April 25, 2016
This day was definitely another exhausting day. I’d soon realize that most of my days in London would be extremely taxing. Never in a negative way, but almost an overstimulating way. I was so eager to experience everything I could in my short time over here, that it really did drain me.
After a mile walk to the Tube, I was off on my first full day adventure. Upon arriving near Buckingham Palace, I could definitely feel the exhaustion from the time change kick in. However, I was determined to stay awake through the “changing of the guard“. Although the signs and everything I read online said that the ceremony started at 11:30am, I was happy that I arrived before 10:30. Not only did a get a great spot to watch near the gate, but some of the ceremony starts a little prior to 11:30.
I got to watch the countless marches in the yard to ensure that the premises were safe as well as the marching band parade through the crowd of watchers. About the time that the band started up the road towards Buckingham Palace, the entirety of the crowd decided to shift their attention away from the front gate. That’s when some mid 40-year-old British man advised me to continue looking forward and to not move from my position – everything to see was about to be right in front of me. Not only was this guy helpful, but he was a little… different. I will never forget the strange heavy breathing right in my ear at some points. *shudders* Anyhow, the people surrounding me were interesting overall and the variety of languages that were spoken made me realize how close it in for Europeans to travel anywhere over here.
After the ceremony and some lunch from a cute little place called “Inn the Park Cafe,” I made my way to my landmark, Big Ben. As I got closer, there were so many ringing bells chiming from the sky. Surely this couldn’t be just Big Ben. Sounding more and more like the wedding bells from Cinderella, I realized that Westminster Abbey was gloriously ringing. It went on for about an hour.
I was one of the first few in line to get into Westminster on this day, and it was definitely worth it. The exquisite detail to the building on the exterior was only a mere glimpse as to what was inside. While I missed the memo that I couldn’t take photos inside, I did snag a few of the entrance right inside. In respect of their rules, I decided to hang on to those for personal viewing. I learned that the reasoning behind the strict no photography is in respect of the church that still continues to be held in this glorious building. Once I got through a majority of the tour, there were sections that weren’t deemed as a holy site that I could photograph. And boy did I.
One of the most shocking things that I found while walking through Westminster – and what I was not prepared for – was that the floor had large slates of tiles (as seen above). Anywhere those were, that is where royalty has been buried. The closer to the throne the person was, they were positioned inside with their own brilliant monument.
After this lengthy tour, I (of course) went towards Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben) to capture more of it. As you can tell from the following photos, the weather changes so rapidly. I was happy to capture some great shots of the gold-encrusted tower with the sun shining on it, but was equally happy to get a shot of the entire building with such gloom.
Before heading to my AirBNB for the night, I stopped at Gordon’s Wine Bar. It was this really hidden (though well-attended) cellar bar that sold wine, either by the glass or by the bottle. My kind of place. I ordered a glass of Riesling and enjoyed a chilled night outside on the deck. Such a great day.