Friday, August 23, 2013

London Days 7-8

Day 7 called for another check on the tourist site list - royal London and changing of the guard!  I did another London Walks walk for this, meeting at St. James's Park tube station.  We wandered through the back streets and a corner of St. James's Park before crossing to Horse Guards Parade. 

This was the venue for the beach volleyball in the London Olympics; I hadn't realized just how non-beachy the setting was until I saw it in person.  Still, very cool.  Everything was staged for ceremonial events for the Queen's jubilee and Trooping the Color the following week, so it even looked a tiny bit like what I'd seen on tv.

We arrived just in time to see the changing of the guard.  There was a bit of crowd, but it was still possible to see most of what was going.  Very regal, very elegant. 

Then we quickly headed down the Mall towards Buckingham Palace, where we caught the tail end of the guard changing there too.

The Mall was all decked out in flags and splendor for the jubilee, and it was great fun to take it all in.  The Queen just happened to be hosting a garden party that morning, so we got to watch arriving guests park and walk towards the palace. 

From there we walked to Hyde Park Corner along Green Park.  As we stood under the Wellington arch, several police came up and ushered us out and to the sides.  Two horse-drawn open carriages came through the archway; we waved and gawked.  One of the occupants was the Lord Mayor of Westminster; we didn't identify the others. 

From there I headed to Oxford Street again for a late lunch at Wagamama.  Yum!

I took a nap in the afternoon, and then we ordered Indian for dinner.  We ordered from the same restaurant where L&S had their wedding reception, a lovely place not far from their flat.  I had been craving one dish they'd served at the wedding and hadn't seen in any other restaurant, so I figured out what it was (palak papdi chaat) and ordered it.  Neither of them had eaten it since, and we all enjoyed it!

Day 8 was my first and only lazy day.  I slept in and then walked down Finchley Road to do some shopping and have my semi-annual pilgrimage to Nando's.  Oh Nando's.  So good, no matter the country.  That evening we all ate dinner at a cozy Italian place on Finchley Road and then they indulged me as I wandered the aisles at Waitrose, marveling at the many wonders there. 

As always, the photos below are out of order.  Sigh.

One of the carriages in Hyde Park Corner

The outgoing guard

This photo makes it look a little chaotic, but it was, of course, quite regimented.

Starting their guard shift.

Riding back to the barracks.

Horses crossing the street :-).

The Mall in its finery.

The Queen Mum's statue. And her husband, of course.

Guards leaving Buckingham Palace for the barracks.

The Lord Mayor of Westminster. I promise.

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