The past two days, I've been going touring with London Walks. They are inexpensive guided walking tours of just about any part of London. Tuesday I went on a tour of the areas near St. James Park and Buckingham Palace and Hyde Park. I've been to these areas many times, so most of it wasn't new to me. However, there were two special things that happened. The first was that we actually saw the Queen! I admit that we were across the street and half a block away, but still, we caught a glimpse of her getting out of her car and walking up the pavement. The occasion was the unveiling of a statue of the late Queen Mother. The other special thing was that we went up into the Wellington Arch. Views of London from there are pretty spectacular, as you can see. I don't have any photos of the Queen, she was too far away.
It was chilly and misting, so not a very nice day to walk. After the tour, I went to Covent Gardens, ate lunch, and wandered around. The vendors were selling new stuff, not antiques that day, so it wasn't very interesting to me. I bought a magnet in the shape of a t-shirt that says 'I Love London'. It was much cheaper than buying the t-shirt and won't take up as much room, either.
Yeserday, I went up to Hampstead for another London Walk. This was a really good walk. Hamstead has many Victorian buildings and a lot of history. It's on a hill from where one could see London, in the old days. Today there are too many buildings in the way, of course. The village was at one time a spa resort, but the mineral wells dried up, so none of the spa buildings remain. There are, however, many interesting old buildings and a cemetery where John Constable is buried. In fact many writers and artists lived in Hampstead over the years - Bram Stoker, H.G.Wells, Ian Fleming, among others. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and friendly. He provided far more information than I could absorb, but then that's always the case.
More photos of these walks can be found on flickr at www.flickr.com/photos/kathydillard.