Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Our Trip to London + The Royal Wedding

M and I made our first visit to the UK after our trip to Greece in April. We were lucky to stay with friends of M's family in Hertford, just outside London, who were most kind hosts. During our stay we toured around London and took part in the Royal Wedding celebrations. We also sampled proper British things like tube rides, fish and chips, pub beer, Indian food, and tea.

View of the London skyline from an open-top bus tour

Tower Bridge
The London Eye, the Thames River, Big Ben, Parliament

We walked around London the day before the wedding, unknowingly taking the same route the royal procession took the next day. There were quite a few people camped out along the route but the crowds weren't actually too bad. The media presence was certainly more impressive than the crowds.

At Westminster the day before the Wedding
Media set up at Westminster the day before the Wedding

At Westminster the day before the Wedding

Westminster the day before the Wedding

Crazies camping out at Westminster the day before the Wedding

Media stalls set up in front of Buckingham Palace the day before the wedding

Billy Bush from Access Hollywood interviewing the crazies

Good Morning America at Trafalgar Square
On the day of the wedding we tried to get to the Mall and Buckingham Palace to watch the royal procession. We didn't get there in time, but we did get to watch the wedding itself on a screen in Green Park, the public park next to Buckingham Palace. We were lucky to get a seat there as areas around Buckingham Palace were shut down as they filled up with crowds, Green Park included. After the wedding ceremony and the procession the Mall was opened up to the public for the "balcony appearance". We walked to Clarence House, home of Prince Charles and family, and then onto the Mall. We got as far as the roundabout in front of Buckingham Palace for the balcony apperance but were unfortunately stuck behind the Queen Victoria monument and we unable to actually see the Royals. We had a great time anyway. The crowds in London were incredibly polite, well organized and generally pleasant. The atmosphere was really nice.

Watching the wedding at Green Park

The crowds at Green Park
Crowds outside Clarence House
Busloads of VIP wedding guests driving to Buckingham Palace
On the Mall

In front of Buckingham Palace
Snipers on Buckingham Palace
The fly by before the balcony appearance (with Queen Victoria blocking our view)

During the rest of our visit we saw the British Museum, the Tate Modern and as I mentioned earlier, the Lion King musical. We also walked through Trafalgar Square and the lovely southbank area along the Thames.
M at the Olympic countdown clock in Trafalgar Sqaure

Ai Weiwei's Sunflower Seeds installation at the Tate Modern (hand painted ceramic seeds)

Sushi on the southbank
Proper chips on the southbank

The British Museum

The Elgin Marbles at the British Museum

The British Museum
The Lion King musical at the Lyceum Theatre (in a word - brilliant!)
We loved London more than we thought we would. It's more beautiful than anyone lets on, very easy to navigate and there is truly too much to see and do there. The Londoners lived up to their high reputation of politeness and friendliness. London also reminded us a lot of Canada, which makes perfect sense really, but had all of the European culture and charm we love about this side of the world. We will definitely be going back to London in the future. Thank you to our excellent hosts once again.

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