A Few Days in London

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Very thoughtful signs for those used to cars on the other side. Don’t worry Mom, I’m being careful and never jaywalk.

My first day in London was sunny and warm, a rare and to-be-treasured occurrence.  Once Joe arrived, we spent the afternoon strolling around town.

Londoners were frolicking outside including hundreds of nude bikers protesting something to do with oil.  Just when I thought I’d had my fill of phallic displays at the Archaeological Museum in Naples….it was definitely giggle-inducing.

Of course I snapped some pics for you.  I like these two with the double-decker bus and the church in the background.

We ducked into a pub for a pint to escape the parade of flesh.  I love the pub culture in London, families and babies, next to dogs and their devoted owners, next to a bunch of guys watching football.IMG_8050

Even though it has been gray and chilly since that first sunny day, I’ve been admiring the bright window boxes, green  gated gardens and parks dotted with sculptures.

I’ve been quite the tourist making pilgrimages to Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey, and their respective gift shops. And I’m reading the local papers (The Independent below) as they’re super trashy and oh so good.IMG_8053

Gothic cathedrals always look particularly imposing on dreary days and Westminster Abbey, where every English monarch has been crowned and everyone of importance in England has been buried, is no exception.
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Westminster is so old.  It has been around since 624 y’all.IMG_8117 IMG_8124

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The altar where the chair is placed for coronations.

Here you can see the chair where every monarch since 1308 sat at the moment of his or her coronation.  Coronation-Chair-WA-BAR600

In addition to coronations galore, since 1100, there have been at least 16 royal weddings at Westminster Abbey.  Cat will testify that I was awake at the crack of dawn, drinking champagne and watching the latest one.  Here they were in front of the altar from above.  Still no Kate sightings….

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Coronations, weddings and ….burials happen in Westminster.

The practice of burying national figures in the Abbey began under Oliver Cromwell with the burial of Admiral Robert Blake in 1657. This spread to include generals, admirals, politicians, doctors and scientists such as Isaac Newton in 1727, and Charles Darwin in 1882.  The Abbey was overrun with tourists but I caught glimpses of several big names like Jane Austen, one of my sisters’ favorites.  IMG_8136

Westminster School and Westminster Abbey Choir School are also in the precincts of the Abbey and while I was visiting a voice came over the loudspeaker and asked everyone to pause for a moment to say a prayer for those who were in the midst of studying for and taking their end-of-year exams.

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More pictures of the gothic beauty:

Just in case gothic cathedrals aren’t your thing here is something from Westminster that will blow you away.

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The oldest door in England. You’re welcome.

 I’m feeling very British, drinking pots of tea with treats in the afternoon and eating fish and mashed peas at lunchtime.

I’m not rocking London style yet but there is still time. IMG_8055

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