First up, a tour of 19 State rooms at Buckingham Palace for Jana & girls. Scott sat this one out enjoying time at a cafe doing some work and watched some of the changing of the guard. The tour, complete with free audio guide was amazing and we loved it. We learned about Palace protocol, what different rooms are used for, saw the Royal dining room, more of the Queen's jewels, walked some of the gardens, created our own ciphers and more!
Scott watched for 15 minutes, saw a lot of pomp and circumstance, guards moving right to left, etc. and then decided to leave. He's assumes everyone got "changed" correctly.
We learned that when the state flag is up, the Queen is not home but when her own flag is up, she is there. She was not there today. The history, art collections and one's imagination about life in the Palace was captivating!
View of back side of Palace and the lawns leading to the gardens and lake.
Jana has wanted to take a double decker bus tour since arriving in London and today was the day! We decided to use the bus as part sight seeing vessel, part taxi to get us to places we wanted to see or needed to be.
Beautiful skies for us bus ride! We've been thank by many Brits for bringing nice weather with us.
First stop, Madame Tussaud's where we were immediately surprised to see the figures were not roped off and that you could walk right up and touch them, put your arms around them, etc. Interesting to learn over 200 measurements are taken of a person to create their wax figure and each hair is added one by one! Turns out there's a lot of history behind the the Madame and her museum. More on that below.
Look, George again!
This is Armitabh Bachman, a Bollywood star and prominent Indian actor. I had to take his picture because a) I tried to move out of his way because I thought he was real and b) the detail on him is so amazing!
Scott coaching Tiger on a putt
Sydney having a peaceful moment
Finally, we get our torch picture!
Shelby and Becks!
This was the warning before entering the 4D show. Back pokes???
It was a quick animated cartoon with Super Heros with real water, wind, knifes in your seats and bullets coming at you.
Thanks Noah, great recommendation!
Packed lunches again today and ate on the double decker under clear blue skies which was fantastic. However, get a load of the types of options available all around, even in train stations...
Quick trip to Hamley's Toy Store which has been in London since 1780!
It's five stories with demonstrations, a cafe/candy store and every toy, game, puzzle imaginable. Imagine FAO Schwartz but more crowded!
Look what we found in a moment of desperation! The front side is a billboard but the back, saved us although we had to pay 50 pence, or $1 USD. But we did get a two-fer as Jana went too!
Last stop of the day, US VBall Reception at Gore Hotel. Nice to see old and new friends and support the US teams. Quick adult dinner with Beals, Klostermans & Twohigs before they all headed to a match and we fetched the girls who were sequester in the Twohig's hotel room. Thank goodness they could watch swim!
We finally got the girls dinner about 9pm. Across the street was this typical corner pub. They close much earlier here, most at 11pm. Probably because they start drinking much earlier, best we can figure.
Next street corner, we nicknamed it "American Row"
This is was the girls least favorite part of the day for sure. We're on the bus home about 10pm and a few rows away a Brit guy, about 18 or so, was so drunk, he started vomiting out the window from the top of the double decker. On top of seeing something similar at beach volleyball, we're fairly certain the girls will never want to drink alcohol!
Sydney: All of it. Especially seeing swim results in Barb & Kev's hotel room.
Jana: Audio tour @ B. Palace, double decker tour w/blue skies & dinner with USA Vball friends.
Scott: Bus tour, USA Vball reception & dinner w/friends.
*The attraction’s history is a rich and fascinating, dating back to the Paris in 1770. It was here Madame Tussaud learnt to model wax likenesses under the tutelage of her mentor, Dr Philippe Curtius. At the age of 17, she became art tutor to King Louis XVI’s sister at the Palace Of Versailles and then, during the French Revolution, was forced to prove her allegiance to the feudalistic nobles by making the death masks of executed aristocrats. Madame Tussaud came to Britain in the early 19th century alongside a travelling exhibition of revolutionary relics and effigies of public heroes and rogues.
At a time when news was communicated largely by word of mouth, Madame Tussauds’ exhibition was a kind of travelling newspaper, providing insight into global events and bringing the ordinary public face-to-face with the people in the headlines. Priceless artefacts from the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars brought to vividly life events in Europe which had a direct bearing on everyday lives. Figures of leading statesmen and, in the Chamber of Horrors, notorious villains put faces to the names on everyone’s lips and captured the public imagination. In 1835, Madame Tussauds’ exhibition established a permanent base in London as the Baker Street Bazaar - visitors paid ‘sixpence’ for the chance to meet the biggest names of the day. The attraction moved to its present site in Marylebone Road in 1884.