London 2010 – Day 1 (morning) – Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace

Hyde Park

My original plan for the morning was to take the tube to Hyde Park Corner station, then walk to Buckingham Palace to watch Trooping of Colour. With one extra hour I thought I could just walk all the way to the palace. Big mistake, as I underestimated the size of Hyde Park.

After breakfast I entered the park from the Broad Walk, which led me to the massive Round Pond. Immediately noticeable was the lack of barrier around the pond. In Hong Kong such a large water body would likely have been fenced up to prevent drowning of children. Some say Hong Kong is being over-protective. What do you think?

The Round Pond:

As I said, the park was VAST. Inside, one feels totally isolated from the city. Only the tallest buildings were visible beyond the tree line. To give you an idea, it is 13 times the size of Victoria Park, the largest park on Hong Kong Island; and this is just one of many parks in London!

After more walking (and getting bumped into by dogs playing fetch) I reached the Italian Garden and Lancaster Gate. It was clear I hadn’t covered even half of the park. Time was running out so I headed for the Lancaster Gate tube station.

The Serpentine, viewed from the Italian Garden:

Sculpture at the Italian Garden:

Trooping the Colour at Buckingham Palace

The official birthday of Queen Elizabeth II is celebrated each year by a military parade known as Trooping the Colour. Her actual birthday is in April but the celebration is held in June, when the weather is supposed to be more desirable.

On my way to the palace I had my first “tube closure surprise”. Trying to change to the Jubilee Line, I found a whole section of the line closed, although it didn’t take me long to find an alternate route. Lesson learned: check before you travel. I also made the mistake of standing too close to the doors, not noticing they were curved at the top, and had my head sandwiched by the closing doors.

When I got there, it was already packed with tourists:

It was an impressive display of pageantry. I particularly like the shining helmet and cuirass of the cavalry.

In an amusing contrast with the immaculately drilled performance, the horses just relieved themselves on the road, smearing the ground with what used to be their breakfast.

Stay tuned for the afternoon, and more…


5 thoughts on “London 2010 – Day 1 (morning) – Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace

  1. Hi,
    I started reading your blog some time ago and I like your writings,but this is my first time to write on a stranger’s site.
    I also went to London for few days this June. From your photos of trooping the colour, I can tell that we were at the same place at the same time. Who knows, maybe we had even brushed passed each other!
    Lastly, thanks for your sharing here and the pictures.

    Another translator in HK

    1. Hi Tiffany,

      You were in London too? Did you enjoy it? I can’t wait to go there again. Yes we might have brushed past each other. If you had seen a menacing-looking guy in grey cardigan, that could be me! Did you watch the entire trooping? I left after the queen made her appearance, but every exit were blocked by tourists so I had to climb over the stone fence of Green Park. And thank you for your kind words. It’s good to know there are more people reading this blog 🙂


  2. It was my first time to visit London. Your first day there was my second day. The weather was suprisingly better than expected. And I didnt expect to get suntanned in London! As a visitor, I love the place much. I started missing it once I left (even though I was visiting Paris then..)

    I stayed for the whole trooping though I didnt see her in the carriage (but I saw her returning to the house after appearing in the balcony) as the position I stood was outside the side gate, which was indeed an excellent post. I came to know that it was the Queen’s official birthday only after the day, which explained why everything seemed so unusual that day.

    Keep on writing, though I always prefer to be a silent reader.

  3. We have fences in our parks because they are usually small and crowed. And… what do you expect from us? I mean… we now can’t even decide whether the rain is too heavy for us to go out. We need the government to tell us.
    BTW, the duck dance is really cute. even

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