Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Our Trip to England & Wales Part V: Last one!!

Well here I am again. :) And here's our final travel log for our trip to England and Wales.

On Tuesday we got up and decided to go get some breakfast and head over the Buckingham Palace for the horse-guards parade and changing of the guards. We inquired at the consier's desk in our hotel and he said it started at 10 and we had thought it didn't start until 11 (and it was 9:30 when we inquired) so we decided to hurry and go over there before breakfast. We hopped on the bikes and rode down there. We saw the guards at horse-guards first and there was no action going on so we figured we had missed it (we didn't get there until around 10 after 10). It was fun to see the guard on the horse there. I guess they have special horses that can stand there for 4 hour shifts, perfectly still. Pretty amazing, huh?
So we walked through Jame's park and the green park over to Buckingham palace. We must have looked pretty lost at one point because this old gentlemen came up to us and asked us if he could help. His name was Don. He was an old Englishman and it turns out he was an expert on Brittish history. He started talking and there was no stopping - he just had a wealth of information about the Brittish flag and all the ceremonial stuff that went on during the changing of the guards. He told us how to tell where the queen was staying because she had a special flag that was flown. And how to tell which car she drives because it has no license plate. And other really interesting stuff like that. He explained the correct way to hang the Brittish flag and how he noticed that it was actually hung wrong on some of the streets in preparation for the royal wedding. He explained all about what would happen at the royal wedding - I guess the ceremonial stuff is the same at every one. Anyway, it was really neat talking to him. He was such an interesting gentleman - I could have talked to him for hours. As it was he spent about an hour and a half with us taking us around and showing us the parades and giving us a history lesson. His daughter is an administrator in charge of one of the bands that plays during the ceremonies and he told us about a practice they were having at 2:00 a.m. in preparation for the royal wedding. Anyway, we were very glad that we came early (it turns out it really didn't start until 11) and happened to run into him. It made this part of our trip so much more interesting and fun. If we had just done what we had planned to do and go to horse-guards and the changing of the guards, we would have missed one of the highlights of our entire trip.

Here's Buckingham Palace
Here's a picture of some of the special set-up they had in preparation for the royal wedding. Normally the grounds are just kind of a park that you can wander around, but they had this structure put in place for the news crews and other people broadcasting the royal wedding.This is Charles I palace - there's a bunch of history about him that Don told us about how he was beheaded because the people rebelled against having a king. And then they didn't like not having one so they went and found one of his sons and made them king and there's been one ever since. I'm paraphrasing and probably messing this up, but that's kind of the idea.Here's a picture of Don. He just looks like a cute, little Englishman, doesn't he? :)
And here's some pictures of the changing of the guards parade.Here's Buckingham Palace in the background.
I loved listening to English accents while we were there. You can here Don's voice in this video telling us all about what was going on.

After we said goodbye to Don we were starving so we decided to go back to Covent garden for some food. We found this yummy yummy pie shop that had these chicken and bacon pies with mashed potatoes and gravy and peas. It was so good eating some real food (after a lot of street food) and it was delicious.
After that we headed over to the British Museum. We weren't planning on going (actually we weren't planning on going to any museums), but we were kind of tired so it was a good thing to do. It is HUGE! We were there for 2 1/2 hours and were going pretty quickly through it. We only got through 1 1/2 floors out of like 5 or more. We saw the Egyptian Mummies and statues. It was pretty cool.

Then we went back to our hotel to rest for a little bit cause we were tired of walking. That evening we went out to dinner at a really cute little Italian Restaurant. I had this yummy pizza and Brandon had pasta. We bought the rest of our souvenirs and found another waffle place for dessert. Yummy! Then we headed back to our hotel and packed our bags and went to sleep.

The next day we got up early and left to catch our subway to the airport. My back was hurting pretty bad after all of the walking. We got to the airport in plenty of time. It was a good thing too because they ended up searching both of my carry-on bags at the security check. Tons of people got searched. It must have been a high-security week due to the Royal wedding and everything.
They went through every single item in our bags and took them out and searched it. Crazy. Took like an hour! Anyway, then we found a little place and had omlettes for breakfast. And got on our flight home. It was a really long flight - it seemed to take forever.

Finally we got to Atlanta at what was like 10 p.m. London time. We were pretty tired. we only had an hour and a half layover to begin with but the plane got in late due to some high winds and we had to sit on the plane for another 20-30 minutes after we had landed waiting for our gate to clear. We rushed off the plane as soon as we could (luckily we were sitting pretty close to the front). We went to the passport place to get our passports checked and there were more than a hundred people in line in front of us. We thought we'd never make our flight (as it boarded in only 15 or 20 minutes). Somehow we made it through that line and then still had to go collect our bags, go through customs (luckily we didn't get stopped) and through security (luckily we didn't get stopped again) and then catch a train to the other end of the airport and run to our gate on the other end of the terminal. Crazy! It was after midnight when we finally arrived home. Totally exhausted, but we had the best time! Thanks, Brandon for a wonderful 10 year anniversary trip and thanks for the last wonderful 10 years!! :) I Love you!


Trisha said...

You didn't plan on any museums?? Did you go in the National Gallery?

The British museum is neat. Did you see the Rosetta Stone? Scott arranged with someone there to see things that were 6 thousand years old!

I'm glad you enjoyed yourselves. That British Man was cute!

Heather said...

No we didn't plan on any mostly because we had too many other things on our list to see and we only had a few days, but we ended up going to 3 of them. We didn't go into the National Gallery, but we did walk by it.
We didn't see the Rosetta stone. Which floor was it on? We only went to part of the 1st and 4th I think or 5th...can't remember.

Trisha said...

It was on the first floor. Not far from the Egyptian stuff.

Scott said it was 1.8 million years old not 6 thousand and was definitely a hand carved tool--"human like." kind of cool. I'm glad you guys had fun!