Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sat 13 June 2009 - The Queen!

Trooping the Color 2009
In honour of the Queen's birthday (which was in April) the British troops are presented for her inspection.

We got to Buckingham Palace at about 9:45 am and got the best spot we could...about 3 people back from the barrier. So, this photo was the best view we got of the Queen and Prince Phillip. Later we got to stand right at the front, but the carriages took a different route than the police said they would on the way back so we only saw the back of her head.

We did get glimpses of Prince Harry and William. The troops and bands were spectacular, in particular the Highland Regiment with their bagpipes. We had a great time talking with the people next to us and to the policeman stationed in front of us. We have some great photos, which we'll post once we have a faster internet connection. Also, I've discovered that my lovely linux laptop doesn't have software for photo editing, which will be necessary with a lot of these photos. Oh, and I got a great little video clip of the Highland Regiment playing their bagpipes...just for you mom! :)

We didn't stay to see the whole royal family on the balcony and the RAF flyover. The crush of people got a little overwhelming and we were not so bright in our planning and we hadn't brought any water or food with us. So, by 1pm Josie was done with the crowd and demanding food. It took quite a while to work our way out of the masses and find a spot for lunch....too late to head off the melt down. After an authentic (and expensive) Italian lunch and a trip back to the hotel to recuperate we headed out for our afternoon of shopping.

We made it to Oxford Street after we discovered that the entire Victoria underground line is shut down on weekends and the replacement bus was held up by the Naked Bike Ride taking place near Hyde Park (at least I think that's where it was). Too bad we weren't early enough to see that too!!

So, shopping in London...we thought the crowds were intense at Trooping the Color!! Double-decker buses lined the street in both lanes for blocks. The sidewalks on both sides of the street were packed with shoppers...speaking all different languages, pushing baby strollers (push chairs), carrying shopping bags...then the shops! Oh my. One of the more trendy young people's kind of stores looked like it had been ransacked. Clothes and shoes were in piles on the floor where people had discarded items they decided not to buy. A couple of stores we gave up on going into because you could barely move much less look at clothes. Josie wasn't impressed with London high fashion, but she did get a pair of funky jean capris.

I thought 'Boobtube' was a TV!?!?

We ate dinner at a delicious vegetarian restaurant in Covent Garden called Food for Thought. Josie proclaimed that it was the best food she'd had since we left home. I think I agree with her. The restaurant was amazingly popular and we ended up eating in this little nook sitting on the floor on pillows. Fabulous whole of th best quiches I've ever had with three salads on the side including a baby potato salad, a black bean and corn salad and a fresh green salad with mint. Josie ate brown rice with the salads (yes, she ate BROWN rice) and a fresh fruit bowl with creamy yogurt. What fun!