Travelogue: First Day in London

I’m really too tired to post, but I don’t want to forget…my parents and I started our two-week tour today.  Waterloo StationWe had wonderful English porridge for breakfast then headed to downtown London from our hotel near the airport.  We managed to navigate public transportation, first a bus, then the tube, to get to Waterloo station.

We had hopes of taking the London Eye, but the crowds were amazing so we hopped on a boat instead to the Tower of London.  We got a nicely guided tour from the boat’s crew as we headed down the river.

What to say about the Tower?  All that gruesomeThe Tower of London history of the murders, torture and executions.   The ravens are cawing and you climb the tiny, circular staircases, imagining Henry and Anne and Elizabeth sweeping through the rooms.  Edward I is celebrated in the White Tower and there’s a beautiful sculpture near the spot where so many lost their heads.

We took the boat back up the river and this time got off at Westminster.  We were hoping to tour the Abbey but were too late to catch the last tour.  And, the sign indicated it would be closed the next day, too, for a special event.  We were disappointed but decided to stay for Evensong.  What a wonderful stumble upon…the service was perfect after the long day of touring, beautiful choir song, notes rising into that awesome space, surrounded by the memento mori of the crypts and sculptures and grave stones.  I was facing the huge stained glass window. Westminster Abbey

I was mostly disappointed about not getting to Poet’s Corner and paying homage to Chaucer.  As I looked around during the service, though, I realized we were on the edge of the corner.  When the service was over, I took a moment to walk towards the back of the area in which we were sitting, and there it was: Chaucer and all the rest!  I didn’t get to take pictures but it was OK.  A lovely personal memory wrapped in the beauty of the service.

Tomorrow is Buckingham Palace, St. Paul’s Cathedral and the British Museum.  We want to have lunch at the Cafe in the Crypt at St. Martin’s in the Field.