December 1, 2012

PhotoEx 2012 Day 2: Sunday at Westminster, White Hall, Trafalgar Square, and the British Museum

Sunday dawned bright and sunny.  A special occasion, as I'd come to learn after spending a week in London.  It rains.  It is just a fact of life.  You bring your jacket with you everywhere, everyday.  I didn't have a raincoat, so I borrowed one from the family I was staying with the week prior to IPS.

Every morning IPS got together and had the schedule for the day explained as well as any significant and interesting historical facts about the places we were going that day.  I didn't start taking notes till Monday, but I believe Rowan was talking about the overall history of GB.  Then we set out for Westminster Abbey again.  This time to attend the Sung Eucharist service.  We were quite early so there weren't a ton of people and it was fairly quiet.

Madey and Anntonette (or Curls, as we call her) got coffee and then we wandered around the church.  Our wanderings were not in vain.  We came across the oldest door in the UK.  It was a thick oak door  and was built in 10-- something AD!  It didn't say anywhere to not touch it, so I did.

A little further on we reached a circular chapel with wall paintings from the 15 century.  Those you couldn't touch. :-P  There was an art exhibit of pictures of HM Queen Elizabeth II and all the different occasions she frequented the Abbey.  There were pictures of her as a little princess, at weddings, her wedding, her coronation, funerals and the dedication of the grave of the unknown soldier.  That photo brought me to tears.  Well, the memorial brought me to tears later, but seeing Her Majesty with tears rolling down her cheeks as well was very moving.

The grave of the unknown soldier sits right in front of the door.  His body was never identified.  There is no name, no rank, no title.  He now represents ever soldier, high or low, and is honored by having been buried with the Kings in Westminster Abbey.

The service was unlike any I had every attended.  Our new testament assemblies are nothing like the anglican church as far as structure goes.  The church was beautiful and the people/clergy reverent.  Unlike some "experiment Sundays" that I've had in my travels I was truly able to worship. I left with two distinct impressions: Reverence of the all powerful and mighty God, and a sober, almost fearful, distance.  I realized a little later when thinking over it that there wasn't much hope.  I don't remember any joy at being able to personally know the savior and delight in his work and words.  I wondered how many of them truly know the God of their traditions.

I'm not sure where my readers stand on the head covering, but I wear one during meetings of the church and am almost always the only lady wearing one when I visit other churches.  Just an interesting fact I thought I'd thrown in there.  :-)

Once again, there were no cameras allowed in the church during the ceremony so I didn't even bring mine that morning.  Just my Bible and notebook.  So there are no pictures to share of the many graves of famous people I saw/walked on.  Charles Darwin sound familiar?  We weren't able to venture to poet's corner or and of the other "corners" but there were plaques on almost every square foot of floor space.
This is a library.  wow.

After picking our gear up at the hostel the sky clouded over.  We trekked to the British Museum and split up among the cafes and vendors for lunch and a free-for-all in the MASSIVE museum.

Curls!  Isn't she cute?  :-)

Here is our whole group in front of the museum, minus Rowan, who was taking the picture.  See me?  I'm the second from the left in the back row.

Such cool architecture! I've got a thing for columns.  No, you know what?  I've got a thing for everything ancient greek.  And let me tell you, there was plenty of it in this museum.  I went around with Courtney and Kelly and I'm afraid I talked their ears off. :-)  Not usual for me.  But they had so many amazing artifacts from greece and it is a museum, so by definition there is loads of history.

Oh, and there is me with a caryatid.  Caryatid: A supporting column sculptured in the form of a draped female figure. You learn something new everyday!  Thanks Courtney for the picture!

I got to see the rosetta stone!  That stone is much bigger than I thought it was.  I was envisioning a tablet, to be honest.  This rock is probably close to 2x4x5 feet!  It must be heavy...

Hieroglyphics.  Yay for unit studies! :-)

2012 London Olympic medals - Gorgeous mosaics
More statutes - the timeline of clock, including these magnificent pocket watches.

There are many other pictures of all sorts of little things all over the museum but they were documentary pictures and not artwork.  And they would probably be boring to all of you, so I've refrained from putting them up.  You're welcome.

Then it is on the tube we go!  The London transit system has to longest/tallest/steepest escalators ever.  Easily 3 stories and possibly 5.  Remember to stand on the right.  Important people in a hurry run up the left side and if you're in the way they become very put out.

When we emerged above ground again we started walking down the street called White Hall and ended up at Trafalgar Square.  Judson was our guide here.  He showed us the Prime Minister's house and interspersed English traditions and culture throughout the walk.

Lots of picture-taking.

Lots of government buildings.

Lots of flags.

Lots of Monuments.

Lots of listening and learning.

As Judson was telling us about how reverent the English are toward their dead and how well they remember what has been done for them many of us were quite moved.  I would love to be in the center of London on Armistice Day.  I think I'm going to put it on my bucket list.

Judson telling us about how Churchill would be on the roof of this building during the blackouts and raids during WWII.  Just down that road in the Churchill Museum and War Rooms.

 Then it was off to Trafalgar Square!  The Heart of London.  I didn't know anything about Admiral Lord Nelson before I went to Great Britain but he is one of my heros now.  There he stands a top that column.

Of course, most of us U.S. citizens hadn't even heard of the Battle of Trafalgar let alone known its significance, so we got the 3D version.  

Oh, and it started to rain.  Here Judson demonstrates Nelson's unique sea warfare tactics.

Through those arches in the Mall (pronounced "m-oww") it leads to Buckingham Palace (pronounced "buck-in-um").

With Ashley.  Sweet friend from my Portland trip.

There is a rain drop on my lens and it blurs out big ben.

Brooke: always with a smile


Cute Ashley. :-)

The official center of London.

Pops of red through the grey atmosphere.


  1. London looks so wonderful! England is the one places I want to visit so much. It seems like such a neat place.

  2. I love this post! Thank you for taking me back to London with your writing! I miss you friend!