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London… June 18, 2000

June 18th, 2000 · No Comments

London Guard wearing a bear fur hatThis poor chap endured at least 50 cameras clicking in his face, before he clicked his shoes and marched back and forth a few times for a break. Note the size of the shoes, they wear them extra big so they can wiggle their toes around inside. They stand motionless among the crowd, watching for bad people who want to hurt the Monarchy. It was at least 90 degrees outside when this picture was taken. He must have been sweltering.

London has an abundance of things to do. Since we have 3 full days, we don’t feel the pressure that we normally feel in a city. The first thing we did is take the “tube” to downtown and buy a double-decker bus ticket. It’s one of those buses where they tour the city and you can hop on and off at certain points of interest. My first goal was to see the “changing of the guard”. Since it was very early Sunday morning we thought we would be beating the crowd.

Wrong! Half of the people from America are in London. It is so crowded with tourists, I have never seen anyplace quite so busy. Our bus tour took us to a walking tour, where we went to see the guards comes out and prepare to march to Buckingham Palace. It was fun to watch and even more fun to follow them down the street, marching all the while to their music. I kept trying to take good pictures, but never fail, some bozo would jump in front, giving me a get shot of bozo’s back or shoulder etc. Once, we waiting for several minutes for the relief guards to come out of the regiment building. I had a perfect spot along the gate. I thought when the time came, the police would stop the oncoming traffic. Well the time came and traffic continued to come in the opposite direction, just at the perfect moment a driving bozo stopped his car right in front of my camera, obscuring my view. I gave up on taking decent pictures at that point.

London’s Big BenThe Big Bus Tour was actually a great way to get a broad view of the city. The only problem was the sun (NOT COMPLAINING HERE), we had left early in the morning without a thought to bringing sun glasses, hats or even sun screen. It was so beautiful, but sunny all day, both Larry and I got sunburned. You would think being outside for nearly 6 months, we would know better!

We kept drinking water to keep hydrated, but the tour was so comprehensive and the traffic so heavy, we never got to do the whole tour. I think it’s actually bigger than most people can do. We did make a full circle, and even took the Thames River cruise but by the days end we were beat. It is easier to ride a bike 90 miles! (almost).

London has over 400 parks within the city. One of the famous Hyde park has a section in it of particular interest. It is called speakers park. Here on Sunday afternoons, people who wish to speak, come set up their “soapboxes”. They stand on the soapbox and talk about the topic of their choice, while others can come and listen. They can talk about anything but they are not allowed to insult the Queen and the royal family.

This is a great idea, probably one who’s time has come and gone, but I liked it just the same. Now instead of the public park soapbox, we use the internet. Same principle, different format.

London has gone wild for the new millennium. They have constructed a giant Ferris wheel on the banks of the Thames river, just across from Big Ben. The ferries wheel is really and observation wheel, passengers only go around once, it takes 30 minutes to do so and costs a small fortune, 22 pounds! We passed on the ride, but I did take a few pictures. The wheel will be taken down and moved to a different location in a few years.

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Tags: British Isles · England · world travel