Wednesday, October 13, 2010

London, Sunday, Sept. 12, 2010

The third day in London was my personal favorite.

We slept in a bit (one of these days I am going to go on a vacation where the main goal is to see just how much sleep I can possibly get in one day) and then headed to church which was really only two blocks away.

It was a wonderful meeting. I love being reminded the gospel is the same no matter where you are in the world. It was so interesting to me to be surrounded by people who are often the minority amongst their friends and they were so very strong in their beliefs. You can't help but be a better person after gleaning (that word is for you Sarah) wisdom from those who have to defend their position nearly every day. I hope I always remember that meeting.

Next on the agenda was Hyde Park. I was particularly excited about this because the first stop was Speakers Corner.

Being that it was Sunday, I was reminded that a few of our early, and more recent, church leaders have taught there, including Gordon B. Hinkley --during his mission.

The spot did not disappoint. There was a very large crowd gathered to listen to an African American guy, standing on a stool, as he describe his ancestor's slavery by the hands of Muslims. The Muslim guys had a table set up just outside of the crowds perimeter and would occasionally,quietly, shoot out snippets in an attempt to sway the opinion of the crowd.To which the black guy would energetically, and loudly, shout something equally as contentious.

Meanwhile, there was another man, all alone, atop a stool shouting, who knows what, to another group of Muslims a bit away.

No one was listening to him. Not even the Muslims he was shouting at.

This was all too much for me. I am SO not a fan of awkward moments. I have a hard time watching reality T.V. because of that. But then actually being amongst...well on the outskirts....of a crowd that was part of the contention made me all squirmy.

Kevin would have stayed around much longer to enjoy "the show", but it wasn't going to happen.

Hyde Park is a lovely place with huge areas of green grass and trees lining the walk ways. We only covered about a 1/4 of the whole park the two hours we were there. I love the Serpentine pond in the park. Complete with ducks and paddle boats. It was beautiful and charming and romantic.

We walked around part of the pond and stumbled across Princess Diane's memory garden. I loved the flowers, the lay out, and the peaceful feeling there.

That put us in the corner of the park, Hyde Park corner to be exact. Which is directly across from Wellington Arch.
An impressive stone arch that I still don't understand how people could have built such huge things without any big machines.

From there we walked to Buckingham palace. The guards with the awesome hats were out front and tourists were everywhere. I tried to imagine living in such a big building, having thousands of unknown people coming to stare at my front door every day. It would be very surreal.

After the palace we walked toward Westminster Abbey. I enjoyed this walk a lot as it we through some older parts of London that were a little quieter. We found a small pub that was had a killer deal on some fish and chips. We wanted to see if pub food tasted better than over priced food. And it did.

I also tried creamed peas for the first time. They are peas that are made like mashed potatoes. They tasted about as good as they sound. But hey, you've got to try everything once.

The post lunch plan was a surprise to me. Mainly because the building we were surrounded by were so high I couldn't see that much ahead of us. We turned a corner and suddenly we were face to face with Westminster Abbey.

It literally took my breath away. It was enormous and it came from nowhere.

We were lucky enough to be there for the Evening Song. The church is old and ornate. The sermon was mostly sung by the mens and boys choir. I adore the sounds of such choirs, but especially in a church. It was beautiful.

From the Abbey we headed back to Big Ben.

 A 3 mile trip from Hyde park. We took the tube to Tower Hill, walked by the Tower of London and onto the Tower Bridge.

The impressive Tower Bridge was getting some new paint color, but it made it feel too Disney for me. I'm not sure why they thought the blue, red and white would look good, but I think it missed the mark.

We could see, from the bridge, that there was some sort of festival, we didn't know about, going on along the south bank of the Themes. There were booths selling clothing, jewelery, and food. It was lovely walking along the river with the bridge in the background.

The walk took us to some really, really, old parts of London. I found I am quite drawn to the look of old buildings and small churches that pop up unexpectedly as well as these gorgeous flowers. I could just die over the color combination!

We also walked right by the recreation of The Globe theater.

Plus, just look at this sky line! Artist kill to get their clouds to look like that. It was breath taking.

And I loved these old buildings.

We crossed the river to the north bank, A 2.8 mile walk from the Tower of London, and found a few seats along the side walk to wait for the Carnival Parade with a killer view of the London Eye. An insanely, over the top, crazy, big ferris wheel that someone would have to pay me large sums of money to ride.
seriously, it's nearly as tall as a sky scraper. NO THANK YOU!

The parade was a blast!!!

The elaborate costumes, which where captivating in their own right, had lights on them, the music made it impossible to sit still, and the entertainers in the parade did their best to get the crowd involved.

At one point a man dressed in a monkey suit that had a fake, exposed bottom got a bit TOO involved with Kevin. I think he could tell he was a foreigner. Pretty much it was hilarious!

After walking almost 6 miles that day, we couldn't last the whole 2 1/2hrs for the parade. That and I'm not known for really liking parades. We did, however, stay long enough to get these great shots.

We made our way back home. We were tired and hungry and, in our weakened state, did the unthinkable.......

We had dinner at Burger King!


The horror.

I know. I know. Now, as I am in my right mind, I just cannot believe we did such a thing. But at the time all we wanted was to grab some food and eat it in our hotel room. At the time is was a glorious idea. I cannot tell you how good it felt to get into bed right after our late dinner.

So maybe it was a good decision after all.


April Weeks said...

I love reliving this with you. The pictures are fantastic.

Anonymous said...

I love hearing of your adventures. Too fun!

Sarah said...

For me? A word for me? Oh, thank you! It sounds like a fabulous adventure, Em. I'm so glad you got to have it (and yes, just a wee bit jealous). :)

Greg & Lyndi Daly said...

Laughed out loud when I saw Kevin and the Monkey Man! SO FUNNY! STILL LAUGHING! The pics are great! I love hearing your stories!