FRIDAY: Yesterday was a day of things that we were all really looking forward to!! Too bad the entire first half of the day was a dud. We woke up and headed over to Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guard. From what we had read, it was a huge ceremony that was so interesting and enthralling to watch. We got there, and there were already people crowding all around the gates and standing all over the steps to get a closer watch. We finally escaped most of the crowd and found a great view on the stairs of a monument right across from the palace. We were next to a really nice couple from the nearby land of Chino, so mom buddied up with them pretty quick and got nice and chatty. Finally the guards from the other locations arrived, and the ceremony started. The seats that we were so proud of finding were suddenly less appealing once people of all ages got onto the shoulders of whoever they were with to see better. This is NOT an exaggeration!! There were full blown adults on their spouse's shoulders... including two kids that were riiight in our view of the Palace, thus ruining any possible chances at taking a quality picture. Mom was irked.
After an hour and a half of useless music, lots of standing and staring and saluting and marching and yelling, the freaking ceremony ended. We walked down the mall (no, it's not somewhere you shop, It's much like the D.C. mall where it's a bunch of important buildings along a pretty street), and found the theater where Les Miserables was playing. The show started at 2:30, so we had about an hour to grab a quick bite to eat and get into the theater. There was a little pizza shop down the street from the theater that we had seen the day before at Leadenhall Market, so that's what we chose!
The waitress served us our drinks and came back a little while later to take our order, then promptly decided to head into the kitchen and disappear for upwards of a half hour!! Soon it was 2:05, and we needed to leave to get into our seats in a few minutes, but alas, no pizza in sight! The pizza showed up on the counter, and still no one delivered it. The waitress was still cooking away in the little kitchen. My dad (who is generally more of a soft spoken man) went to another waiter who was standing right next to the steaming hot pizzas, and complained that we needed to leave and our pizzas still hadn't shown up. The man said he would help us, but walked the other direction and disappeared for another five or ten minutes. At that point it was 2:15, and we really needed to leave. We had middle row seats for the show, and something about climbing over 10 people to get to our seats didn't sound polite or appealing. Dad threw some money on the table for our drinks, and we left. A couple minutes later, Callie realized she forgot her jacket inside and had to run back to get it. AWKWARD!
LES MIS WAS AWESOME!!! The costumes, the music, the actors, the rotating stage, I DIE! It was so much better than I even thought! There were lots of elements I didn't expect, but they weren't a disappointment at all! (Sorry for all the exclamation points, I just get so excited sometimes.) I'm not going to lie, I shed a few tears. But I wasn't sobbing or anything, so don't feel uncomfortable. To sum it up, I highly recommend it to anyone debating going to the show coming to L.A. We even had the understudy for Jean Valjean, but he was still absolutely fab. We booked it over to T.G.I.Fridays, seeing as we had only had peanut butter crackers and licorice since breakfast after the whole pizza ordeal, and downed a yummy meal. After that, we were supposed to head to Harrod's, but we found too many cute trinket shops and had a ball in M&M's World London! It was just a wonderful night.
SATURDAY: Today was my day for the hotel breakfast! Mm mm good. For the early part of the day, we went to the Portobello Market place, which is an eclectic swapmeet, London style. LOTS of antiques, but also a ton of super fun little jewelry stores. It was really crowded, seeing as it's only open on Saturdays, but it didn't seem very overbearing. It turned out to be a great thing that we got there as they were all setting up, because by the time we left it was swarming with people. All I can really say is that it is a good thing my dad hit the ATM this morning before we went! SO. MANY. CUTE. THINGS. Our prized find were these super awesome pendants and earrings called "mini-mosaics" which, as you might guess, are mosaic patterned pictures of flowers made out of the tiniest little pieces of tile. They are gorgeous! We saw them originally on a small picture frame, for the super low price of 235 pounds (about $375), but for some unknown reason, possibly concerning the price, we decided against it. A little later down the road we found them in a smaller (and cheaper) form, and just could not pass them up! They're from the early 1900's and are handmade in Italy. We were impressed with our find.
After that, we headed on to the Winston Churchill War Rooms. We mainly chose this destination because the choices were that, or a huge museum full of things that none of us were too thrilled about. We're not cultural idiots, but after seven days of walking our feet to nubs, it's kind of easy to pass up anything that requires lots of walking. It turned out to be a GREAT decision. Basically what we saw were all of these underground rooms that were used during WW2 for the British leaders to hide and plan their defense/attacks. It was really informational, but not in the "boring stuff information in your face in a thick accent you can't understand" type of way. We had a great time seeing all of it! Besides the fact that Europeans seem to lack the concept of personal space or courtesy within a crowd. We've noticed that if you're in their way, they drop the shoulder and slam into you as hard as they can. I like to think of it as walking bumper-cars style. On the plus side, I don't need to go to the chiropractor because I'm pretty sure a thoughtful lady today readjusted my back for me.
We went on to Westminster Abbey after that, the place that William and Katherine got married! It was such a lovely church, and we got to see an Evensong performance after that. A Spanish group of people behind us in line decided they wanted to just walk fast around everyone and skip the whole line, (my dad understood what they were saying), and it actually backfired because one of the couples got in a big fight over it and they ended up sitting right next to us where they would have been anyways. The choir was beautiful, and it was pleasant.
Next was one of my personal favorite events, simply for the ghetto-ranking I'm sure it would get if you could measure that sort of thing. We did our laundry......... in the bathtub. Yes, you did read that correctly. My mom filled the tub with water, added laundry detergent, added the few articles of clothing (underwear, namely) that each person needed freshened up, and did her magic. We called the front desk and asked for extra towels, and stole some from the pool, and tried to towel dry it as much as we could. Now we look like some crack head floozy house, because there is underwear hanging from the light fixtures, tv, alarm clock, chairs, etc., so that it can dry. So ghetto fab.
Soon it was 9 pm, and we hadn't had dinner. We ordered some pizza and had it delivered, and about 15 minutes after it was delivered, it had vanished. We wolfed it down like we hadn't seen food in two weeks! It was super fun to just relax, eat pizza, and watch The Parent Trap. It was a lovely night in.