21 April 2007

London - Day 6 - 16 April

the following is from my journal:

Big news. Big, big news. Prince William and his girlfriend have apparently split up! I must get some cheesy tabloids to bring home for the DWAFS to pore over.

We had such a nice leisurely day today. Poor Jonny's feet are very blistered from all of this walking. So today we tried to do slightly less of the meandering.

We went to Harrods again first thing because we realized we missed the tacky Diana and Dodi memorial on our first visit.

So click! we took a quick photo of that and then headed for Buckingham Palace to see the Changing of the Guard. After racing to the palace and weaving through a massive crowd of on-lookers, I saw nothing. I heard a marching band approach and I heard some shouted commands but saw nothing. Disappointing.

So we headed across the circle to St. James Park, bought a couple of ice cream cones, and I guess there was still more guard swapping to come, because here come some more guards up the street, on horse-back, decked out in red uniforms, marching along toward the palace. So Jonny swallowed his ice cream cone whole, ducked under a fence and snapped some nice photos. Perfect.

I finished my ice cream while we walked through St. James Park. We came here with Andy on our first day in London. It is definitely my favorite of all of the parks we've seen. It is just beautiful. We saw a pelican today, just sitting on the path by the water. Jonathan took his picture!

For lunch we bought sandwiches and ate them on the steps of the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. I had tuna with cucumber. It's so funny -- I know that cucumber sandwiches are an English tea tradition and all, but the English really put cucumbers on almost all of their sandwiches, the way we use lettuce over here. I rather like it!

Then we went into the National Portrait Gallery so I could see Anne Boleyn's portrait. What an incredible museum! I saw portraits of Anne Boleyn, Catherine of Aragon, Catherine Parr, Lady Jane Grey, Elizabeth, Henry VIII, etc. etc. So incredible. You see these same portraits over and over in books, but to really see them up close... Incredible. I just stared at Anne Boleyn's face. She really was so beautiful -- you really can see it.

I also saw the portrait of Jane Austen, drawn by her sister, Cassandra. It is the only picture of her drawn during her lifetime, and the sad thing is, the relatives who saw the picture said it didn't look anything like her. So we have no idea what she looked like, really.

Downstairs they had a section for modern portraits, and Jonny was so excited they had the cartoony portraits of Blur from their album cover. I could almost see the excitement shimmering off of him. He was like a little kid. So cute.

After the Portrait Gallery we just walked and walked. (So much for nursing our feet!) We always seem to wind up in the Leicester Square/theatre district. Today we found this wonderful little area of neat vintage shops called Carnaby. We had a fantastic time poking in all of the shops.

This was too funny though: We sat at a cafe to rest our feet and had some cakes and cappuccino. We go to pay and --uh,oh-- they don't take credit cards. So I had to stay there and wait while Jonny trotted all over trying to find a working ATM. So classic. Like a sketch from an old movie or something.

Once we had paid our tab, we walked some more. We came back to our hotel to freshen up and went back to the patisserie for dinner. I had a pizza (they were cheap) and Jonny had curry. He is such a great traveller -- always ordering things he can't get at home. Like, he keeps ordering Fanta because you just can't order a Fanta in a restaurant in Fredericksburg. Whereas I just order whatever is cheap and sounds good to me at the time, so 9 times out of 10 it is something I could eat any day. I am way too timid.


We just got back to the hotel room and when we switched on the TV we caught the end of a very confusing segment on the news. Something horrible happened at a school in Virginia. A university. There was a caller on from Virginia, so it was eerie to hear an American accent so suddenly, and we learned there had been many deaths. But we couldn't tell from the pictures which university...

Jonathan just called his mom and we learned it was Tech. How horrible. How horrible horrible horrible.

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