Dave and I took Chris and Gary down into Westminster yesterday morning to do some sightseeing, and we brought Olga along too. It seemed like a good idea since we'd be doing so much walking. Why not exercise the dog?
We started at Buckingham Palace, where the changing of the guard was scheduled to take place. I knew it would be a mob scene, so Olga and I spent most of the ceremony exploring the quieter parts of Green Park:
I did watch a little bit, though -- as much as I could see from a distance. I saw the guards' red-jacketed shoulders and the tops of their bearskin hats, and I heard the brass band playing "Isn't She Lovely." (It's always interesting to see what music gets chosen to accompany the changing of the guard. Last time I went, in 2012, it was apparently "We Are the Champions" -- maybe because of the Olympics.)
Then we walked through St. James Park, where Olga was panting and straining with excitement, acting like a slavering mad dog. I thought she was going to burst a blood vessel. She was just overstimulated.
By the time we got to Trafalgar Square, she'd calmed down. She'd never been to Trafalgar Square before!
We checked out some of the chalk artists and their work. This guy had a whole narrative about losing his family and coming to Britain in 2011 for a better life. Olga was intrigued, maybe because she's a rescue dog and she knows the value of opportunity.
From Trafalgar we walked down Whitehall to the Palace of Westminster and over the bridge, which always offers a great view, although the palace is covered with scaffolding for its ongoing restoration. On the South Bank we found a riverside cafe where we had salads and some rosé wine and watched the passing parade of people. (And there were MILLIONS of people.) No, we did not eat a meaty bagel, but I can never resist weird graffiti.
We dropped Olga off at home and I think she's been sound asleep ever since. Then we all went out to dinner at St. John, a restaurant specializing in "nose-to-tail" cooking, or using all parts of an animal. This is where, back in 2011, I had a salad made of duck hearts. I didn't get anything so exotic this time around -- a beetroot salad with anchovies and smoked eel for dinner. (Tastes like fish.)
We successfully avoided the madness of the Notting Hill Carnival this weekend, though on Sunday we could faintly hear the thumping music even from three miles away. I don't know whether it was the wind direction or cloud cover or all the moisture in the air from the rain, but it was amazing how clearly the sound carried even into our back garden in West Hampstead. We normally don't hear Carnival at all.
Now I've got to get motivated for work -- our first day back with students!
It would have been nice to see a photo of Chris and Gary in their American tourist outfits - Hawaiian shirts, Bermuda shorts, NY baseball caps, Rayban sunglasses and cameras with massive telephoto lenses slung round their necks. Have a nice day!
I love the way Olga always smiles in pictures! She's so cute.
Good luck with the students returning! The first few days of school for our students last week were extremely trying. Late registrations, schedule change requests, confused 7th graders, and transportation fiascos (with the bus assignments)...we were all exhausted! I hope your day, by contrast, is smooth sailing!
Isn't it fun to be a tourist in your own home place? Guests do give us such good opportunities and excuses to explore what we have forgotten to enjoy. They give us new eyes to see with.
Your stories and photos make me want to travel to England, and seriously I never travel. It just looks and sounds so beautiful there. Even Olga smiles about it all the time! I love that chalk art.
I would like to see the places you visited but I would hate the crowds.
I bet Olga was overwhelmed by all the people she saw and I can understand her being excited in St. James Park. It's so full of birds and squirrels as I recall. It sound like you had a very nice day in the city.
That puppy of yours knows how to be happy. I know she had sweet dreams of er big day out.
Olga's a rescue? Did she come with her name, or is she named in honor of some spritely, sweet, life-enhancing Olga from your past?
really astonishing that carnival music reached you, in your quiet little burb. What a day for Olga, what a day for everyone! That area is far too peopley , especially this time of year, little wonder Olga passed out.
I thought the graffiti said " meany bagel", Set a whole other story off in my head remembering when there were so many hand injuries from cutting bagels.
Such a fun post!
Aha! St. John where Fergus Henderson reigns. I have read about it but don't think I could handle offal dining. (pun NOT intended). But your walking tour of some of London's high spots sounds wonderful. When we were there back in 1985 I asked a bobbie(?) where Westminster Abbey was. I think he was amused as he raised his hand and pointed directly over his shoulder.
Olga has been to more famous places than a lot of people have :D Love all the photos!
Trafalgar Square is one of those places that just hearing the name short circuits me back to the time we lived in London. I have pictures of me as a shy five year old, holding out my palm with bird seed for the pigeons, but none of them would alight in my palm, so in the picture I am looking enviously at my brother who has pigeons on his palm and on his shoulders. Why on earth did we want to feed the pigeons, I wonder now. I don't think people do that anymore. Those photos bring back memories.
seems like a nice visit showing off the sights and happy dog Olga. now back to work!
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