BUCKINGHAM PALACE (WITH THE FLAG RAISED, MEANING THE QUEEN WAS IN RESIDENCE!)
THE VICTORIA MONUMENT FOUNTAIN (THE SIDE FACING THE PALACE)
THE VICTORIA MONUMENT FOUNTAIN (THE SIDE FACING AWAY FROM THE PALACE)
MY YUMMY BREAKFAST! AN APPLE TART
By the way, the breakfast tarts in England...DELICIOUS!!!! It was not full of processed and sugary flavors like the American versions I've tried. This was sweet, but with more natural flavors. After breakfast, we headed back to the Palace to see the changing of the guard.
THE CHANGING OF THE GUARD CEREMONY (WITH THE BAND ON THE RIGHT)
PART OF THE CHANGING OF THE GUARD CEREMONY
After watching part of the changing of the guard ceremony (it was too long to watch the whole thing and still see everything we wanted to!), we found this:
THE DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES MEMORIAL WALK
From there, we went on to walk towards Westminster Abbey (making a stop at the public toilets...which had a map out front showing where the public loos were across London!).
MAP OF THE PUBLIC WATER CLOSETS IN LONDON
BIG BEN PEERING AT ME THROUGH THE TREES AS WE WAITED TO ENTER WESTMINSTER ABBEY
Unfortunately (though not surprisingly), no cameras were allowed in Westminster Abbey, so I have no photos of the interior for you, but I got the most amazing surprise once inside...you'd think I'd have already known this, but I was unaware of the "Poet's Corner" in the Abbey. It. Was. Amazing. Breathtaking. I got to see the grave of Charles Dickens. I cried. (Go figure that in the place there are kings and queens of England buried, I get teary-eyed over my favorite author...lol)
After Westminster, we moved on to Big Ben and the houses of Parliament. We didn't take the time to go inside Parliament (and Big Ben is closed to the public), but that didn't stop us shutterbugs from taking pictures of the beautifully structured buildings! (I must admit, though, I thought that Ben would be taller...maybe Hollywood makes it taller in their movies?)
PEERING AT BIG BEN THROUGH THE GATES
BIG BEN, IN ALL HIS GLORY
A VIEW OF BIG BEN AND THE HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT FROM WESTMINSTER BRIDGE
Then we walked on to the London Eye.
THE LONDON EYE ALONGSIDE COUNTY HALL AND THE AQUARIUM
Maybe it's because I had so many people so highly recommend it, or maybe it's because I expected so much more from it. I don't know. All I know is that the three of us were seriously underwhelmed with it. Sure, it gave us a pretty cool view of the city, but it really wasn't worth 18GBP. The capsules (which hold about 25 people and has an oval bench in the middle to sit on...which we did...) don't stop to let people on and off, so you have to move quickly to board and alight. On top of that, I felt something that may have been akin to either a slight case of motion sickness or vertigo. (As being a person that's never had either before, I couldn't tell you which or confirm that it was so...I just know I wasn't comfortable.)
After that, we walked (yep, still walking!) down Fleet Street (though that was an unplanned happenstance), passed by and stopped in a sweet shop, and came to St. Paul's Church!
SWEENY TODD, ANYONE?
LOOK AT THE WALLS OF SWEETS! SADLY, THEY DIDN'T HAVE MY FAVORITE: BLACK CURRANT/LICORICE...
THE FACADE OF ST. PAUL'S CHURCH
And the stop at St. Paul's (where Misha got a lot of photos that I can't wait to see!) was en route to the Millennium Bridge.
KRISTIN AND MYSELF ON THE MILLENNIUM BRIDGE (WE'RE THE TWO PEOPLE STANDING TOGETHER)
What's so special that we had to see this bridge, you ask? I'm sure that you notice that the London Eye and this are the only modern things we really saw up to this point. The reason behind it is quite simple: I am a Harry Potter nut, and this is the bridge that the Death Eaters destroyed in the movie of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. And on the other end of the bridge was the Globe Theater!!! I didn't call ahead to find out the hours of operation, so we didn't go inside at all (although it would be ah. ma. zing. to see a Shakespeare play there!!!), but I was plenty satisfied with just getting some photos of the famous exterior. :)
THE GLOBE THEATER
Once I'd gotten my snapshots of the theater, we headed nearby to the Tate Modern Museum so that Misha and Kristin could look at some art. :) It was....interesting. lol I'm not so much a fan of modern art, I've discovered.
And if, by this point, you're wondering if there's an end to our walking on Friday (which I would imagine was crossing all our minds then, too!), there is. That is it for the first full day. We then proceeded to go to the Underground/Tube/Subway (yes, they are all the same, lol), though we had to walk a piece before we found an operating station, and purchased Oyster cards (if you go to London and you are going to be there for more than a couple of days, I highly recommend it!) and rode the rails "home." It was nice to sit and ride and get off of our feet after all that walking!!! According to Google maps (I made a little recreation of our walk), we walked roughly 5 miles. It's a little inaccurate, though, as we didn't always walk the most direct route, plus we doubled back a couple of times; once for breakfast and once for lunch. On top of that, we were still on our feet pretty much the whole time we were stopped and seeing things. It was definitely a full day!!!
TO BE CONTINUED....