Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Royal Disappointment..

Many apologies for the late post, writing these take a bit of time and effort, and if you don’t have either, you fall behind a bit. I’ll do my best; some posts may become less writing and just more photos as the writing takes the longest!   Here is yesterday’s:

Yet again, I started the day far earlier than I would have liked. 4am and I’m wide awake, mentally planning my day while everyone else is off in the land of nod.
 At this unnatural time I get very excited about the day and ready to jump into my packed itinerary, but what’s open at 4am?! I end up quite frustrated because tiredness doesn’t come back again till just before I need to get up. Feeling average isn’t the best way to start the day. Oh well, I guess that’s what happens when you cross multiple time zones, all in good time, I’ll come right! 
My plan for the day was just to head over to Westminster to see the Buckingham palace and to watch the changing of the guards which would start at 11.30. During the off season, this ceremony is only performed on certain dates, while in summer, it’s an everyday occurrence. The receptionist and prior research had stated that it would be on unless it rained. Marcus, a young German guy staying at the hostel recommended getting there at 10.45 to get a good close position so you actually see what was going on.

 11am and I’m still brushing my teeth at the hostel. I snatch an umbrella and start at a break necking pace towards Holborn station. (Today was the coldest day so far. It wasn’t windy, just very grey and freezing) Many of the other travellers in the hostel have Oyster cards, which allow you to quickly scan your card to access buses and trains for a discounted price. I decided to quickly purchase a card I could load money onto. The great thing about this card, (apart from the 50% savings on the cost of a standard fare), is that you can return the card at the end of your time in London for a refund of any remaining credit on the card, plus your 5 pound deposit made when you get it, Awesome!

 Within a few minutes I’m running up the escalators and doing that awkward run/walk across Green Park. There is a crowd of people around the front of the palace I trot along trying to find a gap so I can see through the fence. I find a spot right on the fence with a few minutes to spare, stoked!  However, there’s a sign a meter in front of me saying, “Next Changing of the Guards – Tomorrow 11.30am.” Noooooo!!!!

The Guards

Me in front of the palace, the flag is flying, the Queen is at home. 

 Never mind, there were still other things to see, places to visit, so I zig-zagged my way up The Mall,

The Mall

Through St. James Park....

Looking across the Lake in St. James Park

Made some friends along the way....

...of the animal variety..

and back across again to watch a practising marching band.
The trees in London’s Parks are all very bare and sad, but lively flowers and blooms are slowly making their way back. 

Horse Guards Parade

What a boring job..

I crossed Horse Guards Parade, passing beside the horse guards and followed along the Thames to Big Ben and parliament houses. Standing right in front of Big Ben, I wonder what the time is and proceed to fumble through my jacket for my iPod........duuhh!!

Big Ben

I continued towards the Westminster Abby and strolled through what I think was Westminster Abby School. The old stone buildings completely enclosed a lovely grassy square keeping out most of the traffic noise. It was peaceful and silent and I took a moment just to enjoy the tranquillity.  

Westminster Abbey 

I decided not to go in, but enjoyed sitting across the road mentally adding in Prince William and Kate Middleton leaving the Abby in their open carriage.

I popped into the gift shop attached, why bother trying to imagine William and Kate when you can just by life sized cut-outs? Overwhelmed by the wedding memorabilia, I just tuned out and aimlessly went round and round the shop enjoying the warmth.  

National Gallery

I munched down my cheese and salad sandwich on the steps of the National Gallery art museum. It was a spectacular view looking across the bustling square with Big Ben in the distance. The gallery was fantastic, filled with a variety of famous paintings from different eras.

Personal favourite by Van Gogh

Me, looking over Trafalgar Square with Big Ben in the background

Walking back to the hostel I stopped in at the supercharged M&M shop in Piccadilly Square. 4 floors of just M&M merchandise, which was probably a bit excessive, but still fun to look around!!

All the colours of the rainbow..

And so ended another day in London, I will try the changing of the guards tomorrow, but not hopeful as the forecast is for rain!

Till next time...


  1. Hope you got my email re Michael :) do call him.
    Out with Liam j and j and k for his birthday. Will raise a glass to you. Xx

  2. Right. I'm sitting comfortably with a glass of wine and am about to resume enjoying your travels. It's strange but interesting following you and seeing places I know through someone else's eyes. It's the way I've been seeing Christchurch through your Mum's blog.