Paddington Station After a big breakfast at the hotel, we wondered off in the Paddington Station for a little bit. We checked out stores like Boots, Marks & Spencers Simply Food, Sainsbury, WHSmith and Monsoon just to see what sells in London. The station is a major train station in London and also connects to the Underground. We went into a Starbucks just to see if they offered the same drinks as in the States and to no surprise the menu was the same. There was a Krispy Kreme but it was very expensive -- 12.95 pounds for 2 dozens. Then we hopped on the Tube and headed to Buckingham Palace.
Buckingham Palace It was still very early when we got to Buckingham Palace and so there wasn't too many people. To our disappointment, there was no Changing of Guards today. In the month of August, the Changing of Guards takes place every other day and we just happen to miss it. The front of the Palace looked smaller than I expected it to be but it was still grand. We took a bunch of pictures outside the Palace and then headed off to the inside to check out the State Rooms. After passing security check point, we started our 2 hours long audio tour. Again, some of the State Rooms were smaller than expected, but the decors in each room were well put. The most common decors were paintings, scupltures, clocks, and vases. I liked the State Ballroom the best because it was the biggest room of all and was just spectacular! There were some seatings set up at the State Ballroom where you could watch a short video about the room and also rest your legs. There was a special exhibition in the Palace to mark the celebration of the Queen's 80th birthday -- Dress for the Occasion -- this was a display of dresses worn by the Queen from the 1940s to current. After the tour we checked out the gift shop and we were ready for our next place of interest.
Westminster Abbey The outside of the Westminster Abbey was very old looking and yellowish in color. It was very different than what was shown on pictures/websites, which was a rather white building. But anyhow, the structure is an architectural gem. Before we entered the Abbey, we went into the St. Margaret Church just outside. The Church was consecrated in 1523 and it is still in regular use for worship. Then we started another 2+ hours long tour inside the Abbey. The Abbey was consecrated in Decemeber 28, 1065 and was rebuilt in the 13th century. This church is still a burial place of kings and queens, royalties, scientists, knights, basically anyone of importance to Britain. Over 3,000 people are buried inside. The Abbey has been the venue for almost every Coronation since 1066, and we saw the Coronation Chair that was used since the 1300s! We kind of got this creepy feeling walking inside the Abbey because tombs were surronding us. We don't know how many tombs we "stepped" on today. Regardless, this is a must-see in London. I highly recommend it.
Big Ben & Houses of Parliment We didn't have a chance to go the Houses of Parliment today but we took some pictures from far away. Hopefully we will get to return to the area later.