lake, Vanbrugh's Grand Bridge, and the Queen Pool. And, there is this marvelous castle on the grounds where The 12th Duke of Marlborough resides. Each room speaks volumes about the palace’s 300 years of existence.

In my next article, I will share some of my interactions with the good people of London.