Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Tourist Walk In London 2

I probably should have started this particular day of sightseeing at Buckingham Palace. The Changing of the Guard takes place every day at 11.30am from April to July (on alternate days the rest of the year). This is understandably a really popular ceremony for tourists with all the pomp and pageantry that the British are famed for! Having said that, I have never seen the Guard Mounting (the official ceremonial title) so I really should have gone to the Palace first. Oh well, there’ll be other opportunities.

Coming out of Green Park, I did what I always do when I am near Buckingham Palace: I checked the flagpole! Ever since I was a child it has excited me to know that the Queen is home when I’m passing by! I was in luck this day as the Royal Standard was flying at full mast. When the Queen is elsewhere no flag flies above the Palace.

I hung around to one side in the vain hope that Her Majesty might just appear. I have only seen her once as a young child when she visited my home town and my mum helped push me up a lamppost to get a glimpse of our Monarch. But this was not the day for another sighting unfortunately!

I walked by the beautiful golden Canada Gate (right) separating Green Park from the Queens Gardens and admired the beautiful Victoria Memorial. Buckingham Palace is looking a little on the grubby side these days but the Victoria Memorial looks shiny and new, making me wonder if it has been cleaned recently.

With my back to the Palace I took my life in my hands to get some photos of the Mall, resplendently decorated with Union Flags. I continued across the Mall to the Memorial Gardens and the edge of St James’s Park. This was the opposite end of the Park from where I had seen the pelicans recently but the view across the lake was equally beautiful.

Preparing to cross the road towards Buckingham Gate where I once worked, I noticed a plaque on the pavement indicating the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk. I know nothing about this walk but will investigate so that I can follow it later on this summer. Recently I had also noticed a Jubilee Walkway plaque but forgot about it so I need to do a little Royal walk research I think.

Heading towards the other side of Buckingham Palace I was stopped dead in my tracks by blue flashing lights. Police cars and officers were blocking the road and diverting traffic and pedestrians away from the very road that I wanted to walk up. I interrogated the nearest police officer who informed me that there had been an accident and I couldn’t pass through the blockade to get to the Queen’s Gallery and Royal Mews. Potential disaster!

Not one to be deterred by a road accident I took the long route around in the hope that I would find the Royal premises unaffected by the cordons.

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