Sunday, June 3, 2012

Queenspotting

The big day has finally arrived. We were headed to London on what we started calling our hajj. Call us crazy for joining millions of other nutters on trying to catch a glimpse of the Royal Family. I think we were all a bit excited about the next three days.
 Waiting for the train. Sophie is dressed for the occasion. Her t-shirt says: Off to London for Tea with the Queen.
Not quite awake yet?
 Everyone on the train was reading about the Jubilee, including Sophie. For once we were glad that our stop, Bournemouth, was the first one on the line. Towards the end of the journey there was standing room only even for first class passengers. 
 From Waterloo Station to our hotel on the Jubilee line (how fitting) - Sophie's first ride on the tube (going against the traffic). Almost a non-event for our little city slicker. 
We dropped our bags off and headed straight to Battersea Park where we had bought tickets for the jubilee celebrations there. The flotilla was scheduled to start just up the river from there.
 While Andrew and Sophie reserved  our little viewing spot near the shore, Sandra and I were looking for something to drink.
This was the queue for the £27 pitcher of Pimm's. Yes, maybe not. We will be better prepared next time.
 Back at the viewing spot: Sophie is practicing her wave and cheers.
 Adding a little more decoration while waiting.
 Then the first boats started passing by. We had to peak through a bunch of branches and undergrowth, but it was still better than the back of somebody else's head. 
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This was one of the orchestra boats playing Handel's Music For the Royal Fireworks. Very atmospheric.
 Then finally the barge carrying the Queen and Kate and the rest of the bunch passed by! Can you spot her/them? Why did Camilla have to wear the same color as the Queen?
 Here is a closer look at the same picture. Our one and only live spotting of the Royals, but it will still be worth reading the blog posts about the rest of our trip, I promise. 
Sophie saw Princess Kate and was so excited!
 Further into the park there were screens with a better view, but if we had watched them, we could as well have stayed at home - warm and dry with a glass of Pimm's. And what would have been the fun in that?
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Once the Queens boat had passed it started to rain. And it was not just a shower. Still we wanted to take a peak at the festival at Battersea Park - the theme was vintage covering the past 60 years of the Queen's reign. 
This is Sophie and Andrew dancing the Lambeth Walk. 

 Then Sophie spotted this kind of scary giant swing - with a big US flag! She grabbed Andrew's hand and gave it a whirl. Andrew had to hold on to her tight, but she looked quite happy afterwards. 
 Europe has given Sophie a thick skin. A little rain cannot deter her from doing laps on yet another carousel. 
 But with no tea tent in sight and the rain pounding down, we had finally had it. Absolutely drenched (except for Sophie in the stroller) we headed back towards Victoria tube station. Only to find out that they had temporarily closed this tube station due to overload. Then Sandra spotted a bus going towards our hotel and that is how Sophie got to ride for the first time on a London bus on the top level. 
It felt so nice to change into some dry clothes, but we agreed that it was absolutely worth it and a lot of fun was had today!

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