Sunday, June 19, 2016

England/France Trip: Part 3

On my prior trip to London, I went to Buckingham Palace and watched the Changing of the Guards. So Buckingham wasn't high on my wish list for this trip.  But Adam wanted to see it, so at the beginning of the day, we decided to head to the Palace. 

There was a lot of hullabaloo going on, and we were surprised to learn that it was the opening day of Parliament, and soon the Queen would be headed out to open the session. We decided we simply must stay to see the Queen.

There was so much pomp and circumstance as we waited for the Queen's Arrival. The beef-eaters lined up, and there were so many horses. A kind police officer spent the better part of a half-hour telling us about the ceremony and the history of Buckingham. His love for his country was infectious. 

The band started playing God Save the Queen, as she rolled by in her carriage! Oh, how I wish I had my zoom lens that day! But it was the most magical moment of the trip. I can't believe we saw the Queen! I could make out her little hat, hair, and purple suit. She looks great for her age!

After our brief visit with the Queen, we hopped on the tube for our date with the grand Tower of London. One of the main reasons for me wanting to return to London, was that I did not visit the tower on my first trip, and I was dying to go. I am just that nerdy. And we probably spent 3 hours wandering the tower on this gloomy,  rainy day.  

We marveled over the crown jewels, minus the crown, which was missing because we had seen it on the Queen's head an hour earlier. 

We loved wandering the rooms and the narrow staircases. I couldn't help but think of one of my favorite books growing up, Tower of Terror by R.L. Stine, which was loosely based on the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower.

One of my major interests in the Tower, of course related to Tudor History. So to see the monument that was placed at the sight where some of the most famous Tudors lost their heads (Lady Jane Grey, Anne Boleyn, and Katherine Howard) was somewhat overwhelming to me. I also saw King Henry VIII's armor, and the traitors gate, where it is rumored Anne Boleyn entered the tower to live out the last days of her life. 

Can we discuss for a moment how much I love the tube in London? It is so easy, so reliable, and so convenient. After our trip to the tower, we went back to the room to relax a while before our next event, which was the Jack the Ripper Walking tour. Something I was massively looking forward to. But unfortunately, this was the first time the tube wasn't reliable. As the train stalled for 15 minutes, making us too late to make the tour. I was DEVASTATED. I may have cried on a street corner in White Chapel for five miserable minutes.  

But I got my act together, and I refused to let that one missed opportunity ruin my trip. I can always go back (I hope). So instead we wandered around White Chapel a bit, and grabbed dinner at a "pie shop." I got a lamb pie, with a picture of the poor lamb right on the pastry! Then we caught the tube back to the hotel, which was once again, totally reliable. 

The tube never was unreliable again. 

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