Thursday we said goodbye to Patrick. We had our breakfast together and then saw him off to the tube to begin his trip back to Charleston. This was also our most ambitious walking day (Mom charted it out after we got home and said it was at least 10 miles). Originally, the plan was for Daddy and Daniel to be off on their Boy Scout Jamboree adventure on Thursday as well, but that didn't work out. I had suggested afternoon tea at The Orangery by Kensington Palace as something Mom and I could do while the boys were off in Sweden, but I hadn't imagined Mom could walk all the way there - I pictured the tube or a taxi. But she still wanted to go, and wanted to walk, so we set off. It was going to be a pretty walk, through a lot of parks, so I figured there would be plenty of opportunities to sit and rest if we needed to. We walked up to St. James Park, through it to the west to Buckingham Palace, then along Green Park to Hyde Park. We walked up through it along the Serpentine and then across to Kensington Palace, had lunch, and then south, followed the path Patrick and I took past the V&A. Then Mom navigated a course through residential neighborhoods, past Belgrave Square (lots of fancy houses, shops, and embassies - Daniel and I guessed on flags), past the other side of Buckingham Palace, Victoria Station and then back along Vauxhall Bridge Road to the hotel.The view of Buckingham Palace through the pond in St. James Park.Duck Island cottage in St. James Park.Horse Guards Parade, or what you can see of it around the beach volleyball construction. I assume for the Olympics?The pond in St. James Park. Lots of birds, including the largest ducks I've ever seen. Patrick and I saw them in Kensington Gardens on Tuesday and weren't sure if they were ducks, since they were so big. They were the size of geese or swans (which were there too) but looked like ducks.More pretty pond.
Flowers in St. James Park
This is from my favorite flower garden in St. James Park. Poppies!
The flowers across from Buckingham Palace. Very patriotic!
Buckingham Palace with a bajillion people outside waiting for the changing of the guard. We were about 30-45 minutes early and decided not to wait. We weren't sure if we would have been able to see anything, since it was so crowded. We did hear it later, and we pulled up some videos on Youtube later, and maybe we would have been able to see it.
We took a little detour into Green Park. It is very serene - I read that it was built on the grounds of an old leper's hospital, and out of respect for those buried there, there are no flowers planted in Green Park.
The Wellington Arch
Hyde Park Corner
Horse guard on their way back from the changing of the guard.
Me and Daniel in Hyde Park. You can see Mom and Dad over my shoulder.
The Serpentine. We walked along its west side. It looked like a great place to stop and read a book. There were paddleboat and canoe rentals on the other side, along with some no doubt Olympics-related construction.Carriage bridge that separates the Long Water (north) from the Serpentine (south).
Queen's Temple - this was on one of our maps, but not the others. The guide book didn't say anything about it. But it was pretty.
The Italian garden. We were trying to walk to the Peter Pan statue, but of course the path was closed all around it for tree trimming. Kensington Palace
The Orangery, where we had our yummy lunch. Daddy was the only one who had tea, though. I was pretty warm from our walk (this was the warmest day at 78 degrees) so I had lemonade.
Pretty sunken garden.
Mom in the garden with the wish balls.
Mom and Daniel in the sunken garden with the orangery in the distance.
Daddy, Daniel, and Mom in the sunken garden.
Daniel in Hyde Park. Next we walked past the Albert Memorial and Royal Albert Hall, but I'll spare you the pictures since I already posted about them on Tuesday's post.
Daniel and me outside the V&A, waiting for Mom and Daddy to catch up.
The V&A. I still haven't visited it. I would have loved to go in, but we didn't have the energy for it. If we'd gone in, Daddy would still be there. There were taxis out front, and I suggested to Mom that we could take one home, since she had walked so far and looked uncomfortable, but she didn't want to take one.Brompton Oratory, the Catholic church just past the V&A. We went inside, which Patrick and I hadn't done. It was beautiful inside - ornate, but not too crowded with statues, monuments, and memorials. I liked that it was nearly all religious, rather than having as many secular memorials as Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's had.Statue of Cardinal Newman outside the church. I wrote a paper on him in grad school. The Newman Clubs on college campuses are named after him.
Sign I saw on Vauxhall Bridge Road on our walk back to the hotel. When you see your uncle's name, you have to take a picture.
This was our third night in a row buying sandwiches from Pret a Manger for dinner. We left Mom recovering and set out, but because someone was so slow we arrived just after they closed at 8pm. While standing there looking lost (Daddy wanted to knock because there were still people in there, and I wanted to go find something else), the manager opened the door. She said they had zeroed out the food already so they coudn't charge us, but let us take sandwiches without paying. We did pay for drinks. She actually turned away another customer who tried to come in while we were choosing. Of course, Daddy thought this free food was the best thing ever, but I told him we would not showing up at closing time again (we ate at Pret a Manger again the next night, but it was a different store).
Next: we give our feet a rest and take a boat trip to Greenwich.