Let me explain. Yesterday, I planned for us to watch the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace. Navigating the metro or Underground as their sign says or the Tube, as the locals call it, was initially confusing but conquerable. We arrived at the gates at 10.30 am to be greeted by a large number of people on either side of the roads.
I did get a good position close to the gate and had a good view, except for the times the small old lady climbed up the railings. Twice, I had to ask her to get down. The first time, I was gentle. She ignored me until the gentleman next to me yelled at her and her daughter. The second time she did it, I raised my voice but I was still polite. She clambered down instantly.
Security was obvious. There were police everywhere and they showed off their guns. Police also warned people about pickpockets. I was glad I had my mini backpack because I was able to carry it in front of me.
From Buckingham Palace, we were supposed to go to Westminster Abbey but we veered off the planned route after walking through the leafy St. James Park, one of the oldest royal parks in London. I can imagine people having their picnics under the tree awnings when the rain isn’t drizzling or pouring but even when there was a slight drizzle, there was a group of approximately 30 people, probably on a school excursion, who settled down and had their lunch.
Google maps led us past 10 Downing St, under guard and behind metal gates, to the Horse Guards, the “official entrance to St. James and Buckingham Palace.” Two of the Queen’s Life Guards mounted on horsebacks guarded the building. I felt sorry for the guards. They must have nerves of steel to ignore being treated as a photo op and controlling their horses to prevent them biting or kicking the overzealous tourists.
We soldiered on and arrived at Trafalgar Square where I found the red phone booth. Photo op!
Gah! The inside stank as if someone used it as a public urinal. Two clicks, held breath, and I was out of there.
By this time, my feet were screaming. I wore a pair of comfy ankle boots but they didn’t have cushioned soles. I needed paddings. Google said, Boots, the UK pharmacy chain was close. I bought 2 pairs of gel inserts and used one pair the minute we exited. Bliss!
Feet taken cared off, we went to Westminster Abbey, the “large mainly Gothic” Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster. Photos were not allowed inside, I supposed to preserve the sanctity of the building. One thing that struck me was the number of tombs, effigies, and memorials. It was disconcerting walking the floor to read memorials.
From the abbey, we passed this building, which turned out to be the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. Entrance was free though security was similar to that of the airport, everything was x-rayed. We managed to listen in to one court case about fishing rights in Mauritius.
By the time we left, we were hungry. Ramen saved the day with a side of not-what-I-was-expecting Korean Fried Chicken.
Quick trip to the Cooperative for essentials and we called it a day.
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