Since Buckingham Palace is only open to the public through the end of September, I decided to use my day without class to go visit. Last week, I casually mentioned my desire to visit the palace to a friend, and we decided to go together. So Amy and I set off this morning to London. I began rereading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (the British version though!) for probably the twentieth time while on the train for class tomorrow and wished we were traveling into King’s Cross Station instead of Victoria Station so I could pretend I was going to Hogwarts with Harry. We arrived just in time to see the changing of the guards. I’m using the word “see” in the loosest terms here because there were literally hundreds and hundreds of people crowding around the gates and in the street, all trying to take pictures of the same thing. Still, it was one of those can’t-miss events, and I managed to get a few good pictures by standing on my tiptoes, holding the camera above my head, and randomly snapping shots. My favorite part was when the band starting playing the Pirates of the Caribbean theme song (after Dancing Queen and Mamma Mia) during the ceremony. The ceremony ended right in time for us to get to our 12:15 appointment at the Queen’s Gallery, which was a museum of many of the beautiful pieces of art collected by the royal monarchs over the years. Next came a tour of the State Rooms in the palace. They were absolutely gorgeous! We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside, but I had already taken so many pictures of men in red uniforms and giant hats that I was okay with putting my camera away for a while and just taking in the sites! After seeing the state rooms, the tour emptied into the Royal Gardens (which I was a little miffed to find did not consist of many flowers). By this time, I was beginning to wilt, so we stopped for some lunch at a little sandwich shop, where I ordered a delicious Belgium waffle. For the final part of our tour package, we headed over to the Royal Mews where they house the carriages and horses that transport the Queen, which were also lavishly decorated. I was quite exhausted by this point and was happy to take a nap on the train ride back to campus, where I found myself refreshed enough to start my paper. I'm attempting to attach a video of the changing of the guards- it will give a good feel for the crush of the crowd (and a really good view of that guy in the hat) while the band plays Pirates.