This morning we went on a bus tour of the City of London and surrounding area (mainly Westminster and the palaces). Our tour guide was awesome had had lots of great stories about various buildings. I noticed this last time I was in London, 5 or 6 years ago, but one thing that’s hard for an American to grasp it just how incredibly old London is. Even with most of the city destroyed in the Great London Fire of 1666, and badly damaged again in World War II, there are still lots of buildings dating to the 17th century or earlier. Many of these, especially the churches built after the Fire, were the focus of our tour.
Major stops included the Cathedral of St. Paul an its vicinity in the City for a history tour of medieval to late Renaissance neighborhoods, and even some note of the Roman structures that predated them. We also stopped at St. James Park and walked to Buckingham Palace to watch the Changing of the Guard (which is apparently done more frequently in summer for the benefit of tourists). I actually found the first more interesting, as we found out such neat historical tidbits as where Shakespeare lived, when buildings were built and rebuilt and why, and that chocolate milk was invented by Hans Sloane (founder of the collection that became the British Museum) and prescribed to Queen Anne for her ailments. Toad enjoyed the Changing of the Guard though – it’s notably different from how it’s done in the Mushroom Kingdom.