Following the CrowdEuropean Adventure, Day 2
LONDON, England—Our ambitious plans to be at Westminster Abbey by 9:30 this morning were foiled when jet lag sedated us into sleeping beyond our intended wake-up time. No one disputed the benefit of a couple of hours extra sleep, however, and when we left the apartment at 10:30, we headed straight to Buckingham Palace, hoping to make it there in time for the famous Changing of Guard ceremony scheduled today for 11:30.
Yes, we knew it was one of London's top attractions. No, we did not arrive early, as every guidebook advised. In fact, the ceremony had already begun when we arrived at 11:36. Nothing we had heard or read prepared us for the mass of humanity gathered outside Buckingham Palace, however.
|Thousands pour in to see the queen's employees change shift.|
A hundred yards away from the gates, the Victoria Memorial, a monument to England's longest ruling monarch, sits in the middle of the Queen's Gardens in front of Buckingham Palace. Might that be a good place to try to watch the ceremony? Thousands believed it might be.
|A nightmare for security forces|
|View of the guards obtained by holding the camera well above my head from our position in the thick of the crowd.|
|Monogramming taken to a whole new level|
|Looking past Queen's Garden to Buckingham Palace with Victoria Monument on left|
|St. James's Park Lake|
|Margaret feeds squirrel as tourist photographs (L) and Peter reacts to our inquiry about photographing him|
Continuing east, we arrived at Westminster, where we were confronted with a dazzling array of iconic British institutions and symbols—Big Ben's tower, House of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, the familiar red telephone box, and dozens of red double-decker buses. And, like at Buckingham, hundreds of tourists everywhere. Add in plenty of locals, too; this was Saturday afternoon. Things were quite crowded.
|Jeanne calls in, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben's tower, royal symbols on House of Parliament|
|The Jewel Tower, its moat now drained, survived the 1834 fire which destroyed the remainder of the palace.|
With weary feet that had walked another four miles today, we hopped the Tube back to Holland Park and our apartment, stopping along the way at the local Tesco grocery store for some dinner supplies, and finally breathing a sigh of relief to be away from crowds for a while.
Ms. Magnolia's Manners Tip of the Day:
"When you are in a crowd, do not push and shove. And keep your hands to yourself. You know your mama taught you better."
More Photos from Today
|Jeanne, aka Ms. Magnolia, and Ken waiting for the train in High Street Kensington Tube station|
|Victoria Monument near Buckingham Palace|
|Jeanne at Buckingham Palace|
|Selection of Fresh Salads at Cellarium Cafe|