Tuesday, June 11, 2013

We're Off to Greet the Prince

For the last four days I have felt as though I was the silliest American tourist! On both Saturday and Sunday, we did some sightseeing and we also got a very special surprise at school today!

Saturday Taylor and I met Shanda outside Westminster Abbey after she toured it. We had a quick lunch and then we walked to Trafalgar Square and from there to Buckingham palace to take some pictures! We had beautiful weather and were able to get some fantastic pictures of the place, and the fountain but unfortunately, with none of the famed guards. As I learned three years ago on my visit and as was rediscovered on Saturday, there are no guards outside the palace gates for you to take pictures with or to try and get to laugh. Those guards are located far beyond the gates much out of reach. However, we did find some just a short walk down the mall. But still, you can't get very close. But it was close enough to get ourselves and a guard in the same picture! I'm not quite sure what they're guarding, but we were happy just to be able to seem them from closer up. From there we walked back to Trafalgar Square and went briefly inside the National Gallery.

Saturday night, we got to be "groundlings" at a performance of Shakespeare's The Tempest at the reconstructed Globe Theater. Groundlings stand on the ground during the performance instead of sitting. While standing for three hours might not sound all that inviting, it was a great experience. During a lot of transitions, actors would walk to the stage through us and even interacted with the audience members on the ground, doing things like throwing their hat off their heads, or whacking them on the head. We even got water sprayed on us from what was supposedly a bottle of wine. I had read a version of the play for my English literature class in the spring of 2012. It was a while ago, but I understood the basics. The play read very heavy. I was weary of seeing it because I knew it to be a very dark play, but seeing the actors bring it alive, I discovered that it was actually quite humorous. The darker elements were still there, but the humor in some scenes lightened the play considerably. I very much enjoyed it!

Taylor and I missed touring Westminster Abbey and the changing of the guard on Saturday (we slept in a little too much) but we made up for it on Sunday. We got up pretty early in order to visit Westminster Abbey to attend the 10:00am Matins. Neither of us being Catholic, we weren't sure which service we should go to, but this one seemed to be at a good time for us! When you want to look around the Abbey without paying to go inside, going to a service is a nice alternative. You don't get a lot of access, but it's great to see the church in all its glory! The choir was beautiful. I was so impressed the moment they started singing! I loved it. Taylor even managed to snag a few pictures of the inside that are absolutely beautiful!

After the service, we headed to Buckingham palace and made it just in time for the changing of the guard! And with some pushing and shoving, we even made it right up to the front of the gates. We got some great pictures of the guards performing and marching. Then we took the tube to London Bridge City Pier and had lunch at a great little french cafe! We did some shopping in the afternoon and headed home to rest after our busy day!

Today we had an amazing experience at work! My school is located just down the street from the new location of the York Gates. Today was the official opening of these gates and a special guest came to help celebrate the opening. Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex came to help celebrate. Prince Edward is the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. Since the school is so close, ICS was asked if some children would be there to greet him! My Year 4 class, the Year 1 class and the Nursery and Reception class volunteered and we were able to stand outside and greet him waving international flags! We got them all out there and lined up with their flags. They were quite adorable. First the mayor came and she stopped to talk to the kids. When Prince Edward came, he stopped to talk with them, asking them what sports they played, where the school was and so on. He even asked me and one of my coworkers a question about the flags! It was quite the experience. I don't know where else  I would have gotten to meet a Prince at work! I consider myself so lucky to be here! Prince Edward was
My coworker Masha
wonderful with the kids and his speech very personable. We were so lucky to be there!

This post wasn't as "educational" as the others, but it sure has been a great few days! You can find more pictures from my trip on my new photobucket account I'm using to share the pictures from my trip!


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