London Commentary

    We arrived in London very early in the morning on September 4 but did not have a flight out to Istanbul until early evening.  Consequently, we had obtained tickets a couple of months earlier to visit both Buckingham Palace and the Royal Mews.  We were fortunate to be in London during the two months of the year when the Palace is open to the public (while the monarch is away for the summer).

    We sent the big luggage through to Istanbul but took small carry-ons so that we could make use of shower facilities at Heathrow to freshen up after the overnight flight.  We used the facilities, checked the small bags and proceeded into London via the Tube.  The large bags came through at Istanbul so all of the travel arrangements worked out fine.

    Unfortunately, no pictures are permitted either within the Royal Mews or Buckingham Palace (partly for security and also to preserve the artwork),  For pictures, you will need to rely on the web references in the right column on the itinerary page.

    We visited the Royal Mews first--it consists of the Queen's carriages, many of her ceremonial horses and some of her motor cars.  These were all fascinating to see and some of the carriages were extremely ornate and used only on very special occasions.

    Later we visited the public rooms of Buckingham Palace and it is one magnificent room after another.  Although much more luxurious than the White House, we did note some similarities in terms of room names and types of furnishings.  No doubt the American colonists would be appalled to hear that we noticed some similarities, but the colonists, in spite of the fact that they wanted to reject the monarchy and its trappings, were still undoubtedly guided, if inadvertently, by the only thing they knew from their previous experience.

    Later, we flew to Istanbul and took a cab ride about 11 PM from the airport to our hotel.  We were somewhat dazzled by Istanbul at night since, even at that hour, on a weekday, the city was really jumping. We passed many outdoor restaurants on the Bosphorous, twinkling with small white lights on the trees.  The city really seemed alive and reminded us a little bit of Paris.

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