30.10.07

My feet hurt.

Well, surprisingly they actually don't. However I did a lot of foot travel today, so they ought to. Thus I'm hoping the foot rub fairy will pay me a visit (though I'm not holding my breath).

I decided to go to Buckingham Palace today to see the changing of the guard. At this time of year it happens once every two days, instead of daily like in the summer. Today happened to be an exception, or something. There was some big to do for Saudi Arabia there today, with flags for the country flying all over the place. The guard band played and marched around and such so I thought perhaps the regular changing of the guard would occur until I heard a nearby policeman say otherwise. Nevertheless there was an immense crowd of people, and I even saw Prince Charles there... twice! The first time I saw him in the back of a car leaving the grounds, then later on in a horse-drawn carriage with some Saudi representative coming back to the palace. Alas my camera hand was too slow to capture a decent photo of either time, though I barely caught him in a snap in the carriage. I also barely caught the Queen in her carriage during the procession, but you can sort of halfway see her.

[Edit: The reason for the ceremony was a state visit from the Saudi king.]

After the ceremonial stuff I wandered around the park adjacent to the Palace and was surprised to hear cannonfire... there were some soldier type people with 4 or 5 cannons firing off rounds (blanks, no doubt). I wasn't sure if that was a special event for what had just taken place at the Palace or if it was a regular thing. I captured some video and with any luck I can get it compressed so it fits nicely for others to check out.

I left the Palace area and walked up The Mall, snapping some pics of palace guard type people, cops, horses, and so on and made my way up to Trafalgar Square with its huge monument to Horatio, Lord Nelson, martyr of the Napoleonic War. I didn't know all of what I wanted to do today but in looking at the map in my guidebook I saw Trafalgar Square was close enough to reach from Buckingham Palace so I knew I'd at least go there. What I didn't notice/realize when I was checking the map was it was close to other worthwhile places too.

Trafalgar Square sits in front of the National Gallery, so of course I had to go around there a bit. I didn't go into the gallery since art really doesn't turn my crank in the least (and multiple trips to the National Gallery in Ottawa have reinforced that over the years), but I took in the surroundings regardless.

I found out the Canadian High Commission is also right by there as well, so while I didn't go in (I wasn't carrying my passport so I wasn't sure if they'd let me in and just shoot the breeze with some fellow Canucks or somesuch) I was glad to learn where it was, just in case I ever needed to know that or require any of the services provided there. Earlier in the day I contemplated going to the Canadian Embassy after noticing it on a map but really didn't bother to notice where I was going to be in relation to it, and then wham, there it was.

After leaving the Trafalgar Square area I walked around aimlessly for a bit, but noticed Piccadilly Circus wasn't far off. So I figured sure, I'll go there. It's a poor man's Times Square to say the least, and it's FAR less impressive during the day versus pictures I've seen of it at night, but it's just one of those landmarks people flock to and I was no exception. I walked there, took some photos, sat on the steps by the fountain for a while and contemplated what to do next.

About 1-1 1/4 km away was Downing Street and the Churchill Museum, near Parliament. I didn't realize they were that close to Parliament when I was there the first time around, and I thought it would be worth a trip down there to check things out. One negative about Downing Street is that while once upon a time the street was open to foot traffic, it's been cordoned off after an attempted IRA attack a few years back... so the closest you can get is a huge iron gate by Whitehall. Still, knowing that in advance, I thought I should mosey over anyway, and so I did.

I didn't bother going to the Churchill museum, despite being quite intrigued to do so, instead deciding to either save that for another day or just skip it altogether (or perhaps save it for when someone comes to visit and we invariably go near Parliament).

After all that I decided to call it a day as far as sightseeing was concerned and headed back to write this and upload some pictures while I contemplated dinner plans.

I've been told the washing machine is halfway fixed (hot water is a go) but another plumber needs to come to fix the rest (the cold water?) and all should be well by tonight. Therefore I think I shall declare tomorrow to (finally) be laundry day since I'm definitely running short of stuff to wear. Plus it's Halloween tomorrow and I don't know how crazy it'll be out there in the world.

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