20 July 2007

Trip Blog. Day Three.

I took about 6984393844 pictures today, a figure which is disputed by James, but too bad. My jet lag is still lagging rather badly, and as a result I was on the 5:55 train into London this morning, which deposited me there shortly before seven. I took a billion pictures just on the way in; I took the DLR (Docklands Light Rail) from Greenwich into Canary Wharf, where I took photos of buildings disappearing into the fog (photos on Webshots as soon as they finish uploading. They have not been edited or stitched yet, so be patient). I took the Jubilee line into Westminster Station. You have a choice of six exits out of Westminster Station; I took exit six out onto Whitehall.

At this point I looked around, trying to find my bearings, and then I turned the corner around the building. And Oh, My God, there was Big Ben. Words cannot describe the situation. For one thing, I didn't realise how freakin BIG everything was going to be. I'm not sure the photos can describe how big it all is. Parliament is HUGE. HUGE. HUGE does not even begin to describe it. I was walking along Whitehall here, next to Parliament, gaping like a big ole stupid tourist and wondering how in the world anyone LIVES here. Because they are all walking past this stuff like it's normal or something.

So I'm walking alongside Parliament, on what I thought was the sidewalk, when these white vans come barreling along and try to murder me. I have a photo of the murderous van as well. I leaped (and I am so not exaggerating) over the nice dividing chain onto what apparently actually is the sidewalk.

After my minor brush with almost-death, I walked around into the park that is next to Parliament, and found a cool statue. Then I walked over to Westminster Abbey. It was about half past seven and the Abbey does not open till half past nine, so I walked around it and took photos from outside the barriers. I have some good ones, I think, but I've not analysed them just yet, so it will be a bit. They're all up on Webshots.

After that, I sort of wandered around looking for breakfast since I'd only eaten some green grapes in the past twenty-four hours. I finally found this place just off of Victoria Street and had eggs benedict (yes, with ham) on what was allegedly a muffin, but the dude took the whole thing and toasted it like a panini and it was BRILLIANT. I jumped onto the nearest bus to escape the weather (did I mention ever that it was about fifty degrees and raining with moderate wind?) and ate my breakfast and then jumped off.

It turned out that I was in Chelsea. Nice. I am really glad I bought a compass and that I had it in my special dyke pants. I found my way back to Sloane Square Station and took the tube back to Victoria Station. It was still early, so I set out on my quest for Buckingham Palace.

Insert tangent here: London is seriously diverse. Seriously. So diverse that if you see more than three or four people together that all look like they are the same ethnicity, they are a tour group. Texas is incredibly homogenised, and anyone who wants to complain about the prevalence of black people and/or Mexicans can seriously sod off, because they would have a heart attack on the London tube.

Right, so Buckingham Palace. It was cool. There was gold. There was also the Victoria Fountain. I have a picture of myself standing in front of Buckingham Palace, but not a whole lot of other pictures from that area on account of I was eating my SECOND breakfast, of bacon, egg and cheese on a baguette while I was looking around there. I was starting to get a bit overwhelmed by everything, as well as starting to be a bit tired from carrying around my pack. Also, I was freezing. Did I mention the weather.

At some point, it came to be nine o'clock and I migrated back to Westminster to get in, where I found out that it would be ten pounds' admission. I decided to bite the bullet.

Oh, my Lord, and that is a completely appropriate exclamation. We weren't allowed photos inside (I sort of pirated a couple; I don't know how well they'll work), but that is just was well because there is no way that photos could capture that awesome awesomeness of the interior of Westminster Abbey. Words cannot even begin to describe. For a start, there are people buried under your feet just everywhere, and if you go, you have to make sure to go at the very beginning of the morning before all the tourists get there; it's much more peaceful. There are little chapels all around with beautiful stained glass and more burials. A lot of the elevated crypts have effigies of the deceased on the top of the caskets. I am usually creeped out by cemeteries, but not at this point. I was very mindful of walking over people's graves, however.

I was also slightly annoyed/upset by the people who did not seem to be mindful of either the Abbey's status as church/cemetery, or even by their lack of awe for the fact that this affair has been around for NINE HUNDRED years. The interior architecture is also completely awesome. I was in there for three hours being completely awestruck and absorbing the experience. It definitely committed me to my love affair with European history. Nine HUNDRED years. There were people buried there in the twelve hundreds. And there was Elizabeth, and Newton; Chaucer and George Eliot and Michael Faraday. I could take hours and it would not adequately describe the experience. On outside of the Great West Door, which is the entrance into the nave, are statues of twentieth century martyrs; among them are Doctors King and Bonhoeffer.

I was emotionally and physically exhausted at that point, and hied myself back to my hostel for a nap. I am now being summoned to the other end of the pub, and so shall finish later.

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2 Comments:

Blogger S said...

Yay for London!

The tourists at Westminster Abbey sound sort of like the idiots that were at Notre Dame when I went...

7:41 PM  
Anonymous elise said...

special dyke pants? that sounds essential to a wardrobe...whereabouts did you come across these pants?

11:52 PM  

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