25 June 2013

Day 9: Walking 8.75 Miles in London

If I lived in London, there is no way I could ever put on weight. That place requires significant walking. It requires even more when you try to show someone most of the relevant sites in one day. Our last day in London began at 5:30 a.m. We readied ourselves for the cottage departure and the 1 1/2 hour drive back to Heathrow to return our car. We stowed our bags at the hotel at 10:00 a.m. and headed into the heart of things.

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
We thought we had enough time to go back and check into the hotel, but it ended up being quite a rush to do that and get to St. Paul's in time for the Sunday organ recital. So we walked much faster, and we got there, and it was well worth it.

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

The Tower looks lovely in the light of a pink sky
Really, just more sky
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.

No comments:

Post a Comment