Buckingham Palace Changing of the Guard

Blah, Blah, Blog Do you want to read? CLICK HERE                                                                                              Tourist: a person who is traveling or visiting a place for pleasure. As a person who travels the world as often as I do, I frequently hear the saying “it’s too touristy”, almost so much that it’s a tragic cliché. Paul Theroux said “There are two worlds: the world of the tourist and the world of everyone else. Often they’re side by side. But the tourist doesn’t see how people actually live.” Participating in an attraction formally labeled as being touristy sometimes does show one how some people actually live; like the Queen of England. During my recent trip to London England, I watched the Changing of the Guard. I found the regalia, pomp and circumstance a magnificent thrilling visual feast, excellent exercise, completely thought-provoking and interesting all set to an exciting lively soundtrack. It was fascinating to witness such an extravagant lifestyle dripping with history and opulence as well as helped with later conversations with British people as I was often asked what I thought of “Their Monarchy”. I highly recommend watching the changing of the guard while visiting London England. Margaret Thatcher said, “Don’t follow the crowd, let the crowd follow you”. Take her valuable advice if you ever attempt to witness the iconic ceremony. There are a couple of ways to go about giving your peppers a show. The option of hiring a tour guide and joining a group is a possibility. There is also the possibility of showing up to Buckingham Palace extremely early and holding a spot as a massive crowd exponentially multiplies and uncomfortably encroaches while braving the infamous English weather for a couple of hours. Before making any choices do know that the changing of the guard takes place over a massive area and not just at Buckingham Palace, which is why I found it good exercise. Before attempting to watch the changing of the guard check the Royal Collection Trust website to view the schedule of the guard. The brilliant extravaganza doesn’t happen every day nor does it happen in bad weather conditions. Everyone has their own style and chosen pace. Choose what is best for the experience desired as well as physical capabilities and comfort level. Here is my suggestion if the desired outcome is to see as much as possible without being sardined in a crowd for a prolonged period of time. The best place to start is Friary court at St James Palace on Marlborough road at about nine forty AM sans the incommodious crowd. Get a spot across the street on the sidewalk directly across the middle of the gate. Keep in mind massive tour groups will be coming for that coveted spot. Do not stand in the street. Policemen with intimidating large guns and horses will ask you to stay on the sidewalk. Watch the two guards posted in Friary Court march back and forth and switch their guns from side to side, listen to the click of their shoes as they forcefully strike the ground marching. Look to the left to see the replacement guards on their way. When the ceremony starts the new guard will form up in Friary Court and be inspected, sometimes a band will play. Simultaneously, the old guard stationed at Buckingham Palace will take formation in the courtyard in front of Buckingham Palace. At Friary court a policeman will open the gate and the old guard will march in formation down the Mall towards Buckingham Palace. Then the exercise starts. As fast as possible, walk or run towards St James Park on the left side of the street at the last opening to St Jame park in front of Buckingham Palace turn left as fast as possible cut across St James Park and make way towards Birdcage walk. The new Guards will then march from Wellington Barracks, first, the band will march then the infantry. March beside them straight towards Buckingham Palace. Pause around the roundabout in front of Buckingham Palace and wait for the horses and carriages. Make way towards the gate of Buckingham Palace. There will be mass amounts of people, but that doesn’t affect hearing the band play. The band will continue to play while the replacement guard takes charge. The gates to Buckingham Palace will open again and there will be more marching and music. The horses and carriages will parade around again. The entire process takes about forty-five minutes. Terry Pratchett is quoted “Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there can see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” Watching the changing of the Guard was highly entertaining and exciting but most definitely left me with a lasting impression and deep thoughts into my own culture.

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