Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace – London, England

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Do you ever have one of those travel moments where you think “Why on earth did I want to do this?”  The Changing the Guard was that moment for me.  Don’t get me wrong – I think if you are making the trip to London and you want to see it, it is definitely something you should see.  Don’t forget…I love a good tourist spot just as much as I love the hidden treasures.  When we told people about our London itinerary, everyone said to skip the Changing the Guard unless it was something that I HAD to see.  I am glad we went…I think…but the only things I really remember about the Changing the Guard are the fact that it was miserable hot, Big S was whiny, and the crowds were absolutely atrocious and extremely pushy.  Other than that, I don’t really remember much else!   If you do plan on heading to Buckingham Palace to see the Changing the Guard, get there very early and bring snacks/toys to entertain the kids.  These are our fantastic (note the hint of sarcasm!) photos from the event!  I did get a couple of good pictures but these are more fun!

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The London Eye – London, England

This is the eighth part of a series of posts in which I am sharing pictures and thoughts from my first major trip with children. You can read the first seven posts here: Trier, Germany; Kelty Convertible Backpack; American Cemetery and Memorial; Amsterdam, NetherlandsZermatt, Switzerland and the Matterhorn, Brussels, Belgium, and Stuck in Bed.

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London was a last minute addition to our itinerary (along with Zermatt) because of where we were going to be for most of trip.  Logistically, we were not sure if we could fit London in to our three week whirlwind tour and see what we wanted to see.  That being said, one of our travel motto’s is “We might never make it back to THIS spot, so let’s find a way” so we squeezed it in at the last minute.  We took the Chunnel train from Brussels to London in the morning.  This was possibly one of the biggest pains on the entire trip.  It isn’t like traveling from Brussels to Amsterdam where you just hop on the train and the conductor checks your ticket at some point.  You had to go through a customs setup which was miserable for us with a little guy…not only a little guy, but one wearing a helmet for brachycephaly.  Apparently the border patrol had never seen a child in a helmet and thought we were trying to smuggle something in our kid’s head.  They made us take the helmet off, they then ran it through the x-ray and continued to evaluate the helmet.  Mind you, coming back into Brussels was much easier!  Once we made it through, we were able to relax for a few minutes before it was time to get on the train.

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The train ride was very short and the only sign that you are in the tunnel is the fact that you slow down considerably to enter and exit the tunnel and the windows were dark, as opposed to full of rolling countryside.  We arrived in London, took the tube (in the middle of rush hour) to our hotel stop (King’s Cross) and dropped off our luggage.  We immediately headed to the London Eye.  I must admit that this was one of the highlight of my London adventure.  I love a good tourist trap just about as much as I love the off the beat stuff!  We got the last ticket for the London Eye and if you are going to check this out, I recommend you take the ride in the evening.  It was absolutely amazing to see the city during the sunset and then all lit up at night!

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