A royal bike ride in London

Live from Hyde Park

I was planning on working Friday but the weather seemed pretty nice so instead I jumped on my bike and went into town to checkout the event that was The Royal Wedding.

As I made my way towards the city center I came across a couple of pubs and cafes that had TVs set up for patrons to follow. There should have be some 6000 street parties across UK and 800 in London and I came across one of them – still empty as people were watching the ceremony at home.

"Road Closed" for street party

By the time I reached Hyde Park the ceremony in Westminister Abbey had finished and I got to see people cheer and wave their flags as BBC broadcast from the park.

The Queen arrivesWave your flags!Union Jacks in Hyde Park

After that I tried to see how close to The Mall I could get but it was all full and closed off for more people. Instead I went to Trafalgar Square were huge crowds were gathered to watch the two big screens there.

People watching big screen at TrafalgarGetting pictures taken with Kate and WillNorwegians at Trafalgar Square

The Norwegian in the front of the last picture with the traditional dress might even be the same as Tina Omme i London spotted later by Westminster Abbey.

After that I headed east along Embankment and this part of town was completely empty so I could ride in the middle of the street as a couple of planes made a flyover.

Empty streets - Embankment

I was heading for Republic’s “Not the Royal Street Party” street party in Holborn that they had not been allowed to do in Camden. Instead they were in a nice little square with a park and great atmosphere.

Red Lion Square

There was a nice crowd of people, live band, delicious food and monarch mocking.

The "Queen" in a stockCrown strikeout

For the size of the event there was quite a lot of press people but I guess you can only send so many reporters to talk to flag waving royalists on The Mall.

A great day for cycling as I had a lot of roads to myself and it was great fun to see the royalists and republicans celebrating a day of all things British.

A Maltese Wedding

Almost three months ago Ann and I made a trip to Malta. We went to catch up with her family and friends and to attend her cousins wedding. It was going to be my first wedding in Malta.

The events started at the village church in Å»urrieq where most of Ann’s family lives.

The church in the setting sun

The church is a typical Maltese church sitting in the center of the village and as the front door faces West it is always lit by the most golden light when the sun is starting to set. The ceremony started at 18.30 so as we walked up the roadwe got to see the church in all it’s grandeur.

Waiting for the bride

We went inside and the ceremony started. It was in Maltese so I’m not really sure all that went on. My liturgical knowledge is not really up to scratch but there were some different talks by the priest. Some of the aunts of the bride and groom went to the podium and read some bible verses. And in between there was music being played. Initially I thought it was just recorded music as I could not see the musicians but it turned out there were a singer and a keyboard player behind one of the columns. The songs were more modern that what we are used to hear played by organs in Danish churches.

Running around during the service was a cameraman with a huge light, a photographer and two light assistants with long booms. The photographer looked like a secret service agent in his black suit and an ear peice directing the cameraman and two assistants around. With the church ceremony lasting about an hour and a half I had plenty of time to look at all these guys running around trying to get the perfect shots.

Wedding 072

Afterwards we went outside to greet the newlywed as they exited the church and we threw confetti at them while they made their way to the veteran car that would take them to the venue. Here’s the sweet couple.

The newlywed

And then we headed to the venue of the reception. In church most of the family had been present but at the reception more friends and family showed up so we were in the neighbourhood of 300 people there I think.

The outside garden

The reception was held at Ir-Razzett L-Abjad which is an old farm house beautifully converted into a venue hall with a big outdoor garden. It was a huge place with people flocking around either the indoor or outdoor bar.

The hardworking bar man

I had already met a most of Ann’s uncles and aunts on this side of the family on previous trips but here I got to meet all the cousins as well as we came across them at the party.

Unlike Danish parties they don’t go around shaking hands or giving hugs. Instead you find a place to stand or sit while the waiters make the rounds with hors d’oeuvres and other foods. I didn’t take picture of the food and forgot all the different options but there was a lot (maybe it was something like this). A band was playing some background music but there wasn’t really anybody dancing and the food kept coming.

The band

I was quite hungry when the food started to arrive and didn’t realize that it would keep coming all through the night so I indulged a lot in the first couple of items and was struggling as we were halfway through the list. Anyways there was a lot(!) of food and as always in Malta it was really tasty.

The evening ended with the cutting of the cake (more food!) and coffee. An open bar and good food in a steady stream is the perfect combination to keep a Maltese happy so I think everyone had a good night.

Enjoying the cake

Check flickr for the rest of my pictures from the evening.

For me the wedding season continues later this summer with two weddings in Germany. I’m looking forward to seeing friends and joining more happy celebrations.