Friday, May 30, 2008

May 30th - London Day 2

Jesse felt a little better that morning, but again, we slept very little so we were quite tired.
We started out going to the London Eye which is a giant ferris wheel. I figured it would be good because Jesse could sit and rest a bit.
You get great views of the city in the Eye. We were in there with a British family and though I didn't know it at the time, Jesse was getting quite upset at one of the ladies because she kept hovering over the air conditioner.

Then we went to Westminster Abbey. Where apparently anyone who's anyone in British history or culture is buried. I mean everyone has a memorial there. Chaucer, Austen, Tennyson, Carrol, Isaac Newton, even Darwin - not to mention generations of kings and queens. It's also quite huge. It seemed to go on for ever. The cathedral was huge and had large prayer rooms off the side and burial chambers for the royalty. And then it also had cloisters and gardens you could visit.
They won't let you take pictures in the Abbey itself which is a shame.
So all the pictures I've attached in this blog are taken by a professional, but they are the pictures that I would have taken had they let me.
After the abbey, Jesse was feeling much better and we figured since we had seen Buckingham palace, we would go see the Prime Minister's residence, 10 Downing Street. It was heavily guarded of course, but he doesn't live in a huge palace or anything like our president. In fact, aside from the guards, the only thing that lets you know that he lives there is the black door with the address.
Then we went to the cabinet war rooms which are the underground bunkers for Churchill and his team during the blitz in WWII. It was typical museum fare, but the map room was pretty cool because it had all these old maps of Europe pasted on the wall with pins stuck in them obviously to follow battles and battle plans.
Jenny, Jesse's sister, was a history major (specifically WWII history) so she spent a lot more time in there than we did. While waiting for her to come out, we were hanging out on the side of the street when a big parade came by with lots of horses and carriages. We found out later that they were practicing for the queen's birthday which was going to take place just after we left.
When Jenny and Jay finally emerged, we split. Jesse's parents were going to take his grandparents back to the hotel to rest. Us 'kids' were going to see if we could find the church where Princess Diana was married.
Apparently, us kids are stupid. We went to the wrong church. We took a train halfway across London, only to get out at this little chapel. The cool thing was that there was a wedding going on and the vicar let us watch part of it through the glass doors.

After having spent a day in Liverpool, and now being in London, how could a tourist and a Beatles fan resist Abbey Road?
We did the the typical touristy thing walking across the road and acting like we were on the cover of the album. The thing is, Abbey Road is actually quite a busy street. I'm sure people get injured there all the time because of the traffic and the desire to stop mid-crossing to get a good picture. Very close to the spot where the Beatles got their album cover shot is the actual Abbey Road Studios.
Jesse was in Beatles heaven. He wanted to go in. He almost did, just to pop in and act like he was supposed to be there, but then be escorted out by security. I mean, how many people can say they were kicked out of Abbey Road Studios? But he chickened out.

A short walk from Abbey Road is Paul McCartney's actual home. He wasn't there because he was giving a show in Liverpool (missed him by two days!!). I was impressed by how unimpressive his home was. He doesn't live like a multi-millionaire at all.

We actually spent alot of this day just wandering London with Jesse's parents. We hit up the theater district to try and find cheap seats to Spamalot, but no luck. One of the cool things we saw was in Trafalgar square there was a sidewalk chalk artist just like in Mary Poppins.
I tried to jump in and see if it would transport me to a magical, colorful land with live carousels and dancing penguins, but it didn't :(

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