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…