UK chapter 6

Guard Mounting (Changing of the Guard) is one of the London’s “must-see”. Although I have been told that I saw this when I was a baby… this was the first time that counts. On the sixth day of our visit, we checked out the schedule to make sure it was available. Came to the Victoria station and the Buckingham Palace was just within 5-10 minutes of walk. If you were there, you will see the flow of people… tourists, backpackers. If there’s guard mounting that day, you won’t miss it. Just go with the flow.

If I remember correctly, it was around 11am-11:30am. We arrived… However, the sky was a bit grey. I kept my fingers crossed – please don’t rain.
Outside Buckingham Palace

Waited a bit. More and more people came and we were waiting for the event. Finally, the sky was clear, the sun came out – it seemed like everything was set for the guards. Then, we saw them – the guards with bright-red uniforms and bearskin hats were especially sharp under the sun. I felt like I was in a fairy tale somehow. Their hats were cute and I could imagine it must be very warm having them in the winter.
Guards marching towards Buckingham Palace

Slowly squeezed myself into the crowd and came closer to the gate.
Change of Guards

After a while, G and I were a bit bored and we left. On the Charing Cross station… G took this picture. I think this year is the 100th anniversary of this station. Charing Cross – don’t know about you. But the first thing that came to my mind was the novel – 84 Charing Cross Road – if you are into English literature I think you have probably heard about this book.
Charing Cross station

Time is limited. Everything was well-planned. We tried to get to as many of our favourite places as we could. Next stop is – National Gallery.
National Gallery

Outside the National Gallery, there was the painting contest – Blue Sky sponsored by Expedia. What a nice gimmick. It definitely caught a lot of attention – from the media as well as from the tourists like us. Each participant was given a blue backgound with a crowd and the participants would have to use the creativity to construct a painting on that. I particularly liked this one… A person who travelled everywhere in Europe and said hi the his/her mom. I wonder if a professional traveller would be home-sick… or if s/he always feels like home no matter where s/he is.
Expedia "blue sky" painting contest

After going through many masterpieces… (BTW, it was definitely worth visiting the National Gallery. A Life experience. Breathtaking MUST SEE.) we came to the National Cafe downstairs to enjoy a break. G ordered a cup of Chamomile tea and it was really good. We wondered if tea (in general) in England is especially good. The cake and pie there were ok.
The National Cafe

After that, we came to Tate Modern – a place where you can see contemporary art and stunning architecture.
Tate Modern

While we were there, they were having a special project on the city development around the world. Took a picture from the above. There were so many things that you could see there. I WISH I HAD MORE TIME!!! ARGH. Tate Modern was also the place where I (and I think G as well) spent a FORTUNE! Gosh… a lot of cool stuffs.
Special project on city development

After that, we came out… all tired and a bit poorer. But it was ok – still needed to treat ourselves well. So we decided that we have to go for the next “must-try”. [Sorry G, gotcha in this picture.] (LOL) Silly us… we were so determined that we had to take a Black Cab… So we waited and waited til someone took the first Red Cab… Finally we got it. Good times. (BAK CHI POR’s)
London Black Cab

We took that cab… can’t remember how much it cost us. We were back to the National Film Theatre area, where we were on the wedding day. Kinda hungry… went for this Spanish restaurant called Las Iguanas with a bit of the Thames River view.
Tapas restaurant

The food was pretty nice. They had a special for Tapas around that time (early evening). Therefore, we ordered 5 different dishes for 20 pounds + 2 glasses of Sangria.

Clockwise from the top right corner – Seviche, Pato Taquito, Peri-Peri, Champinones, Albondigas. I think everything was good except the Seviche – tuna wasn’t very fresh.
5 Dishes

Evening… EC and her husband got off work and bought the tickets for the Wicked. So we came to the Apollo Victoria Theatre.
THE Wicked

When I was in Toronto, I heard that Wicked was a good show. Wanted to watch it but didn’t expect that I’d watch it in London. We were tempted and bought two theatre ice-cream in cups – Vanilla and Strawberries. Didn’t know how much they cost until I bought it. They were 3 pound each @_@. Taste was pretty good though.
Inside the Theatre Ice-cream (3 pounds each!)
It was a really good show. I really enjoyed it. Gotta thank EC and SL for treating us 🙂

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