Published: April 23rd 2011April 22nd 2011
Changing of the Guards
Y - M - C - A!!
Yep, the brits were playing YMCA as part of the ceremony of the changing of the guard. Kinda funny considering the ceremony is supposed to be steeped in tradition, but I guess you have to change it up somehow.... So in case you haven't figured out, we started the day out today at Buckingham Palace to watch the changing of the guards. There were plenty of people crowded in trying to get a glimpse. I managed to snag a place right by the side gates. So I got a good video of the band and horses marching in. The rest of the gang were by the side, so they had a better glimpse of the ceremony. Some funny tidbits.... The Bobbies were trying to control the crowd. They moved people behind the railings and if they weren't behind the railings they had to move either to the right or the left. Funny thing... the people that they moved out on the right side, just went on over to the left side.... When he tried to tell them to move, they just stared at him blankly like huh? Even funnier... another bobby on a
St. James' Park
horse, told someone to get their kids down from the railing... and I quote "get down from there, are you an idiot, it's dangerous." Couldn't help but chuckle when I heard that. I made a new friend as well... a little boy named Sebastian. He and his mom got separated from his dad, when we got pushed back behind the railing. He told me all about the bakugon!
After half way thru the ceremony, we decided it was enough, so we left Buckingham Palace and headed towards the Churchill War Rooms. It was very neat. These were the war rooms that Winston Churchill and his War Cabinet stayed while the WWII was going on above ground. It served as a command center during the War. There were secret phones, maps and even a chalk board to keep count of who was winning the war. Very interesting to be down in a bunker and see how they could have lived and operated during those times.
From the Cabinet, we walked over to Westminster Abbey, except it was closed to visitors today. I think it might've had something to do with good friday. We took a few photo ops on
the outside. The thing I take away from Westminster... it's the Abbey where Kate and Wills will be married (they already have platforms set up.) and it looked like they cleaned the front of the church in preparation, but only the front facade. The front was white, but everything else was slightly dirtier.
After Westminster, in the hopes of finding the pier, we walked over towards Parliament. Coincidentally, as we sat down behind Westminster and in front of Parliament, we ran into a tour group. So we found out that there are 3 sections of Parliament; House of Commons, House of Lords and the Monarch. The old section that burned and the new section. House of Lords are members of Parliament where their titles are granted due to money and heritage. They have no law making power. The Monarch is the King and Queen and the House of Commons are elected officials which have all the law making power. . We also learned how brutal British history is. When a person was found being traitorous, .......... They had their guts torn out, their heart pulled out, and their head put on a stake to be paraded around the city.
London's way of saying.. this is what happened to you when you become a traitor. Yuck!
From Parliament, we headed towards the Westminster Pier and caught a river boat cruise along the River Thames. We road from Westminster to Tower of London. We were hoping to try to get in and catch the Crown Jewels, but we got there at 5:01 and last admission was at 5:00. Poor timing today.
So what to do... what to do.... last night as we were leaving the pub (Mikey, forgot to say Guinness #3 last night) our waiter told us that we should check out Primrose Hill. There was a nice view and it was near Regent's Park. The closest tube station from Tower Hill to Regent Park and Primrose was Camden Town. So we took that. It was a new tube line and needless to say... it was quite interesting. When we got off, we were surrounded by Goth fanatics. You know.. they had the big earrings in their ear, hair spiked high, nothing but black. Think Kent and Vixsyn from the Amazing Race. Only maybe slightly more frightening. We couldn't really get our bearings around where the park was...
so to get out of the tube area (where it looked like a fight was about to break out...) we just walked.... Too bad, we walked in the wrong direction. We found Camden Canal and the Lock, but kinda figured it was the wrong direction. So we stopped and asked someone. He didn't really know either, but he had an iphone, so he found the app and kinda pointed us in the right direction. So we turned around and headed back... except we didn't want to go back in the same suspect direction that we came, so we veered a right at a quieter street.
It was quiet for about 3 blocks and then we figured out where all those goths were headed.... There were a serious of 4-5 blocks. There was the Camden Market and the canal and lots of shops with interesting stuff. The people were plentiful, the incense was burning and the area was quite colorful. It's hard to describe. I would equate it to maybe..... Yeah... I can't equate it to anything... Oh.. maybe a scene from the Amazing Race when they stop by a market in India. Needless to say, held onto one another
and quickened our steps. AND we finally found Regent's Park. Except now, there was high potential the sun would set before we found Primrose and then it would be dark before we found our way to a tube station. So we decided to hop on a bus and head to Baker Street.
We had dinner at Pizza Hut near Baker Street. Pizza was good. We ordered a Formaggio and Mushroom pizza (blue cheese, mushrooms and balsamic vinegar,) pan supreme (just as good, less greasy) and an italian-thin crusted hawaiian. All very good. Our waitress was quite funny. While the boys were in the loo, we ladies said that we were thinking about ordering a couple of pizzas... she kinda looked at us and said are you sure? That's a lot of pizza.... :O) She thought we made a good choice after we told her we had 2 boys joining us as well.
It was a fast food kinda day. Start with McD's breakfast... end with Pizza Hut dinner. Then we called it a night... another good day....
Tomorrow... we go see some historic stones and hopefully soak our feet in some Roman Baths....
There are more photos below