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Of Palaces and Towers in London

So we left off after taking a look at Westminster Abbey where I wistfully dreamed of marrying a prince and gawked at the beautiful architecture and almost incomprehensible amount of history that has occurred there.

Then we made a mad dash to Buckingham Palace to try and catch the changing of the guard.

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And a funny thing happened.  So we’re walking nearer and nearer and the crowds become thicker and thicker…. and we hear music.  And it’s FAMILIAR music.  Molly and I looked at each other and had one of those scripted-from-a-sitcom moments and said together, ‘It’s September!’.

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buckingham palace @ BandBBuildALife.comYes, it seems that in honor of May Day (or maybe they do it all the time?) the Royal Guardsman’s band was out in the courtyard playing music, including the song entitled ‘September’ made famous by Earth Wind and Fire.  So naturally there was some jamming to be had while we waited for the ceremony.

“Ba-dee-ahhh-dee-ahh-dee ahhh never was a cloudy dayyyyyy”  Now try to dance to that song like a toy soldier.  Not so easy is it? 😉

After the band finished playing a few more songs, including a tune by Elton John (forget which one now though) they marched right out and around the circle.

One half peeled left, the other right, and then they marched right on out of view.

What I missed in these photos was the fact that there was one guard who somehow missed the marching memo and had to catch up – running in marching step – to reach the rest of the group.  For a second there I thought he was going to lose his bearskin hat!After their procession out of the area, we were free to move about again, so we headed to that statue in the middle of the square – roundabout? area for a better view of the Palace.  But not before a quick shot at the gates!buckingham palace @ BandBBuildALife.comHow about those crests on your front door?  I don’t even want to think about how heavy the gates must be with all of that on there.buckingham palace @ BandBBuildALife.comOf course not all the guards got to go for a walk.  Somebody had to stay and watch over things.  Allll alone. buckingham palace @ BandBBuildALife.combuckingham palace @ BandBBuildALife.comErin and I were a little photo-crazed here, but we did stop and actually get in a few shots too, thanks in part to Molly.  ….ohhhkayyy truth, I did take a few self portraits here too…buckingham palace @ BandBBuildALife.com buckingham palace @ BandBBuildALife.comThe entire time I was there I kept thinking about how it was that very balcony that Will and Kate greeted the crowds after their wedding, and shared their famed TWO kisses.

Via here

*sigggghhh*  Fortunately I have my own William. 🙂

After the palace we took a break for lunch before heading to the Tower of London.  Which is much more than a tower, and is in fact an entire castle.  CHECK.

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Trouble was, we didn’t know that ahead of time and didn’t plan for hours and hours of time to wander around.  But we still crossed the drawbridge to see what it was all about.

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So though we didn’t get to see the torture exhibits, we did see some examples of how the castle was set up for various monarchs who stayed there – though rarely.

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And even saw the deathplace of King Henry VI…. as creepy as that may be to include in your sightseeing.

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…come to think of it, with all the graves we walked over in Cathedrals and death locations cited….. there’s a lot of dead guys inherently included in a trip to London.  Huh.

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Though it has a rich history for torture and beheadings, the Tower of London was still a beautiful castle inside and out.

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The location of the Tower also allowed for a great view of Tower Bridge.

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And strange as they may have been, there were sculptures of all kinds of animals around the castle grounds that were to depict some of the animals that had been kept there when it was used as a zoo.

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But of course no visit to the Tower of London is complete without stopping by the Crown Jewels.

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And given that the jewels are really kept there, it was most certainly heavily guarded.   Though I am sure there was more than just this guy outside (packing some SERIOUS heat!) to watch over them.

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I mean LOOK AT THAT GUN.  Holy cow!  Once inside you weren’t allowed to take photos, but we made friends with one of the gentlemen inside named Barry.  He was super friendly and was telling us all kinds of awesome details, like how they split what was the worlds largest diamond into 9 pieces, one of which is the large diamond on the front of the Queen’s crown.  He even discussed how the succession worked and how after the sad day that the Queen passes and Charles becomes king, the currency in the entire nation is collected and re-issued with Charles’ face on it.  He was a wealth of information and had it not been closing time, I’m sure we would have easily spent a few hours talking to him!

But by then the sun was setting and we had to hurry on to our next stop, the London Eye!

stay tuned!

~ Beth

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