Saturday, June 14, 2014

Day 4 in London-The Queen's Birthday Celebration!

I woke up this morning kinda late but hurried to shower and get my things together for our trip to Buckingham Palace. One of my roommates and I joined three other of our study abroad friends and we took the tube to the underground right next to the Wellington Arch, which is spectacular!! We walked from the underground to Buckingham Palace, maybe a 10 minute walk, and oddly enough, there were almost no people around us. It was pretty early, about 7:25am, but we wanted to get there early! (Events in America have taught us well.) We picked a spot to the right of the palace with gates in front of us and surrounding the area as well. We stood next to a few people who were in chairs and looked to be pretty prepared.
Another group of people were next to us and were all decked out in red, white, and blue! They were from about an hour and a half away from London and were probably the nicest group of people I've met since I've been here. There was also an older couple with their granddaughter from San Diego as well!
It was about 8:30 and I needed to use the restroom so my friend Kent and I walked about half an hour to a cafe to use the restroom and get some food, which was such a good idea in the end. We came back and had the other three girls in our group use the bathroom while we held their spots. Less than 5 minutes after they left, a man and woman asked why we were holding spots and we had to explain to them that they had just left to use the bathroom--which they didn't understand. After they left, another man came and gave us both such a hard time at the fact that there was no one standing in the spots that we were saving and he was probably the most rude man I've ever met in London so far. The nice people next to us even tried to tell him off! Luckily our friends had just stopped to talk to a guard by the Palace gates so we yelled for them to come back before anyone else gave us trouble. 
The police that stood in front of us should have had another title--comedians. They were so engaging and able to speak to the public. They knew we were going to be out there for awhile so getting to know the people they were going to be around was a great way to pass the time. It was just really interesting because police in America are not very social or want to talk to the public, but the police here were awesome. We talked so much that we found out one of them was going to get married in August--congrats in advance Officer Tom Queen!!
We waited for what actually were hours, and eventually there were hundreds of horses, men in uniform, musicians on horses, just so many people. There were fancy cars--jaguars, range rovers, etc. It was incredible the time and effort put in just for the Queen's Birthday, even though her Birthday was in April! We finally got to see the Queen, Kate, William, Harry, Charles, and Camilla all go by in their carriages and it was breathtaking. I wish everyone could have the opportunity to see this event once in their lives because it was so worth the wait. 
They then toured the rest of London for about two hours and came back in their carriages. It was beautiful. The Queen then got out of her carriage and stood on a platform for about 5 minutes waving to the crowd. She then went into the Palace and walked up to the balcony with the rest of the Royals. I never thought I'd ever have to climb over a gate, but today I did. The nice people standing next to us held my hand and I jumped over the gate. I forgot to mention that I had my umbrella in my hand because it had started to rain so when I jumped over, every one shouted "Look! It's Mary Poppins!" That was pretty funny. 
I ran towards the Palace because they let people go and stand where the gates were. Thankfully, everyone in our group had planned out that if we got lost or separated, to go back and meet at the Arch, so after seeing the family on the balcony and all of the planes and colors go over the Palace, I saw two other of my friends and we walked back to the Arch. 
We met with the two others and found out that the Royals had actually driven under the Arch and police had stopped traffic. Our two friends were down there at the time and they got some amazing pictures!!! All of our feet were hurting so we took the tube back to our apartment, stopped at a pizza place for a late lunch, and headed back to our apartments. I took a long nap and rested my feet and now I'm watching The Food Network with some of the other students. Tonight is England vs. Italy in the World Cup at 11 so we're all going to go to a pub and watch the game. I can't wait and hopefully England wins! I'll write tomorrow even though I'm not too sure what we're doing, but I'm sure it'll be great. Cheers!

Check this link out for a quick view of what I saw!

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