Queen’s Guard Marching From Buckingham Palace

My mom and I were unintentionally (believe it or not) in London for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in June. It was an amazing event to be in England for, but it did have its limitations. Buckingham Palace was completely blocked off, so we never got a good look at it. To make up for that, my mom and I got to see other things that other people don’t normally see in London, including the Queen’s Guard marching from Buckingham Palace.

Queen's Guard Marching

Queen’s Guard marching from Buckingham Palace

After my mom and I found out that Buckingham Palace was completely blocked off, we decided to stop for a traditional English breakfast at a nearby restaurant. After we were finished, we walked back outside and noticed that people had lined up on the street. We figured something cool must be happening, so we decided to check it out.

Not long after we posted up, we saw the Queen’s Guard marching from Buckingham Palace. I figured this was a pretty rare occasion, so I grabbed my cell phone and started to get video of them. My mom and I had seen the Queen’s Guard and other troops rehearsing earlier in the day for what I assumed to be a special event for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. When I posted the video of the Queen’s Guard marching on YouTube, I was corrected and told that the Queen’s Guard was marching back from a rehearsal of the annual Trooping the Colour (the Queen’s birthday parade). Either way — it was really cool to see, especially being so close.

King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery

King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery

The troops featured in the video are technically members of the Foot Guard Regiments. I’m told that the term “Queen’s Guard” actually refers to the troops who are guarding the London royal residences on any particular date. My mom and I actually got to see the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery (a different regiment of the Household Troops) march through London on the same day. We just always seemed to be in the right place at the right time. It was a really unique experience, and one that I’ll never forget.

Have you ever visited London? Have you ever seen the Queen’s Guard marching from Buckingham Palace? We would love to hear your stories! Please feel free to share them in the comment section below, or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and/or YouTube. Don’t forget to also check out http://catchthewinds.com for more on great travelling adventures! -TL

Kilimanjaro Porters Sing The Kilimanjaro Song

I spent seven days hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro when I traveled across Tanzania. I summited on the sixth day, and made it all the way to the bottom of the mountain on the seventh day. Getting to the end of the trail head was an adrenalin rush and there was so much to celebrate. Luckily, the group I climbed with had our porters to help us celebrate.

Mt.Kilimanjaro Porters

My tent-mate Michelle and I with our porters.

I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with a group of (about) 20 people, which means we had (about) 20 porters who carried our bags up the mountain (it is law to hire porters when you hike Mt. Kilimanjaro), plus a few other guides who led our daily hikes. There is no way I  would have made it made it to the top of the mountain without those porters or guides. For one, the porters carried my bag (which included all my clothes, a sleeping bag and pad, lots and lots of extra socks and whole bunch of other gear) so I all I had to worry about carrying was a small day pack that weighed less than 10 pounds. The porters also pitched our tents everyday, so all I had to worry about was resting for the next day’s hike by the time we made it to camp. Oh, and did I mention they also cooked all of our (delicious) meals the entire trip? These guys were incredible  The guides were also my biggest cheerleader. They paced me to ensure I would make it to the top. They helped me kick altitude sickness in the butt. They told me I could do it when I doubted myself, carried extra water to make sure I stayed hydrated, and kept me laughing the entire hike. They got me to the top of that mountain.

The Kilimanjaro Song | Signing Our NamesThe first thing we did when we arrived to the bottom of Mt. Kilimanjaro was sign our name in a book to “document” our summit hike. Who knows how official that really was? Then, we all bought Coca-Colas to cheers.  Then it was time to say our million thank yous to the porters and guides. We couldn’t say it enough. Thank you, thank you, thank you! As we exchanged hugs and our appreciation, the porters lined up and gave us their own thank you back by singing a song they called “The Kilimanjaro Song.” It was a really special moment for everyone involved. I am so thankful I had my video camera handy so I can still remember it clearly today.

Mt. Kilimanjaro Guide

My friends Tawny, Michelle, Jenn and I with our hiking guide Simba.

I felt so many things when they were singing “The Kilimanjaro Song”. For one, my knees were killing me. The hike down Mt. Kilimanjaro was definitely hard on them. I was so relieved to have the opportunity to rest. I was mentally and physically exhausted. As I’ve written before, hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro was the toughest mental and physical thing I’ve ever accomplished.  I was also a little disappointed the experience had come to an end. I prepared for the trip for nearly a year. I counted down the days, planned and trained for months. But I was also so thankful for the experience. It exceeded every expectation I had, and much of that had to do with the kindness and thoughtful guidance from the men who showed us the way to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro. I am especially thankful for my hiking guide, Simba (that is not his real name but rather our nickname for him which means “lion” in Swahili). He told me at the beginning of the hike that there was no way I would make it to the top if I didn’t find something to laugh about every day while on the mountain. He said the happier and more positive you are, the more likely you will be to make it to the top. I’m sure there is no science behind this thought, but it definitely kept me putting one foot in front of the other and for that I will always be grateful. //TT