Friday, May 23, 2014


Oops! Charlotte and I ruined the changing of the guards for ourselves. But the second time around was so much better for we got to go behind the gates of buckingham palace and watch he ceremony! Groups rarely get to go behind the gates and it was not boring this time and I didn't have people pushing and kicking me(: the guards carrying the colors talked to us even. As we walked out of the gates people were taking out pictures thinking we where important (and duh we are.) what an amazing experience. But it didn't end there! Richard also got us through the security and into Downing Street to see the 10th door. This is almost unheard of getting in simply to tour it! 
Richard gave us some of the best days while we were here and I feel bad for the groups who come and don't get to spend time with him after he retires! After those amazing surprises Richard took us back to his "home" of the Scotland Yard. We met up with the UNO group and listened to a presentation Richard had prepared for us. Being the emotional and giving person he is, he gave Professor Nobiling a rare coin he had been given for organizing and working the Olympics. A heart felt moment to end a day full of blessings (: 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Legal walk of shame?

Today we focused mostly on the legal aspects of the system, which is not my interests. But, we started off at the Supreme Court where I truly realized just how different our laws and cultural upbringings are. Cases we heard about today have already been long solved by our constitution or would have been to small and silly to make it to our Supreme Court. Here, these cases were huge turning points! 
This is the symbol for the Supreme Court here. This little patch is literally everywhere. The walls, the railings, the windows, and even the carpets. 
After going to the Supreme Court and getting to hear a case we moved onto the court of appeals, the start of out legal walk. Here we were able to watch another case. The actual case I watched was not a interesting case, the fun part to watch was how they have the court room set up. There are two types of lawyers, a solicitor and a barrister. The barrister is the one who is allowed to speak to a judge. The barrister on the defense side in the case we watched was clearly new to the case and had no idea what was going on! I felt horrible for the man for the judge was just tearing this man and his defense apart. The barrister held his own very well, but I'm sure this will greatly hurt his reputation which is how they get all of their jobs. This will also have great affects for when he walks into the court rooms any time soon if hired. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Trooping of The Colors

Today the group was the only ones able to watch the rehearsal of the queens birthday parade! Practice runs take about an hour longer than the actual parade to make sure everything is perfect. I cannot imagine standing in the heat, wearing a full queens guard uniform. Being so heavy and hot there are normally a few men and women who faint during the parade and we actually got to watch a guard faint! (Such a shame because he was extremely cute) the rest of the parade consisted of the guards marching in different formations around a very right spaced square. If only the queen herself had attended the parade would have been much more interesting! 

For the majority of the two hours these men stood in a single place or marched in the same small square. They are in full uniform that is layered and extremely heavy as well as hats made of Canadian black bear fur. The hats are hot and weight quite a bit. When standing still they must also lock their knees. All I know is I would never be able to do this so props to these men (even the one who fainted!)

Foreigners found their way

Free day #1:
Today we had our first free day. Charlotte and decided to knock out a museum today and went to the British Museum.
This was a building full of history! We walked through time periods and saw African, Roman Catholic, and many other peoples history and how beautiful the past truly is. After seeing the museum we walked down random streets looking for small boutiques and restaurants to eat at and found a great little place that had a pasta special.
That drew us into one super meal. After eating a fulfilling plate we decided to hop on the closest bus and ride it to anywhere we didn't recognize. But we didn't stop there, we continued to get onto different buses to view the city and road until we got back to the hotel a few hours later. Such a way to experience and see the city! 

Pub Crawl

As a group we decided to have a night out together and sign up for a pub crawl! This was a guided tour to 5 different pubs/bars/clubs where we stayed an hour at each. Each stop was completely different and amazing. All out stops were packed and full of fun drinks and music. There was about 20 people in the entire group from all over the world; Brazil, Australia, America, and many other places. The first club, the verve was a sleek classy bar. We then moved to an old time decorated bar with original tv sets and posters. The third was my personal favorite called Ruby which played fun music and had a fun dance club atmosphere. From there we moved onto the grace which was a very typical bar. Our last stop was the zoo which was a fun jumping place with good music as well! Afterwards I took a carriage cyclist home to the hotel. This is something all cities have but I had never had the chance to experience. Just another night on the city (: 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Magistrates Court

The court systems are very similar in America and England yet the small differences in procedures stood out to me. Today while visiting the magistrate court I first noticed how laid back it was compared to the American court system. People where coming and going as they pleased and all defense attorneys sat in front and a small line of seats for those being prosecuted and want to watch the cases. The defendant sits separated from the rest of the room behind a glass wall. There are two ways to go about a case; it can either go to a lay bench, which is three volunteers that go through a small course and are advised by a legal advisor, or the district judge, who is a registered attorney for at least 7 years ten can apply to be a judge. The judge will see more serious crimes. At magistrate level the courts then decide whether to send the case to crowns court or stay in magistrate. Magistrate can only deal with offenses up to 6 months in prison. It was so fun to watch cases be handled. The system here has flaws just like any other but was very balanced. The most fasinating part of the cases we watched to me was that the judges accommodated the sentencing to the punishment and person, not the crime committed. The magistrate court was fansinating and I learned so much about where our system originated from!  

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Kwik Cuffs

Today we visited the metropolitan police station in Westminster and learned a lot from constable Richard Watson (no relation with Sherlock Holmes' Watson -- common American question) the most fascinating thing I learned about waskwik cuffs! These are handcuffs with a solid middle bar. It just amazed me that we do not have these in the states. They completely restrict movement and are extremely easy to put on a criminal. With as little time as we had we were not able to learn many different procedures but handcuffing we did discuss. Here in the UK violence is less common and allows the police force to not need to handcuff every criminal. To use handcuffs the officer must be able to justfy to their form of an American magistrate when the bring the defendant into booking. The amount of trust is simply crazy. The officers are also unarmed unless they specialize in such armed forces (10% of forces have knowledge on how to use a fire arm.) very trusting and community tied officers who focus on building community relationships and showing people that London is the safest capital in the world.