Our first stop was Buckingham Palace to see the parade that begins the Changing of the Guard ceremony. The ceremony itself is painfully boring, but I like to watch the band march by.
|Here comes the band|
One of the most interesting things I noticed is that one solider was a Sikh, so he was wearing a turban instead of the giant black bear helmet. His row is almost in the middle of the photo, and he's furthest left. I just thought that was a very nice sign of the changing culture in Britain.
|It's a great honor to be selected for this duty|
Once the band passed by, we shoved our way through the relentless crowds and broke free to start our walking tour of St. James.
|St. James Palace|
The best part of the St. James walk is passing by the various royal merchants. Here's Berry Bros. & Rudd, which supplies liquor. The front of the building is covered in pock marks from centuries of carriages rolling by and tossing stones up.
|They make Cutty Sark|
We stopped at the point where Old and New Bond streets meet so I could have a chat with two great men.
|FDR and Churchill liked my sense of humor|
Our next stops took us to the Burlington Arcade and to my favorite store, Fortnum & Mason. I always have to pick up a little something there. This year, it was a treat for a sister-in-law. I get to keep the bag.
|The glockenspiel was playing the Eton song|
|Loved the skies around St. Paul's|
We visited Trafalgar Square, walked past Whitehall, looked through gates at 10 Downing Street, and then headed for the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. The sky continued putting on quite a show for us.
|An actual rainbow over Tower Bridge|
We ended the night in Westminster, so we could see the Abbey and the Houses of Parliament lit up. Once Big Ben struck 10 p.m., we decided it was time to head back to the hotel. We arrived there at 11:00 p.m., 13 hours after our time in London began.
|Sorry, no tripod, so they're a little shaky|
And now we're home.