The last stop on our vacation last spring was London.
It's a spot I've been before -- back in 1973 when I visited with my mom. (It was a memorable visit then, made all the more so by the fact that her cancer appeared not long after and it was the last of our long trips together.) Rick and I had about 36 hours in this large, vibrant city -- not enough!
So, we landed and hopped on the tube, which took us to Russell Square. Our hotel was a few blocks away and as soon as we checked in and left our bags, we were back out, headed to the half-price tickets booth.
Our choice for theatre as "The King's Speech." I loved the movie and wanted to see how it was performed on stage. I wasn't disappointed.It was every bit as terrific on stage as on screen (albeit without Colin Firth!)
From the minute I entered the famed Wyndham Theatre, I had a smile on my face!
The theatre, small but grand, was where the original "The Boyfriend" had played. Julie Andrews came to prominence in that musical.
The next morning it was -- you guessed it -- rainy! But neither the rain nor my fever stopped us from enjoying a delicious breakfast at our hotel and hopping the tube. This time we ended up at Buckingham Palace, just in time for the Changing of the Guard.
I had never seen this magnificent ceremony which lasts a rather long while.
Somehow or other we had great seats -- or rather, great sidewalk, with a good view of the troops entering the palace gates...
...and those exiting.
And yes, we could even see a bit inside.
I shouldn't have been surprised at the size of the palace gates, or their massive crests. I'd seen seen them before in more royal weddings than I can remember.
But I was.
There was a huge crowd despite the weather and the bobbies, or policemen, were kind and helpful and oh, so polite!
After a bit we crossed the streets to stand on the steps of the Victoria Memorial.
This was about as close as I got to the balcony of Buck House!
We meandered through St. James Park, which was just lovely.
It was early spring and despite the rain and drizzle, the birds were present and rather comfortable with people.
Our destination was two-fold. First, the hunt for a pub where we could enjoy lunch!
Then, it was off to see the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.
For whatever reason, I got a big kick out of walking across the river and back. It was a view seen from the air in one of my favorite British television dramas, the House of Cards trilogy.
I would have loved to enter the gates. They seemed rather secure, though.
Even with the cloudy skies, it seemed rather bright and beautiful. I will never forget it.
And finally, we ended up doing the one thing where we couldn't take photos but perhaps was the most memorable experience of the vacation -- Evensong in Westminster Abbey. But more on that next time!