Saturday, June 2, 2012


Tomorrow is one of the biggest events of the Jubilee weekend: a boat parade along the Thames with over 1,000 boats, including one carrying the Queen herself.  We are going to try to watch the beginning of the flotilla from Putney tomorrow afternoon, but there are at least three major drawbacks:
  1. There is a 90% chance of rain tomorrow (and a high temperature of 52 degrees),
  2. The Queen will be boarding her vessel in Chelsea, beyond where we plan to be,
  3. None of the tall sailing ships will be able to travel along the parade route, since they can't get under all the bridges.
There's not much we can do about the first two -- at least if we want to have a chance of seeing any of the parade -- but there is a solution to #3.  The tall ships will be moored around the Tower Bridge all weekend, so we took a little field trip this afternoon to check them out.

It was already looking like rain, and much cooler than it had been earlier in the week, but we brought our rain gear and hoped for the best.  Everything in London is festooned with flags and Union Jack bunting, so the gloomy weather only put a slight damper on the festive atmosphere.
Blackfriars bridge with St. Paul's cathedral in the background
Ubiquitous flag bunting
In front of the Tate Modern, we came across a small tent city.  People were already camped out 24 hours before the parade in order to reserve a prime spot for watching the boats go by.
Staking out a prime viewing spot
 Lots of buildings along the Thames had banners with special messages for the Queen
The Fishmongers Hall is all decked out
Can the Queen read Japanese, too?
Once we passed the London Bridge, we started to see some of the tall sailing ships that had gathered for the Jubilee festivities.
Tall ships by London Bridge
The Artemis
Tower Bridge
We weren't the only people with this idea -- the entire pedestrian path along the south bank of the Thames was mobbed with people checking out the parade route and snapping photos of the ships.
More tall ships with Canary Wharf in the background
The sun came out!
Tower Bridge and City of London
 Every shop window in London is full of patriotic displays, regardless of what they sell.
Get your Jubilee supplies here!
I've seen lots of special advertisements congratulating the Queen on her 60-year reign, but this one I spotted on the train today was a bit of a head-scratcher.
Uh, what?
Tomorrow we will bundle up, put on our rain gear, and try to find a spot to watch the beginning of the boat parade.  This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime event, so I don't think a little bad weather is going to keep people away. 

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