Sunday, May 29, 2011

Last night, Jen, Alex, and I all decided to check out Buckingham Palace in time to see the changing of the guard. We got up a little early for a Saturday and caught the tube to the closest stop. When we got close to the palace, we realized something was going on. 
 Instead of being allowed outside the gates, the entire street was sectioned off, and policemen were patrolling the line. Since none of us, including those around us whom we asked, had any idea what was going to happen, we were all on high alert for whatever was going to next. 

Normally, the changing of the guard is at 11:30, but by 12:00, we were still waiting for the big event. So I took pictures of two finely dressed gentlemen with tophats who stopped to talk to a couple mounted guards.
There were also several cars that came and went rather quickly, and with motorcycle escorts, so needless to say, I had to take some stalker pictures....
both of cars....
and people!
At 12:15, our first sign of movement were six guards marching out of the the palace.
They arranged themselves strategically in front of the palace, with three guards flaking each side of a small podium located centrally in front.
There were several empty carriages that came and entered the palace grounds quickly. I know because I took about a million stalker pictures to see if anyone was inside.
Soon, we heard the sounds of a band approaching from the distance, and around the bend came several dozen mounted soldiers.
This first group of mounted men were soon followed by several entire regiments! I was completely in awe of during the entire procession.
All the while, a select group stayed mounted and still in the center of the circle.
In addition to mounted militia, there were also soldiers marching on foot.
They were quite impressive dressed in the entire formal uniforms, with their huge furry hats.
After both mounted and unmounted military members had left the circle, the original guards lefts their posts from in front of the Palace. The crowd started to disperse at this point, so I was able to move a little closer to the front.
Some of the higher ranking officials (or those I would I would assume were higher ranking officers) still remained outside of the palace gates as the procession concluded.
Before long, the public was allowed to approach the gates of the palace to see the actual changing of the guard, though it was somewhat delayed and shortened.
The palace is truly remarkable though, and provided a beautiful backdrop to our walk.
On our walk away from the Palace, we headed down an wide Avenue, which was lined with flags flying for whatever occasion we had just witnessed. I really liked the top of the flagpoles, which we decorated with crowns
We walked through these gates to reach Trafalgar Square on our way home.
Once we got to Trafalgar Square however, we realized something else was going on. Many fans from Barcelona were celebrating in anticipation of the upcoming game against Manchester which was to be played this evening.
Some of them were quite jovial, singing songs in support of their team. I thought it ironic that this group decided to purchase souvenir policemen caps to wear with their colors.

We headed back to the flat for some supper and rest, before striking out to explore a little more of the night scene. We didn't stumble across too much that was crazy. We walked across the Thames and admired the lights of the city, and stopped by the Tattershall Castle (the boat featured earlier) for a drink. The atmosphere on the boat was still relaxed and nice. There was also a nightclub on board, but only allowed those over 21. Since Jen's not yet 21 yet, we skipped the club and headed to Leischester Square, where we had been told the night life was a little more intense. Boy, was it ever!

The streets were filled with people, and it was 12:15 in the morning! Several people offered us deals to get into clubs without waiting in line, and tried to sweeten their deal in several different ways. Jen and I were both a little overwhelmed, and decided to forgo actually going into a club, considering the late hour. We walked around a bit more, checking out some of the options for next weekend, then caught one of the last tubes back to Holburn station.

Needless to say, it was an interesting experience, that will hopefully have helped to prepare for next weekend, when plans to go out are in the works to help Alex celebrate his birthday.

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