Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Magic Bus

June 5th, 2007

OK, "Magic Bus" was a song by The Who. I road a bus (or coach) today
for the tour. Nothing really magical about it, but it just seemed an
appropriate title.

The tour started with Westminster Abbey, and a lengthy in-depth
tour. Our guide was very informative and helpful. The Westminster
Abbey is amazing. The architecture and details are stunning. It's been
added to over hundreds of years, but each phase has it's own
uniqueness and style. Many famous people are buried at the Abbey,
as well as hundreds of monks that had served there.

Next was the Buckingham Palace, and changing of the guard. We
actually started that portion at the St. James Palace, and watched
as the band begins their procession from that point, to march over to
Buckingham Palace. We were right on the curb, and could reach
out and touched the marching band members strutting in front of our
tour group. Of course, the guards would not have approved.

We were across the street from Buckingham Palace, when the horse
brigade arrived, and got a good full view of them as well. We were on
a small hill, far away from the actual changing of the guard, but with
all the mass of people gathered up at that location, we had a better
viewing sight than many of them. The actual changing is tough to see
from anywhere except right up at the right spots, so many of those
gathered up close, did not get any better view than we did. We got
to see the pageant and regal pre-entrance of the band, and the horse

We then headed to the Thames River, and boarded a boat. On board,
we rode nearly under the London Eye, and saw The Clock Tower (Big
Ben is the bell inside the clock tower, not the actual tower itself), and
so many places along both sides of the river. We unloaded the tour
boat at The Tower Of London, and then spent most of the rest of the
tour there.

At the Tower Of London, we got to see where many famous people
from history were housed while political prisoners. Many of them
were beheaded as well, including several of Henry the 8th's wives.
This is also where the Royal Jewels are kept, as well as other display.
Very impressive, and totally glamourous. At one point in history, the
king at that time melted down all the Royal Jewels and accessories, as
he thought they were way too extravagent and gaudy. So these Royal
Jewels are replacements, but still are hundreds of years old.

After the tour, the next event was to go see the musical "Blood
Brothers". I'd seen it on Broadway 15 years ago, or so, but was ready
to see it again. It's been at this same theater in London since 1991,
and still going strong. It's a story about London twins, separated at
birth, and how they grow up differently, not knowing of each other.
One remains in the poorer family, while the other one is adopted out
to a richer family. They do not know they are brothers, but they
become acquainted, and decide to be Blood Brothers, since they
do know they were born on the same day, and become lifelong
friends. The mothers try to keep them apart, to avoid the curse,
that if they find out about each other being their twin, that day,
they will die.

When seeing it in NYC years ago, it starred Petula Clark, David
Cassidy and Shawn Cassidy, is cast was however, up to the task,
and very good. In some ways it was less distracting, not knowing
any of the cast members. They were very good, and have a rich
history behind them in British theater.

After the theater, a stop at a local cafe in Soho for a light dinner.
Then back to the hotel, and called it a night.