Europe 11/12 – Raining on the Parade

01 – The Second Honeymoon
02 – Conquering Medieval Stairs
03 – Urinating in Brussels
04 – On to Paris
05 – Seeing Louvre
06 – A Police Story
07 – The Sun King’s Blingy Home
08 – Her Majesty’s Beverage in the Sky
09 – Hangin’ with Our Royal Neighbors
10 – Sending Ourselves to the Tower
11 – Raining on the Parade
12 – Her Majesty’s Beverage in the Sky Again


It rained in London today.

Which means, it also rained on the parade… the Horse Guard Parade.

The naming convention may seem strange:

This building is called the Horse Guard

This muddy plaza in front of the Horse Guard is called… the Horse Guard Parade

These folks and their royal four-legged friends are not the Horse Guard.  They are the Queen’s Life Guard

Lastly, the Horse Guard Parade is where the daily ceremony of changing the Queen’s Life Guard takes place
So… Horse Guard isn’t a guard and Horse Guard Parade isn’t an activity involving movement of people

I didn’t fully understand it, but it was neat watching two groups of men on horses making some very orderly maneuvers

We first came here two mornings ago, but the race event closed down many roads in central London and this ceremony was cancelled.  Determined to watch it during this trip, we came here in the pouring rain.  I wanted to bitch about the rain on our last day in London, causing us to cancel some planned activities, but watching these guys and horses do their thing gave me a newfound appreciation for how good life was on vacation.  We felt miserable enough under a giant hotel umbrella, but the Queen’s Life Guard had to perform as if it were a beautiful sunny day.  The discipline, especially for those horses who probably had no clue why they were there, was simply incredible.

Weather postponed our plan to see London Zoo and Regent’s Park to our next vacation in London, whenever that may be.  That sucked, but at least we had some other activities to kill time with, such as riding the double-decker bus:

Think this was my first time being on the second floor of a wheeled vehicle

The traffic jam that came with the rain didn’t help, but it was a comfy bus ride and the scenery on the way to Kensington was nice

Then we spent some time at Harrod’s, a famous, super high-end department store.

Its sheer size was like Macy’s in New York, but it was way fancier

I really wanted a frosted glass bottle with studs of sparkle, but 20 pounds for water was not just the usual kind of expensive

On our way back to the hotel to dry up, we took another picture of these sheep.  Our suitcases were kinda full at this point so we didn’t steal them.

The May Fair sheep

For dinner, we went to this small restaurant called Ffiona’s, near Kensington Palace.  It’s supposedly traditional British cuisine.  Prior to the trip, I sort of worried about this meal because you know British chefs don’t have the best reputation.  The food turned out excellent, and the staff had a great personality.  It turned out to be the highlight of the day, and helped us end the vacation on a high note.

Ffiona’s interior

Sitting right under this menu and having to read it wasn’t the healthiest thing that happened to my neck

Some Champagne cocktail

This avocado dish looked rather odd, but it was delicious.  The pesto and the raw green onion… I’d eat them straight up

The asparagus was among the most interesting things that we ate on this trip.  It was the largest I had seen served on the table, ever.  It looked like it was harvest too late and overgrew.  It was quite crunchy on the outside and the texture was firm, but it also tasted fresh and juicy.  Wasn’t what I expected looking at it, and didn’t taste like any asparagus in the U.S..  Wouldn’t hesitate to order again.
And that Welsh lamb was, holy moly, definitely the sweetest lamb I had ever tasted.  It was easily the best meat we had on this trip, and a rare lamb with no gamy flavor at all.

My main course was this venison steak cooked medium rare.  Like my pigeon and duckling on this trip, this was quite gamy and hard to swallow.  I enjoyed trying venison in a steak form for the first time, but gosh that lamb was so much more delicious.

Well that’s it!  Last day of the trip, plus the rain, left quite few pictures and little story to tell.  Bye London!

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