Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Day in Westminster

Two days, three royally-linked destinations, three changing of the guard ceremonies. WIN.

The first was the horse guards at Whitehall, near St. James's Park in London, which made me realize, more poignantly than ever, how desperately horse-deprived I feel. I arrived early (after a gorgeous walk by the frozen, sun-dappled lake), in prime time to see the mounted guards ride in, all in red capes on black horses, and line up. The horses were only ten or so feet away, and I could smell them, smell their hoof polish and see the gleam in their eyes as they tossed their heads and fidgeted with their bits and tried to pester each other. Asking ten horses to line up square and stand patiently for several minutes isn't easy! I can't say how much I miss having these magnificent animals in my daily life. Especially since these were nice horses, with wonderful faces full of curiosity and character.

My next stop was Buckingham Palace, which I've seen before, but on a day when the changing of the guard was cancelled because of rain. Today's weather was the opposite of that day in September - clear, crisp, and brilliantly sunny for London. You really learn to appreciate the blue sky when you've been oppressed by gray clouds and mist! The crowd around the palace was a little nuts, and trust me, my view of the guards wasn't always this clear - I was being crushed in on all sides most of the time, and it's lucky my camera has a nice zoom function or I wouldn't have been able to get some of my shots!

In the afternoon, I finally checked two much-anticipated museums off my list: the Victoria and Albert and the Tate Britain! The latter had an exhibit on Leland Stanford and Eadward Muybridge's famous horse motion-picture photos on loan from the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford - which had me excited, except they spelled it Standford. Oh dear.

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