On The Road to Buckingham Palace

Today was one right out of the history books! We began with a bus tour through the streets of London - each structure more impressive than the last! We saw the original Ritz Hotel, which opened its doors in May of 1906.  We passed by Berkely Square, where  a spectacular Chihuly glass sculpture was bursting with color.

We drove past Piccadilly Circus, described as the "Times Square" of London, by our tour guide!  We gazed at the beauty of Trafalgar Square, a landmark in Westminster, London, where all types of special events are held - you may recall a small wedding a few years back with those lovebirds Will and Kate?!

Our first stop - St. Paul's Cathedral, a major London landmark. Built between 1675 and 1710, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, it's dome is the second largest in the world!  In fact, Wren is buried in the crypt in the cathedral's lower level, as is Lord Nelson of the Battle of Trafalgar fame, and the Duke of Wellington, a hero in the Battle of Waterloo.  More recently, St. Paul's was where Charles, Prince of Wales, was married to Lady Diana Spencer.  No photographs are allowed inside the cathedral - take my word for it, it is beyond magnificent!

As we continued to our next destination, we passed more incredible landmarks - the iconic Big Ben, along the River Thames, and the Shard, a modern 87 story glass-clad pyramid shaped tower.

And now, the moment we'd been waiting for! As our group began to walk down The Mall, we heard sirens and saw 2 black sedans - look closely and you'll see Prince William in the back seat of the 1st vehicle!  That's as close to royalty as I'll ever get - and that's pretty good!

As we approached Buckingham Palace we were lucky enough to see several parts of the pageantry that make up  The Changing of The Guard!

After all that site-seeing Sara and I were ready to shop!  Being the transit-savvy gals that we are, we took our Oyster cards (think Ventra) and hopped on the double-decker 414 to Harrods. Ok, this department store is like Neiman's, Saks, Macy's Bloomie's all wrapped into one - on steroids! They hand out maps, so you don't get lost!  We didn't get lost - maybe my cash did!  We stopped for tea and scones, made one last trip for gifts, and made our way through the London rush hour!

It was such a beautiful evening, we decided to walk back (and work off those scones and clotted cream)!  We strolled past lovely parks and unique monuments and a street filled with restaurants that reminded me, we are so not in the states right now!!

Tomorrow we leave London and head Stratford-upon-Avon.  Tootles!