Exhausted is our new last name!

Published on 23 May 2023 at 14:50

Sunday - We woke up much better rested and were raring to go. We hopped into a black cab at the hotel and took off for Buckingham Palace.  We had tickets for the Changing of the Guards tour. We arrived probably about 1 1/2 hours early - and what a lucky break that was. The ‘mall’ was relatively quiet on a Sunday morning - so we casually strolled all the way down and made our way to the palace. We were able to easily make our way to the gates, and wander around the palace to take photos. We thought we were expected for Sunday morning tea with Charles and Camilla, but they stood us up! Can you even believe it??  There were still a lot of flags and remnants left from the coronation. It’s surreal to think it was all going on right there just 2 weeks earlier.  

We made our way back to our meeting point and hooked up with our tour group. Our guide’s name was Jeremy and he was absolutely wonderful! Highly recommend the Viator tours - they lead you around, you all get individual earphones so you can hear your guide talk even in large crowds. He shared so much history with us about the royals over the years. We stood right where King Henry VIII used to joust, saw some of the horse guards. Jeremy also shared his ‘Harry opinion’ - suffice it to say, he is not a fan. He felt he was basically being an idiot. As an American, I’m still team Harry.  I have that mom sympathy for him, and can’t imagine what all he has to deal with.  Sure he’s a royal - but no one asks to be born into that life and have to put up with constant press hounding you and spouting stories. It did offer a new perspective, however, on how the Royal family is viewed. Most people are still very supportive of the Royals and look at them as true ‘Heads of State’ and understand why they try not to get sucked into the drama of it all. That was enlightening to me.  Jeremy said - if they allowed themselves to constantly get drawn into the drama, then they would be nothing more than celebrities rather than the ‘heads of state’ they are.  

     We got to watch the new guards come on duty and the old guards leaving. Jeremy took us right to the perfect place, where we were able to get right up to the fence and see it as they were marching right towards us.  It was perfect and so incredibly wonderful. I will share a video as soon as I can. He was telling us about their big fur hats, and indicated they did try to use a synthetic fur for a short time, but it would not hold up, so they have gone back to using Canadian bear fur. It was beautiful, that is all I know. 

     After the time at the palace, we headed off to our lunch reservation at the Blackfriars Pub. We had hoped to have the famous ‘Sunday roasts’ that pubs usually serve, but unfortunately, this pub did not do Sunday Roast. All was good, however, as I tried the Steak pie - with carrots and mashed potatoes… so it was close enough. It was DELISH!! The pub itself has a ‘friar’ decor and is of course 100’s of years old. It was very quaint and we enjoyed it. 

     Lucky for us, the pub happened to be just a couple of blocks away from St. Paul’s Cathedral, so we wandered there, and even were able to go inside. They do not allow photos, but it was so incredibly beautiful - I of course had another emotional moment. You can count on major tears when I go into Westminster Abbey! I will keep you posted. 

     We continued to wander around, and then headed to the London Eye as we had tickets for that in the late afternoon. We took the opportunity to relax in the park area by the Eye - much needed. Seriously, I have never walked so much in my life. I already have a lot of recommendations for anyone who may be traveling this way. 

     The London Eye - WOW! JUST WOW! It was absolutely, totally, 100% amazing and worth the ride. The views were spectacular! Me, being quite afraid of heights, started the trip by planting my rear end on the center bench, not close to the glass… but did end up venturing out a bit as we went along. I did better than I expected and got some phenomenal photos. 

     After out trip around the wheel, we headed across the bridge towards Parliament and ‘Big Ben’. Got some more pictures and scoped out the New Palace Yard park area. We relaxed there for a bit - observing a Pakistani protest going on that involved a lot of exclamations and passionate people. It was actually fascinating to see all of the diversity and different cultures milling about.  As my husband says - if you came to meet Brits - London isn’t necessarily where you should go - as there are so many people from everywhere in the world. We have run into many many Americans. 

     In conclusion of Day 2 - we cannot say enough about the amazing people we have encountered so far. The Black Cab Drivers have all been so wonderful - they are friendly, informative, always share good information about sites to see etc. They are so polite and kind.  We definitely had a wonderful day!!




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