Westminster Abbey! Have you seen this thing? It’s incredible! There is a moment when you go into a church like this and the splendor and gorgeousness of it just take your breath away. The tall ceilings, the stain glass windows, the architectural details; its all so amazing.
And there are so many famous people buried here! Ever heard of Charles Dickens? Isaac Newton? Laurence Olivier? Rudyard Kipling? Alfred Tennyson? Charles Darwin? All buried here! Along with at least a thousand others. Everywhere you look are memorials, tombs, and epitaphs. Sometimes they just had small plaques on the wall, or large markers on the floor, but there were also so many large, ornately carved tombs.
My favorite area was the Lady Chapel; the white, vaulted ceiling makes the usually heavy gothic style of decoration look light and airy. It almost looked they whole ceiling was covered in lace.
They also have the Coronation Chair, that was commissioned in 1297, and has been used for the coronation of all except two royals since then. Gotta say, its looking pretty good for a 721-year old hunk of wood.
We spent about two solid hours in Westminster Abbey, looking in every nook and cranny we could find. Tonight, as we were reflecting on the day, we talked about how there is no words to express the beauty or the grandeur of the place like Westminster Abbey without actually seeing it, and since pictures aren’t allowed all you can do is visit it in person. Seriously, you should come here!
As we were leaving we saw a guy walk out of a back door of Westminster with a hawk on his arm. An honest to goodness hawk. If you know why they have a hawk, can you tell me? Inquiring minds want to know.
After our long visit to Westminster Abbey we headed to a pub for lunch; because we were hungry, and pubs are where you eat in London when you’re hungry. Melinda even had the English favorite of Bangers and Mash. Jolly good!
From there we walked past the Parliament building on our way to the Churchill War Rooms.
Only to discover that we had walked the complete wrong direction and had to walk back past Parliament to correct the error. I blame the Google Maps, there is no way this had anything to do with my map reading abilities; it must have been a glitch in the system… yeah that’s it, a glitch!
There was a huge line for The Churchill War Rooms, and they said it would take about three hours to get through the line and exhibit. As much as I’d love to see the war rooms, spending half the day in line is not our idea of a good time. So, we decided to do something more exciting! Like a walk in the park.
Yep, a walk in the park is “exciting” in my book. And St. James is a beautiful park too! There were so many birds in the park, that I had to actually pardon myself as we passed by a couple of geese that were also walking down the foot path. Luckily, only one bird flew close enough to make Melinda jump, and none of them were as aggressive as the attack Raven we saw yesterday.
At the end of the park is Buckingham Palace! THE Buckingham Palace! Like the Queen lives here, Buckingham Palace! Can you believe it! It’s is such an iconic place, and we were there! I might still be geeking out about it.
After a quick stop into the Queen’s gift shop, and a stop for pictures at a classic red phone booth, we caught a Black Cab. More specifically, I hailed a Black Cab. Which was a first for me, as all the other times they had just been parked waiting for a fair. I feel pretty cool about new cab hailing skills.
The Black Cab took us to our next destination, The Sherlock Holmes Pub. We ordered a couple drinks, and a little snack, and settled in for a nice long chitchat. The pub itself is pretty much full of all tourists, the service is slow, and they have some issues with toilet paper dispensing, but it was a really nice time. And I’m pretty sure its required by law to do something Holmes related when you’re in London.
We walked to Trafalgar Square next. It feels like a big backyard for the whole neighborhood. Even though it was freezing cold, there were tons of people out just enjoying the fountains and the sculptures.
We particularly enjoyed this fountain depicting vomiting dolphins.
And this sculpture, that seems to approve of London as much as we do.
We also watched what we think were some street performers, but never figured out what their act was. They might have been dancers, or fire jugglers, or a comedy act… but one thing we know for sure, they love Michael Jackson! There was a really cool piece of chalk art, someone had drawn all the flags, and asked you put a coin on the country you come from. Italy won as it has the most coins. But I think we all know the real winner is the artist who gets to collect all those coins at the end of the night.
We grabbed the tube and headed back to our neighborhood of Earl’s Court. After stopping to get some pictures of an actual Tardis police booth, we had dinner at our third pub of the day, the Blackbird.
It was a day of tombs, pubs, and birds; I loved it all!