Today we spent the day around Buckingham Palace. We arrived at mid-morning to await the changing of the guard with thousands of others. What we didn’t know is that today they were practicing for tomorrow’s visit by President Obama. Therefore, we were treated to multiple parades by the Welsh Guards, Scot Pipers (may have been the Black Watch), the Beefeaters, and a couple of other groups in fancy uniforms on horseback. It was quite a show, but we didn’t see it well and couldn’t get good photographs due to the crush of people.
After lunch at a Pret A Manger (Ready to Eat) we searched for the Queen’s Gallery, purported to have one of the top five art collections in London. It took us an hour to locate. Street construction has taken down many of the signs indicating locations of sights. Finally we found the gallery and its current exhibit of Dutch landscape art, most of which seems to have been purchased by George IV. This featured Ruisdael, Cuyp, Berchern, and Hobbema. We enjoyed it as well as a small exhibit of Treasures of the royal collection.
We rode the tube back “home” to catch the news and reports of the ash cloud from Iceland. This has us a bit worried about our flight to Ireland next week. They are now cancelling flights in Scotland.
After the news we watched President Obama’s speech from Dublin, broadcast live on British television. It was a very moving speech, especially from the perspective of being here. There is no question or comment about a black man visiting his Irish roots here. This society has accepted the melting pot as reality, not just an ideal. Our young country has much to learn about acceptance.