Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Our Royal-ish Day in London

When we were in London last Christmas, it rained. A lot. Think torrential downpours. We went to Buckingham Palace hoping to see the Changing of the Guard, but apparently they don't do that in bad weather. Anyway, we decided to try our luck again. We strolled through St. James' Park on our way. The landscape was much prettier than it had been in December. No rain and no muddy puddles, yay!
 
As you can see, my photos are still crooked when I upload them. (Boo hoo. Can't wait for my new computer!) At last we saw Buckingham Palace. Time to tilt your head to your right and keep it there.
Okay, you can straighten your head again. 
While we were waiting, this group of royal-looking people passed us. It must have been some kind of tour. We didn't think they were actual royalty because there weren't any guards or police surrounding them. As we passed them later on, the carriages were pulled over to the side of the road and the royal-looking people were indulging in champagne and amuse-bouches (the fancy French phrase meaning "small bites" figuratively and meaning "mouth amusers" literally) served to them by male attendants wearing top hats and tuxedo tails.
At last, the time for the Changing of the Guard arrived. If you look closely, you will see uniformed guards behind the gates. You can barely see their heads and the tops of their hats. Oh, you need to tilt your head for the first one.
And that was that. We expected it to be a much bigger deal than it was. We were kind of disappointed. Oh well, at least we can say we've seen it. 

Next on our itinerary was a brisk walk through Hyde Park 
 
to meet up with Miss Christy! We walked along the Serpentine River in Hyde Park (which is huge) searching for street artists. Christy was looking for some paintings. We searched and searched and searched but never found them. Turns out they're in the park on Sundays, not Saturdays. No biggy~we just grabbed some lunch and ate in the park. And duh~I was sooooo busy chatting with Christy and enjoying her company that I totally forgot to take any photos. My bad. :( After lunch, we did some window shopping along Bond Street, a large shopping area in London's West End. Then we headed over to The Royal Horseguards.

"Horse Guards is named after the troops who have mounted the Queen's Life Guard on this spot since the Restoration of King Charles II in 1660 and remains the official entrance to St James's and Buckingham Palace. This is why The Queen's Life Guard is still mounted here. Apart from members of the Royal Family or cavalrymen on duty, everyone needs the Sovereign's permission in the form of an Ivory Pass to either drive or ride through Horse Guards.

The Guard Changing Ceremony takes place each weekday at 11 o'clock and at 10 o'clock on Sundays. The mounted sentries (who change every hour) are on duty each day from 10am until 4pm, at which time there is a dismounted parade of the Guard. There are two dismounted sentries on duty until the gates are shut at 8pm, when only one sentry is left on guard until 7am when the second sentry returns on duty. No one, unless in possession of the password, can gain admission to Horse Guards after the gates have been closed." (http://www.army.mod.uk/events/ceremonial/23235.aspx)

We made it to the dismounted parade of the Guard.    
Next, we headed to Trafalgar Square.


We came across the Herman Melville house.


It sounded totally cool but isn't open to the public. I was disappointed when I looked into it and discovered that he only lived there for two months. No wonder it isn't open to the public. We continued on and found the Benjamin Franklin house, but it was already closed. Not sure why I didn't take a photo of that. I had serious grandma brain issues that day!

As we headed towards Westminster Bridge, it finally occurred to me to ask Rick to take a photo of me and Miss C. It turned out GREAT! You can see Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster in the background. Isn't my friend pretty?

After a very nice afternoon, we finally had to say our goodbyes. :( Thanks for meeting me, Miss C! I really enjoyed our visit!

Rick and I finished our day with dinner at Polpo, a Venetian restaurant that serves small plates (think tapas) and local wines. Keaton introduced it to us when we were in London at Christmas.
We love it!
 

So ended our royal-ish day. Next up: Shakespeare's Globe Theatre!

1 comment:

Christy Lynn said...

No no no, MY friend is pretty!

And also, I really really like that first Hyde Park pic.

I've taken a few days off from uploading pics to Winkflash, need to get back to it tomorrow!