Saturday, July 10, 2010

London - one last look

Our last full day in London was an action packed day.  After breakfast at a little cafe, we headed over to Buckingham Palace to see the Changing of the Guard...just us and a few thousand others.

The New Guard

The Old Guard


The rumors about the financials woes of the Royals are apparently true as it seems even the Queen is trying to save money on the electric bill and turned off the a/c...notice the open windows on the palace.  Maybe that's why they charge almost £30 to tour the palace!

After a morning at Buckingham Palace (no Queen as the Union Jack not her standard was flying), we headed through Green Park to the Wellington Arch en route to Hyde Park.

We made our way through Hyde Park to Speakers Corner...Sunday is the day to head down there.  But first, we grabbed a sandwich and found a seat at Marble Arch to do some people watching as we were starving by this point...and there was lots of great people watching!  After lunch, we headed over to Speakers Corner and the cuckoos were out in full force just ranting and raving about everything and nothing at all.

Next stop was the hotel so Daddy could rest and Moma and I could make a final run on Boots (like CVS)...finally after searching all over the States, we found some Dr. Scholl's for Moma's poor little feet in England!  We had a final tea (but this time with chocolate cake) and a little more walking (because gosh knows we didn't walk enough the past 3 weeks!) around before heading back to get Daddy.

We wanted to visit St. Paul's Cathedral but the thought of paying £12 to visit a church seemed a bit much.  I was thrilled to find out that while the church was closed for sightseeing on Sundays, it was open to those that wanted to worship...for free.  So off to evening services we went...a very nice service and we were able to walk around the church after the service...bonus!  Moma said the cathedral was definitely one of the trip highlights for her.

After walking for what seemed like to France in the underground between 2 stops, we finally arrived at Tower Hill.  Before the Ceremony of the Keys, we had dinner at Bodean's...had to see how the English do pulled pork...must say,they do a pretty good job!  We popped into a pub and had a Pimm's while watching a little of the World Cup...boy the Brits do love their football!!

The Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London was fabulous!!  Unfortunately due to security reasons, they don't allow any photographs.  I did manage to sneak a picture of Alan our Yeoman before he opened the gates.  It was pretty cool to be inside the Tower after it was locked up for the night...we had to leave through 2 small doors at the end of the ceremony. 

The Ceremony of the Keys has taken place every night without fail since the late 1200's...even took place during the Blitz of World War II.  The whole ceremony takes about 45 minutes and definitely something I recommend.  Tickets are free but they only permit about 30 people and you have to apply for tickets in advance.  Click here for the link to learn more about the ceremony and requesting tickets.

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