What happened on Tuesday deserves an entire blog all to itself! I saw Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles!
It was yet another beautiful day, and I started out by taking the tube to Trafalgar Square, which was loaded down with student tour groups.
The National Gallery overlooks the Square, so that was to be my next stop but instead I started walking with no idea where I was going. (It was fate, I tell you!) I saw Big Ben in the distance, so I headed that way. Once I got closer I noticed a large group of people gathered outside the Parliament building. I assumed they were just tourists taking pictures, so I joined them.
Next thing I knew a group walked out of Parliament, and some people in the crowd with very professional looking cameras started taking pictures. As soon as I saw a lady in a hat, I just knew it was Camilla. It’s hard to see Prince Charles in the pictures, but in the first two, he’s to Camilla’s left, and in the third picture, he’s to Camilla’s right. Then in the fourth picture, that’s Prince Charles in the backseat, and Camilla is getting in the car.
After coming down from my royal high - this was WAY better than running into P. Diddy on Rodeo Drive! - I walked back to the National Gallery that houses paintings dating from 1250 forward, including a large Impressionist wing. Like the Victoria and Albert, the National Gallery is free admission.
Something I found interesting was that in 1939, the National Gallery closed to begin evacuating paintings to Wales with the last of the paintings being transported the day before war was declared. The National Gallery was struck by bombs on several occasions during World War II. At one point, bombing on Wales where the paintings were being stored became a threat, and there was talk of transporting them to Canada, but Churchill rejected that idea saying that not one painting was to leave the U.K.
The next day, Wednesday, I decided to take a Beatles walking tour. Though the Beatles grew up and spent their early years as a band in Liverpool, once they had their first hit in 1963, they moved to London. The guy giving the tour was a bit crazy, but we saw all the sites - Paul McCartney’s current office building, the art gallery where John Lennon and Yoko Ono first met, the studio where the Beatles recorded Hey Jude, the building where the Beatles played the rooftop concert - their last live performance before they split up, Abbey Road studio and of course, the famous crosswalk from the Abbey Road album cover. As you will see from the picture, I pulled a Paul McCartney and went barefoot across the road.
Today, Thursday, was a shopping day except I didn't buy anything! I went back to Harrod's and explored departments that I'd not been in yet. (As big as Harrod's is, I would have to go back everyday I'm here to see all the departments.) I then took the tube to the Bond Street station. I started out shopping on Oxford Street, and I went to Topshop. Topshop is a British department store - kind-of like a British H&M. I had high hopes for Topshop, considering all the press and excitement that surrounded the first Topshop opening in the States a few weeks ago in New York. Sad to say, I was disappointed. Topshop is very British - as in very British fashion - as in 80s - as in neon colors. I'll take H&M any day. After Topshop, I went in Selfridge's, an upscale London department store but not near the caliber of Harrod's. Think more like a Neiman Marcus. I did find a pair of shoes I'm considering (unlike Harrod's, Selfridge's does have some affordable things), but I'm not sure - the heel is a bit chunkier than what I typically do. For those of you who are interested in such things, a picture of the shoe is below - the brown pair. The heel is MUCH higher (I would estimate 4") than it appears in the picture. Opinions are welcome! Then I walked down Bond Street, which consists of the most exclusive stores: Louis Vuitton, Yves St. Laurent, Jimmy Choo, Cartier, Harry Winston, Tiffany, Chanel, etc. It was fun to look in the windows, but I didn't go inside.
Wow, I'm actually caught up on my blog! Until tomorrow...