Day two in London brought more bread, butter and tea on the terrace.
Then we headed to Buckingham Palace to watch the changing of the guards. The entire ordeal takes over an hour. After about 15 minutes of watching guards stand very still and a few more march around, Mom asked when the Harlem Globetrotters were gonna come out. (Spoiler: they never come). The most breathtaking moment was when the wind blew a paper cup out of this gentleman’s hand. Adrenaline levels soared! Was the procession going to be spoiled by the get-away cup?
Nope, a real life James Bond was on its tail! He suavely chased after it, expertly pinning it down with the tip of his walking cane. And the crowd went wild!
On another note, I told myself the lady above was Kate Middleton. Doesn’t it look exactly like her? Thankfully, she never turned fully around so I can’t say I never saw Princess Kate. If you look closely, you can see the hands of the crowd poking through the royal gates.
As it was Remembrance Day (11/11) the whole city honored two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. The crowds and the soldiers (as usual) stood very still and silent. Even the cars on the street around the palace stopped for the full time.
Then there was more marching and horn-tooting and drumming.
Besides this horse, my other favorite part were the Italian tourists who were packed around me. I felt so smart because I understood almost everything the children said. Granted, all they did was repeatedly ask when they could leave and what was happening. Then the parents would tell them to be quiet and watch. “Guarda! Guarda!”
All in all though, we were glad we got to witness all the British pomp and circumstance. The flag flying above the palace signifies that the Queen is home. She was busy though, and never came out to say hello. Afterwards, we did our touristy duty and took stern solider photos … and blurry happy photos:
(I won’t say who took this blurry photo, but maybe you can figure it out by process of elimination.)
Our next stop was my choice: the flagship Cath Kidston store. It’s the most girly store ever. You can buy anything and everything covered in a floral pattern.
Having already suffered through two Cath Kidston visits last year in Dublin, Dad knew what it involved and decided to go to a bookstore instead. Usually Dad is up for everything because he’ll say anything is fun with the family. Apparently though, we aren’t so great that we outweigh the agony of being in a Cath Kidston store.
Every day in England I’d ask to go to Cath Kidston and every day Dad would decry “Cat Kitten” or “Cath Tintin” or “Cat Kidton.”
We also popped in to St. James Church. Somehow we had impeccable (some might say, “unfortunate”) timing when it came to visiting churches and arriving just as the afternoon concert or evening song was beginning.
At St. James we listened to an hour of classical piano and clarinet during their daily lunchtime concert. While I had my fill after 10 minutes, it was impressive to see how many Londoners came out in the middle of the day to listen to classical music.
After popping into a few other shops, we took the bus to Notting Hill.
Meandering through the residential streets we sang as much as we could remember of the My Fair Lady classic, “On the Street Where You Live.” A few days later we turned on BBC and guess which song was playing?! T’was magic. That night we met Matt at Dishoom for some of the best Indian food we’ve ever had. New York City doesn’t lack for much, but quality Indian food is strangely hard to find here.
On Thursday morning we had our last partial al fresco English breakfast — much better than a heavy, full English breakfast in our opinion. Then we packed up the flat and said goodbye to London. Next stop: Chichester!