11.24.2013 - 11.24.2013
We woke up about 8:30a and Mike was feeling much better today. We wanted to see the Horse Guards at 10a so we headed to Bermondsey station by the apartment only to find out that the Jubilee line was shut down between Waterloo and Westminster. So we had to readjust our plan of travel to get there.
We made it to Parliament Square and walked along the street to the Horse Guards Parade. On the way, we passed the home of the British Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street.
And a memorial to the women of WWI.
We arrived at Horse Guards Parade but not in time for the ceremony. At least we were able to see the Horse Guards as they were leaving to go to Buckingham Palace.
We crossed the street to walk through St. James Park on our way to Buckingham Palace.
There were lots of ducks and birds in the park and unfortunately lots of people feeding them and even children kicking at them! I wish people would not feed wildlife. It is not good for them. And I certainly wish people would not let their kids chase and kick the ducks.
We arrived at Buckingham Palace on the other side of the park and it was packed full of people waiting for the changing of the guard.
The Horse Guards arrived shortly after we did.
The people who stick their ipads up in everyone else's pictures are really annoying!
We didn't even try to find a spot on the front gate but were able to find one on the left side. We saw some activity inside the gates but never did see the changing of the guard.
A little after 11a we decided we'd had enough of the royal palace. We walked back towards Parliament Square on Birdcage Walk and came upon more guards. These were of the miniature variety, kids dressed just like the Buckingham Palace guards.
During this part of the day it wasn't freezing cold or raining so the walk along Birdcage felt and looked very fall-like.
After arriving back at Parliament Square, we decided to have a late breakfast. The only place we could find open and nearby was Red Lion (not our first choice but it would do). We went upstairs to the dining room where I ordered a full English breakfast and a hot chocolate and Mike ordered a bacon sandwich and coffee.
We then went downstairs to the pub portion where Mike had a Seafarers beer and we contemplated our next move.
Next we walked across the way to the Churchill War Rooms, the underground bunker where Churchill's government lived and worked during various periods of WWII. Construction was completed in 1939, days before Britain declared war on Germany.
The Cabinet room
Churchill's telephone office
Bedroom of a Cabinet minister
The telecommunications room
The map room
This bunker sustained hundreds of lives over a five to six year period while bombs went off in the city overhead. Everything was left completely intact, just as it was the day they closed the doors when Japan surrendered in 1945.
We spent some time in the gift shop then walked from the War Museum towards Trafalgar Square. We passed Admiralty Arch.
We were headed to the National Gallery but decided to stop in for a drink at the Silver Cross pub first.
After our drink, we walked to the National Gallery just down the street. There were quite a few people in Trafalgar Square out front taking pictures or just hanging out.
We could not figure out why there was a blue rooster in the Square. After returning home, I googled it to find out that it's a humorous symbol of Britain's defeat of France in the Battle of Trafalgar. Both ultramarine blue and the rooster are symbols of France.
On our way into the museum, I saw this dog lying in the street. He belonged to a street performer. He reminded me very much of our Taylor that we lost five years ago to old age.
We spent about an hour in the National Gallery, gazing at masterpieces of the last few centuries. It was dark when we came out and we stopped in the square to get our directions right. We were approached by a bum asking for money. When we refused his request, we were subjected to a tirade about how Americans come over and take all of the jobs! Really? I don't think that's the reason he's unemployed, could be the liquor on his breath but that's just a guess.
We had dinner reservations at Rules Restaurant at 7p and about an hour or so to kill. We made our way in that direction and decided to stop into another little pub called The Marquis for some cider. I'm not a beer drinker at all but I did enjoy the cider. At reservation time, we walked up the street to Rules, a place in Covent Garden that bills itself as the oldest restaurant in London, established in 1798. Rules is a classic game restaurant and even owns a hunting estate where game is raised for the restaurant. Our table wasn't quite ready yet so we had a couple of drinks in the bar. We moved to our table shortly thereafter.
We started by splitting a green salad with rocket. It was good but had very little dressing (especially for us Americans who drench everything). We shared a bottle of Spanish wine with dinner. Mike ordered the pork belly with lentils and veggies.
I ordered the loin of roe deer with artichokes. It was incredibly delicious. A European roe deer is about the equivalent of an American whitetail.
After our dinner, we walked back to the tube station for our short ride home.
On our walk in between the Bermondsey tube station and our apartment, there were a couple of little stores at which we would stop to buy beer, snacks, or whatever. City Wines was one we stopped at frequently.
Before calling it a night, Mike decided to try his hand at night-time pics from the balcony. He took a time delay pic using the lights from the ferry.
It had been a long day so we once again watched a little BBC and went to bed.