Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, Kensington Palace, Parliament Tour, and Tea

This morning after breakfast, we got ready to head out. We walked to Buckingham Palace, which wasn’t too, too far away from our hotel. We first passed the Guard’s museum, it was so cool to see the Beefeaters in their uniforms. They marched a little, and did a little routine.
 
When we arrived at Buckingham Palace, there so many people everywhere. I thought maybe there was going to be a royal outing, or what. I wasn’t sure what the hold up was, or why the reasoning for the crowd. I politely asked someone, and I almost asked if they speak English, in french. I forgot where I was for a second. The woman said, “The changing of the guard is about to happen. I thanked her and walked away.

We found spot to try and catch a glimpse of the ceremony. I stood on a railing, and leaned on Drew’s shoulders to watch the guards ride in on horses. Drew took a video of it on his phone. Once the guards, entered the palace gates. We walked up to the iron gates to try to get a better view. There so many people everywhere.


The guard changing ceremony lasts a long time. We didn’t stay for the whole ceremony. We had to make sure we were going to be back in time for our parliament tour. We had some time so we walked to Hyde Park:
 
Princess Diana’s Memorial Fountain:
  
Kensington Palace:
  
Parliament Tour:
  
  

St. Stephen’s Hall and when you first walk in, were the only places we could take photos.

 
There were some areas of Parliament where we could not take pictures. We were not allowed to take pictures in the Queen’s robing room; where she would prepare for the State Opening of Parliament, The Royal Gallery; where the royal procession would take place, Prince’s Chamber; part of the house of Lords,  this is where the sovereign would attend only the State Opening of Parliament. Piers Lobby; this is where the members of parliament discuss informal matters, Central Lobby; it is the cross roads between the House of Lords and the House of Commons, Members lobby, and the Common’s Chamber; this is where all the decisions are made. The sovereign can not enter the Common’s chamber.  If they would like to address parliament the sovereign’s usher would have to knock three times on the door with a black rod, and if given permission to enter, they must ask for permission on behalf of the sovereign to enter Parliament. There is such a respect for tradition here. I love it!

After the self-guided tour, we had tea in the banquet hall, overlooking the Thames
 
It was in this moment, that we started to feel let down about going back home to the States. We only had one more day in England, then it was home. Our tea was amazing! It wasn’t as elegant and glamorous as our tea in Bath, but still just as lovely.

When we got back to our hotel, we took a nap and then go ready to explore England go out for dinner. Drew wanted to go to a traditional England Pub. We were on a mission. On our way to the Red Lion, I saw this cute little set up, and had to take picture with it:

The Red Lion was packed with not a place to sit, so we went and got fish and chips at a pub called the badger.  After our dinner, we tried the Red Lion again, and this time there was a spot to sit and have a drink!

At the Red Lion, there was this picture on the wall, and I read it and saw the name Dickens! I was in the same bar as Charles Dickens! I love it. I was in literary lover’s Heaven!
 
While we were having drinks, in walks a couple. It was a father and daughter. They just got back from touring the Chard and seeing a show. They wanted to stop at Pub for a drink, before heading home. We offered her father, one of our chairs. He had to be in his ’80s, still enjoying a beer at Pub. I can respect that very much. We talked with them about the monarchy. They are big supporters of Charles and Camilla. One thing, I noticed there is this huge support for Charles and Camilla. They all believe in their love story. Rarely ever is there sympathy for Diana, and the anguish that she went through.  My opinion on the matter, is that yes it must have been terrible for Charles and Camilla to not be together, and to not be the one you love, but at the same time I can’t help but feel sympathetic for Diana and how she suffered from Bulimia all in the name of the duty. The Queen finally allowed them to be separated. Her death was tragic. I don’t know it is all so sad to me. I always thought there wasn’t a team Camilla, but there is and it is alive and well supported in England. I can’t say that I share those same feelings, but is that treason?
Well what good is a blog, then if you can’t share your opinions on the matter, so here goes. I mean no offense to England or the English: When the Queen passes away,  I would like to see Charles abdicate the throne, because the thought of Camilla as Queen turns my stomach. I would like to see William as King. He would make a much better King. My rant is over now.
After two drinks at the Red Lion, we were on our way back to the hotel, but not before some amazing pictures of Westminster at night:
 

 

Tower of London, Tower Bridge, & Rain Delay

This morning, we woke up early got showered, got dressed, and then went downstairs to have breakfast. After breakfast, we went back to our room, and packed up our book bags, grabbed our umbrellas and we were out the door to the metro station. We took the metro to the Tower of London. When we got off the metro, you walked through a tunnel and I saw this image of Anne Boelyn in the tunnel:
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As soon as we saw the tower, Image may contain: sky and outdoorI had a feeling that came over me like no other. It felt like an eerie feeling, like some bad things went down here. I was so nervous. I didn’t know what to expect.
When we entered into the courtyard of the palace, there were guards in period costumes, who kept everything in order. They were not pleasant, and didn’t like to help you, or give you any history. They kept it very simple and straightforward.

The first part of the tower, we entered was the Medieval part of the, also known as St. Thomas’ tower. This is where King Edward the 1st stayed when he would visit the tower.Image may contain: table and indoor Image may contain: indoor
This is where Henry the VI died on May 21st 1471:
Image may contain: indoorAfter the Medieval Tower, if you follow the map, it takes you to Lanthorn tower, this where they kept artifacts of Courtly life, from King Edward the 1st’s reign. After Lanthorn tower, you enter Salt Tower, and this was probably the most chilling of all. People carved their hands into the wall before they died.

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After you leave Salt Tower, you enter Broad Arrow, this is  Image may contain: sky and outdoor
where the guards would protect the palace from being infiltrated by peasants, and the enemy. Look at that view of tower bridge!
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One thing, Drew and I did, but I do not have pictures of, because they were not allowed was the Queen’s Crown Jewels. The building that houses the crowned jewels a guarded by British Military Guards. After we saw the crowned Jewels, I was standing in front of the Waterloo Barracks (those green tanks)  When, all of the sudden, I heard “Make Way!” It was so loud in my right ear. I jumped a bit, and then moved out of the way. Another set, of guards was coming to relieve the guards, that were standing there. Drew said, “That is probably the only man, that you are going to let tell you what to do.” I laughed, because it is true!

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After the crowned jewels, we went to “Lower Wakefield Tower.” Supposedly, there are only 23 documented cases of torture in the tower. England wasn’t big on Torture I guess, but the methods they used were so creepy; Scavenger’s Daughter:
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The Rack:                                                                          Manacles
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All these methods look painful, and I would certainly tell them the truth, and all I knew, if I was being tortured like this. One thing that really gave me the creeps the most was seeing Traitors Gate. This is where Anne Boleyn entered:
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Lastly, we saw the final resting place of Anne Boleyn, and the others who were executed by hanging. While they were waiting to be hung, they had to stay in Beauchamp tower.
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This was such a cool experience and awesome to see, but very creepy and very eerie. After we left the Tower, we went to go see Tower Bridge. We got to climb up to the top and go across to the other pillar, of the bridge, you could see the water below our feet!
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Due to a rain delay, we stopped for Fish and Chips to wait out the rain:
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After we finished our fish and chips, we made our way back out again. It was still pretty windy and rainy. We thought lets just go back to the hotel for a nap and dry off, and try to see the Millennium Bridge tomorrow. I felt bad. He really wanted to see the Millennium Bridge.
Once we got off the metro, at Westminster station, we saw these amazing cupcakes, they were gourmet.  We had to get some for a snack and dessert later. They were from Lola’s Cupcakes: Pomegranate Apple Blossom, Vanilla, and I can’t remember the two Drew picked out. When we got back to the hotel, I made us some tea, and we one cupcake each, and then got showered, and then took a nap.
Image may contain: foodWhen we got dressed and wandered around Westminster Pier, and decided to have a beer on Thames:
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After our beer, we wandered back to our hotel, we had another busy day ahead of us tomorrow.

Bath, England

This morning we got up early at 6:00am. We both felt so well rested having finally slept in a bed. A firm bed to be exact. We got showered, dressed, got ready, and went to the hotel breakfast. When we were seated, they asked if we wanted coffee. They poured our coffee for us, then we could get up and go to the breakfast buffet. Contrary to popular belief, I am a simple gal when it comes to breakfast. I am not much of a breakfast person either. I did see they had croissants and I love croissants. I put one on my plate, then I went to the hot foods area. I noticed they had scrambled eggs, but it was the runny sunny side up scrambled eggs, and the bacon was whole bacon, and probably delicious, but I like simple thin bacon not used to seeing bacon like that, baked beans; I only eat those at cook out if that, black pudding; some kind of food that was shaped in black circles with pork in it I passed on that, but I did see someone making an omelette. Omelette? yes please! I asked for an all vegetable omelette the guy said, give him “5 mins.” Okay, so I made my way over to the table with my croissant. I nibbled on my croissant and waited until Drew came back with his plate, which was full, before going to check on my omelette.

When I approached the omelette station, he handed me my plate. The omelette looked so good. I sat down at the table across from Drew and we ate breakfast, and planned our day. I had so much I wanted to in Bath and I was so well rested! I couldn’t wait to see Bath!
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When we finished breakfast, we went up to the room and got ready to leave. We grabbed our book bags, then went downstairs, out of the hotel, and into the madness that is the metro station. We approached the information desk, and waited to see what platform the train for Bath was departing on. This was where everyone else was standing around.  (I forgot to add, after we got showered last night we went down to the station and bought our tickets for the train to Bath.)

When they finally announced the platform, everyone ran to their assigned platforms to board the train. It was a mad dash to the platforms. I almost got lost in the crowd, but being short I was able to navigate my way successfully. Drew is so tall and I can pick him out of a crowd anywhere. I always have been able to. 🙂
When we boarded the train, it was an hour and 26 minutes, until we arrived in Bath.
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We had no clue where to go, once we got off the train, but we saw this sign so we knew we were in the right area. Bath is the cute historic town. Everything looks like it is from another time, so well preserved. bath

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is me walking, quaint shops, narrow streets, no pavement, but cement blocks. It is so cute and peaceful, very relaxing. Our first stop was the roman baths. I didn’t care too much for the history. It is a bit too far back for me to imagine, but Drew really enjoyed it. They had statues of Julius Caesar and various baths that were in this Spa and what they were used for. There is still a working Spa where you can go for wellness and massages, but we didn’t have the time or money for all that.

 

We did get to put our hands in some really old water, that roman’s used to bathe in.

After we did this, we saw the sign that says, “Do not touch the water, drink it, or bathe in it. k the water, or bathe in it.” hehe oops!

 

We did get to drink actual Thermal water, just like Kiera Knightly did in the movie the Duchess, but I didn’t get to wear a pretty dress, while drinking it. The water tastes like mineral water. It is warm, and has a sulfur taste to it. It isn’t too bad. I had a couple cups of it.

After the spa, we had tea in the Pump Room:

 

 

The best way to describe this experience is like having a tea party with the love of your life. I have always had tea parties as a little girl, but having one like this with the love your life, in this gorgeous Georgian style room was a dream come true.
We had a tray full of goodies, scones, sandwiches, macrons, etc. We could not finish it all, but we were so relaxed.

After Tea in the Pump Room, we went to go explore more of Bath. I stumbled upon Jane Austen, in her novels, Persuasion and North hanger Abbey both take place in Bath.

“Oh, who can ever be tired of Bath”-Jane Austen
I am not really a huge Jane Austen fan, but it as great to stumble upon her and take a picture with her. I do like the time period of her novels, and the characters, but something about the style of her writing, but I don’t have beef with her. We did not have time to go into the Jane Austen center.

We had tickets to see the Fashion Museum, which was going to be held in the Bath Assembly Rooms. I was so excited. The Bath Assembly rooms was one of the locations where they filmed my absolute favorite movie, “The Duchess.”
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When we walked into the Bath Assembly rooms, we told them we were here for the fashion museum, we showed the receptionist our tickets, and she told us that the museum is downstairs, and she told us what room to go, but we were free to look around. They were having an event going on in the Tea Room. We couldn’t enter, it as the Bath Festival so there was a group of speakers there, but the Tea room is where they filmed this scene in the movie, where the Duchess Duchess is presented to the admiring crowd and is titled, “the empress of fashion.” I was a little bummed, that I couldn’t see this room.

Straight ahead was the Great Octagon room this the room where in the movie The Duchess,” Georgiana is confronted by the Duke in Bath. He gives her an ultimatum give Grey up. If she does not return to London with him, then her dreams of changed world and Grey’s dreams of becoming Prime minister will be “dead as ash” and she will never see her Children again. We were able to step inside the Great Octagon room. Although there was a book fair going on, I was still able to see the room where they filmed the scene.

 

 

 

 

 

After the Great Octagon room, we went downstairs to the Fashion Museum. The exhibit was titled 100 Years of Fashion. had on display, all sorts of dresses, and outfits from the different time periods leading up to modern day fashion. It was so cool to see. We even got to try on period costumes.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we finished at the Fashion Museum, we had one more stop to make. I couldn’t wait to get there, #1 Royal Crescent:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The royal crescent is another location where they filmed a scene from the movie The Duchess: Image result for the duchess royal crescent

 

We also went inside #1 Royal Crescent: “Henry Sandford was the first resident of No. 1 Royal Crescent. He lived at the house from 1776 until his death in Bath in 1796. Recent research has greatly improved our understanding of who Henry Sandford was and how he might have lived in No.1  Royal Crescent and the interpretation of the museum has used these details to bring the house to life.”-http://no1royalcrescent.org.uk/history/

There were so many gorgeous rooms in this house, and they all reflected the time period, but this room in particular gave me a certain feeling.

This is the lady’s parlor. Where the women would retire and have tea, and play the harpsichord. I snuck a picture of the harpsicord. The woman said it is on loan and there for we cannot take pictures.
However, in this room, there is a painting on the wall above the fire place. The woman looked so familiar. I thought it might be the Duchess of Devonshire. I inquired about the painting. The guide said, “It was an unknown woman of the time.” I didn’t believe her and the look of disbelief was written all over my face. The guide asked me, “Who I thought it might be?” I said, “It looks like the Duchess of Devonshire, Georgiana Spenser Cavendish.” She said, “That is really observant of you, but it is not her. She typically wore those big hats, and feathers.” I smiled, but she didn’t always have them on. Then, I thought how sad to be marked as an unknown woman of the time. I looked at her and she looked back at me, it felt as though she and I connected it is weird, I know. The guide handed me the binder, that explains all the artifacts in the room, the paintings, and the origin. She let me flip through it. I read the blurb about the painting, “an unknown woman.” I read it and felt so sad and so haunted.

After we left the Royal Crescent, we made a stop at a pub for a drink. 
Then we checked out Bath Abbey, before heading on the train back to the madness that is Paddington, London.

Once we got back to the hotel, we showered and got ready to go dinner. We wanted to go to the most traditional English Pub we could find. We went to The Pride of Paddington, where I had my first English beer titled, “The Proper Job” and fish and chips!
That night, I went to bed so thankful. That night  was our last night in Paddington. Let me say, if you are thinking of traveling to England. Do yourself a favor do not stay in Paddington, unless you don’t mind the crazy amount of people. If you are low key and border line between bougie and hipster like I am, then stay away from Paddington. Stay in Westminster, which I will tell you about later! 🙂 The next day, we traveled to Paris. 🙂