Monday, May 12, 2014

London: Day 6

Today was Westminster Abbey, Take Two. I didn't get to go inside last week and I wasn't leaving without seeing it, so I headed that way this morning. 
The line, or queue, was tremendous. It went around the block. Still, I prepared myself for a long wait and got in line. 
It took about thirty minutes to get inside. 
But on the way, I got to see rose bushes which you could smell right from the line. 
We weren't allowed to take pictures inside the Abbey, but I paid my respects to Handel, Henry James, Longfellow, Jane Auster, and the Bronte sisters, among other. 
Seeing Elizabeth I's tomb was stunning. To think that you are standing right in front of where that powerful queen is buried is enough to give you chills that have nothing to do with the weather. 
After exiting the main Abbey, I got to see the cloisters and the courtyard area. 
It's really beautiful, and, since Big Ben is close by, you hear that ancient ringing throughout the Abbey.
Look at those arches. 
Britain's oldest door. It's been around since the 11th century.
This was in another section of Abbey, with very interesting architectural designs. 
The stainglass work alone must have taken so much intricate work.
On the walls were these murals, with saints and angels. They are extremely faded, but that gives them an even cooler look. 
I'm sure they're working to preserve all of these because it would be a shame to lose them further to age.
The mosaic work was even better in person. No one could stand on it, since it is also fading.
This is the Pyx room, called like that because of some of the coins and things that used to be stored in the large chests you'll see in the next picture.

They were kept there and one of the monks would watch over them in that room. 
After Westminster, I headed over to Hyde Park. It was such a lovely, sunny day that I didn't want to be inside anymore. 
I went in through Hyde Park Corner and this is one of the first things you see.
The park looks big in a map, but it is truly huge when you're there. I think you could spend hours and hours and not see everything. I was there for a good two hours and still missed the Peter Pan statue.
There were, as everywhere else in London, lots and lots of pigeons.
Th flower displays are so carefully maintained. There were tons of workers there, trimming and planting. 
I didn't catch it in this picture, but there was a magpie running around looking for all kinds of food. And the squirrels are cheeky little things, too. One of them climbed right up my leg to see what I had in my bag. I came prepared this time, though, with Jammie Dodgers and a whole bag of bread.
The colors were so much more vivid in person.
That's the Serpentine lake. There are all kinds of ducks, geese, swans, coots, and lots of pigeons. 
I fed half the duck population, I think.
This is the Diana Memorial. Very pretty, though why people are allowed to stick their feet in, I don't know. 
The sound the water makes over the carved stones is very soothing.
A magpie who hopped on to get a drink of water.
It was funny how there were seagulls on pretty much every post.

And a swan who came right up to me, begging for food. Which he got. 
Heading to the Albert and Victoria Memorial.
Very elaborate and kept spotless.  
Look how white that stone is!
Across from there is the Royal Albert Hall. But I turned back around to see the Flower Walk.

The smell of flowers of all kinds was strong, even in the breeze.
There were signs not to feed pigeons and squirrels in this section, but I don't think anyone told that to them becasue the squirrels ran toward people, trying to grab their bags and things. They were also very fat, so they're getting plenty of food. I gave them the rest of a granola bar I had. There were also small little birds who hopped right into my hand to eat crumbs and pieces of granola. I felt a bit like Snow White, prancing around like a lunatic with squirrels and small small, peeping birds begging for food.
After the Flower Walk, without a single crumb of food left in my bag, I headed for Kensington Palace.
Which also had a lovely garden.
Full of people
They recently finished refurbishing the garden area and it does look beautiful.
A great statue...with the token duck.
This was the staircase that all the merchants and dignitaries took to meet the King when he was in the palace.
A tapestry hanging inside the room in which the King would meet everyone.
Very crisp clothing.

In another of the rooms, there were moving shadows projected on the walls dancing to the music of the era.
The future queen's dress.
This was the king's gallery.
With a really cool clock.
I love that red.
That staircase led to the queen's quarters.
Which had lots of bird imagery. My kind of queen.
They had these gramophones piping in whispers of what the royal court said about Queen Anne when she couldn't produce an heir.
The set up in all of these rooms was beautiful. Someone with a bit of artistic flair got free reign of the place.
These stood for the 18 babies.
It's hard to see in the picture because the room was dark and they didn't allow flash photography, but those were all houses which you could look into.
That one, for example, had a small rocking chair.
Then there was a whole section dedicated to Albert and Victoria, showing their lives.
One of her gowns.
And an awesome toy house for one of her children.
Most of her rooms were dark so taking photos was impossible, but there were lots of trinkets and things from their lives.
By the time I was done with the palace, I was exhausted, like I'm-going-to-sit-down-right-here-in-an-old-Victorian-chair exhausted. So I grabbed some food and called it a day.

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