Thursday, July 17, 2008

London Town

I've been missing London the last few days. It seems strange to miss a place that I've been to only once, and spent only four days, but I really do. I just loved it there. Everything about it was exciting, and yet familiar and comfortable too.

The picture above is, of course, Big Ben. It's smaller then you might think when you're there, and just right along the street. It's connected to the Houses of Parliament, so I expected large, sprawling grounds and some distance between the sidewalk and the building. But no, it's all just right there on the corner. The whole city is like that. Very intense, everything packed into small spaces. I guess that's typical of large cities, and especially of old cities.

The red buses really are everywhere. We took a bus tour on a double-decker with an open top, and it was so much fun. Our guide was brilliant. On every street he pointed out a building, told us what it was, what had happened there, and gave us a fun fact or some history. Very impressive. I took pictures of a lot of those building, and then later when going through them thought, "What is this?" I should have asked the guide to help me later with my pictures.

Notice the umbrellas and raincoats. It rained every day. A nice soft rain that was easy to walk around in, so it wasn't bad. I got to where I kind of liked it.

This is a tower on the Tower Bridge, and I took it from within the grounds of the Tower of London.
This is a small section of Kensington Gardens with Kensington Palace in the background. Queen Victoria was born here, and Princess Diana lived here for a little while. The gardens are gorgeous. They're connected to Hyde Park, which is also gorgeous. We did get a break from the rain on this particular day, and spent hours walking through the park, ending with the gardens and palace. It's so green and fresh and peaceful. I've thought about it often since being back, and feel peaceful again just in the memory of it. It really is a beautiful place.

This is on the wall of Westminster Abby. It's a prayer: "May God grant to the living - grace; to the departed - rest; to the Church & the world - peace and concord; and to us sinners - Eternal Life". The Abbey has been there for more than 1000 years. I was started by a group of monks in 900 something A.D., and was added to over the centuries. Many kings and queens are buried inside the Abbey, and there's a corner dedicated to writers. Charles Dickens rests in Westminster Abbey. I think that's fantastic.

It really is a fascinating place. I'd like to back again soon, very soon. Anyone want to join me? You'd love it.

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