A Quick Trip to England – Part II

Touring around London was fabulous!  What a beautiful, clean City.  But just like every other City in the world, it was crowded; and it being the Christmas Season, I’m sure brought more people out and about.  I spent the entire day walking the City.  I started at about 10 in the morning and it was dark before I called it a day.

London Sea Gull

London Sea Gull

There was so much to see, my first picture of the day was of a sea-gull sitting on the railing outside the train station.

I walked across the bridge over the Thames and marveled at the sight of Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster.

London Palace of Westminster

Palace of Westminster

The Palace of Westminster is the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Commonly known as the Houses of Parliament after its tenants, the Palace lies on the bank of the River Thames in the City of Westminster, in central London. Its name, which derives from the neighboring Westminster Abbey, may refer to either of two structures: the Old Palace, a medieval building complex that was destroyed by fire in 1834, and its replacement New Palace that stands today. For ceremonial purposes, the palace retains its original style and status as a royal residence.

Big Ben

Big Ben

Big Ben is the nickname for the great bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster and often extended to refer to the clock and the clock tower.  The tower is now officially called the Elizabeth Tower, after being renamed in 2012 (from “Clock Tower”) to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II. The tower holds the largest four-faced chiming clock in the world and is the third-tallest free-standing clock tower.  The tower has become one of the most prominent symbols of both London and England.

I passed the London Eye.

London Eye

London Eye

The London Eye is a giant Ferris wheel on the South Bank of the River Thames in London. It is also known as the Millennium Wheel. The entire structure is 135 meters (443 ft) tall and the wheel has a diameter of 120 meters (394 ft). It is currently Europe’s tallest Ferris wheel and the most popular paid tourist attraction in the United Kingdom with over 3.5 million visitors annually.

The next stop was Westminster Abbey. Unbelievable! Gorgeous! Breathtaking! I can’t begin to describe how fabulous Westminster Abbey is.  I’ve seen many cathedrals in Europe, but I have to say Westminster Abbey is the most impressively beautiful cathedral I have visited so far.

London Westminster Abbey (2)

Westminster Abbey

There has been a place of worship on this site for well over a thousand years, and every monarch since William the Conqueror in 1066, bar two, have been crowned under its roof in an elaborate ceremony that is steeped in history and tradition. Westminster Abbey, or to call it by its correct name, The Collegiate Church of St Peter, Westminster, is unusual amongst churches in England in being a ‘Royal Peculiar’. This means it is under the jurisdiction of the crown and not within any diocese. This was an extremely important privilege in the Middle Ages as it gave the Abbey full control over its finances and day-to-day running and it soon grew into one of the wealthiest religious houses in the country. Westminster Abbey has survived them all. It’s an architectural masterpiece of the thirteenth to sixteenth centuries and contains countless memorials and effigies to the famous and great of this nation. Over three thousand people are either buried or memorialized in Westminster Abbey from Medieval Kings and their Queens, to the tomb of the Unknown Warrior, which in recent times has become a place of pilgrimage.

Tomb of the Unknown Warrior

Tomb of the Unknown Warrior

After having a cappuccino in the café in Westminster Abbey, I walked out into Parliament Square.  Much to my surprise there was a large statue of Abraham Lincoln, our 16th President standing right in front of Middlesex Guildhall.  This statue is an exact replica of the statue of standing in Lincoln Park in Chicago, Illinois.  The square is home to ten statues of British and foreign statesmen; Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln and Nelson Mandella among others.

Abraham Lincoln Statue

Abraham Lincoln Statue

Then I walked down the main road to Horse Guards.  Horse Guards is a large building in the Palladian style between Whitehall and Horse Guards Parade in London. The first Horse Guards building was built on the site of the former tiltyard of Westminster Palace in 1664.  I was very lucky because I actually arrived in time to see the changing of the Guard.London Changing of the Guard

London Horse Guard

Changing of the Horse Guard

 

Next Post – More of London

50 responses to “A Quick Trip to England – Part II

  1. Look forward to the next post with more from London~

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  2. AH, Arlene, I was there in September doing pretty much the same as you, although I suspect I was more comfortable, weather-wise! I also enjoyed walking along Southbank down to London and Tower Bridges. Lit up at night they were stunning! Looking forward to your next instalment 🙂

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    • Oh Britta,

      This was my first time to England, I don’t know how or why I never traveled there before. It was great, so much culture and so much old world charm. I think I am in love! One thing for sure, I will visit again.

      Arlene

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  3. Arlene,

    You have a way of bringing London and it’s history alive. For all the opportunity I had to do that over the years, I failed miserably. I did make it to Harrods Department Store. Did you? That is a trip and an overwhelming store. Did you know there is a Langham Hotel and a Langham Circle in London. The phone book is full of us. I realized that when I opened the office there.

    I am sure that you will help me see things in Portugal that I might not see otherwise.

    Steve

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    • Well thank you Steve. London was truly fascinating for me. I enjoyed my visit very much.

      No I didn’t get to Harrods, the shopping crowds became overwhelming for me and I had to retreat to a quieter part of the city. I did notice the name Langham a few places though, see there’s another thing you can add to your “resume” – royal blood or at least affiliated with royalty.

      I love to learn about the places I visit, so I’m sure there will be a lot to see in Portugal. If only I can get a book before the tour, I’ll then know what to look for. Sure do hope that Bill isn’t wanting us to keep a quick pace, I like to linger and look and take pictures. Wait, I’m sure he does the same being the International Super Film Maker that he is 🙂

      Arlene

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      • 25 or 30 years ago, I did not pay as much attention to history. Today, I try to pay more, but I still have that “let’s get it done” syndrome at times and move too fast. In some sense, I wasted a lot of trips to Europe.

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      • Funny you say that. I wasted my first Camino rushing to get to the next place. I didn’t stop, look, touch and smell. I think partly that is why my second Camino was the Frances again. And there was so much I didn’t see the first time. I’ve now learned to stop and smell the flowers when traveling. You may not pass that way again.

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      • I thought I had, but I have a long way to go. Just my nature. I am too goal oriented. Working on it.

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      • Will you revive your blog on the Portuguese Tour? I will, but not sure if I will be blogging every day while I work on the mosaic. We’ll have to see.

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      • I will if it does not take away from our communal time. It is one thing to blog when alone but something else when you are with a group. I want to enjoy the group. I was somewhat anti-social on the Camino as I never got into communal meals and chit chats.

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      • I positively agree, it would be downright rude to blog when in the group. I was also anti-social on this last Camino, I had so many feelings to deal with, so much to process. But the Camino worked its wonders and here I am on the other side looking at another Camino in 4 short months. I never had communal meals or group discussions either, this tour will be a lot different I think.

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  4. Hi Arlene –
    What a terrific post! Such a pleasure to read.
    I really love London … I lived there for over three years in the late 70’s. It was my No.1 favourite place on earth until the Camino pushed it off it’s perch last year!
    I’m heading back there in February for the CSJ hospitaleros’ training day for Refugio Gaucelmo, which is held on 15 February … can’t wait!
    Cheers – Jenny

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    • Hi Jenny,

      Thank you, I really loved England. I could see myself living there some day.

      Until I walked the Camino, I always wanted to live in the French countryside. But after my first Camino, that changed to Basque Spain. But now having been to England, I would really love to expatriate to England. No language barrier, well that is except for my New York accent, and the fear of driving on the opposite side of the street but those little pesky things can be overcome. Who knows, maybe some day!

      Arlene

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      • Better take a lot of money, I suspect.

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      • I believe breakfast and dinner is included in the price of the package. But I would suspect extra cash will be needed should anyone want to extend their stay and continue on to the coast or Cannes or Fatima, as has been suggested.
        I need to consider the fact that I will probably be in Europe until September but thankfully my Arizona bills are very low while I am away from home – especially during the summer!

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      • My comment was directed at your thought about living in England. 🙂

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      • Oh, I did notice everything was a bit inflated from the costs here. The dollar was 1.65 to the pound at that time. But I surely did love the countryside!

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      • Hi Arlene –
        Five reasons why you should move to England … some amusing and some serious … to be seriously considered!
        1. You’ll be closer to the Camino!
        2. The history and mystery of that gorgeous land will send you with your mosaic art in an entirely new direction;
        3. If you lived in or near London you could go to all the CSJ meetings – how cool would that be?!
        4. You’ll be able to eat fish, chips and mushy peas!
        5. You’ll be able to visit Downton Abbey as often as you like!
        Cheers – Jenny x

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      • Oh my gosh Jenny, between your five reasons and Britta’s response of things in the UK I need to see, I’m going to look into applying for a permanent visa so I can live in England.

        I loved the mushy peas! They were great and the fish and chips. Why did I come home?

        Arlene

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  5. Well, Arlene, then just wait until you go expoloring down in Devon and Cornwall, or in the Lakes District, or the Yorkshore Moors … you might not move there, but you’ll certainly want to spend a lot of time, whether in London itself, or outside in the countryside – and of course, the history of Oxford and Cambridge, it’s positively dripping with tall tales!!! You’ll be blogging for us for years to come 🙂

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    • Britta,

      Let me see, I’m in Portugal with Bill’s tour in April, and in Spain from May until August (an estimate on how long the mosaic will take), dare I even think about continuing my trip by stopping off again in England? It sure does sound enticing though 😉

      Arlene

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    • Hey Britta, Arlene and Steve –
      Why don’t we ask the ‘Film Director’ (aka the ‘Tour Director’) to organize a PGS “England Swings” tour … all of us in a red double-decker London bus careering all over the countryside, having the time of our lives!
      Hooly dooly – it’ll be fun!
      Cheers – Jenny

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      • HOOLY DOOLY – I’m in.

        Bill are you following this conversation? Your on – when can you arrange this “England Swings” tour?

        Arlene

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      • Hi Arlene –
        I’ll be the second booking !!! Hey – Bill could take us on a tour of all the stately homes used on movie sets! I would LOVE to visit that lake that Colin Firth emerged from in Pride and Prejudice … maybe he could arrange for an ‘encore’ appearance by Col just for the PGS family!
        Cheers – Jenny

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      • Hi Jenny,
        That would be great! Bill the Tour Director already has a following and he doesn’t even know we have promoted him to Tour Director Extraordinaire! Look you’ve even begun to build his tour itinerary for the England Swings Tour! Can we add a tour to the Cannes Film Festival?
        Arlene

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      • Cannes Film Festival is a GREAT idea Arlene! Perhaps Bill could arrange for us to walk down the ‘red carpet’ – btw. I’ll be with George! Would you prefer Johnny or Brad?
        Cheers – Jenny

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      • Jenny,

        Colin Farrell or Johnny Depp would work for me! 😉

        Arlene

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      • Why?

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      • Good – but I still have to say:
        Liar, liar pants on fire!

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      • Cold as it is, might feel good.

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      • It’s ridiculous here also. It was 28*F this morning in Tucson, Arizona – WTF!!

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      • Oh wait. I am old, so it is OK. Actually, I really don’t, but maybe I should. 🙂 Bill, on the other hand, is old, by his own definition. Over 60, remember?

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      • Yes, I do remember Bill saying now that he is 60, he’s old. I don’t feel old but I am at least by Bill’s definition!

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      • Surely he was talking about himself.

        I went to my 50th high school reunion in 2010. Now, those people were old. I was amazed.

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      • Unbelievable isn’t it? My classmates are so old both looking and thinking. I’m glad it’s not me or at least I don’t think it’s me!

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      • Boy, are you right. Maimed and dead also.

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      • Yeah some of mine also. And I’m not talking about the ones that got killed in Viet Nam either. Sort of makes for a feeling of mortality, doesn’t it?

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      • I think most of mine missed VietNam. I entered the Marine Corps right out of high school for 6 months active duty, and started college literally the next day after returning home. I entered an officers training course and planned to fly jets when I graduated and received a commission. I passed a flight physical at 18, but failed it at 21 on high frequency hearing loss. Maybe from running an air hammer one summer. But at any rate, that ended my military career. I would have been out of flight school in 1967, right at the beginning. So, instead I went to work for Conoco. I wanted to be career Marine.

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      • My youngest son is a Marine. He is no longer in the Corp but as you know, once a Marine, always a Marine. He and his wife just attended a Marine Corp Ball, he’s put on some weight so his uniform didn’t fit, he had to get a new one. All of that was going on while I was in NJ after returning from my Camino.

        There is nothing like the pride I felt and still feel that my son is a Marine. OohRah!

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      • Being from the east coast I guess he went to MCRD Parris Island, huh? I went to San Diego. My first airplane ride. I still love to go on the base in San Diego. Other than barracks now where we lived in quonset huts, it is the same. It is a beautiful Spanish Colonial red tile roofed base. I went to OCS in Quantico, VA. My son was in the corps. He left a wife and daughter in Jacksonville, NC. She is now 22 and married to a Marine. I see nothing of him or of her.

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  6. Hi Arlene –
    If you find yourself seriously considering spending some time in England and want to use London as a base initially, I have a friend who has a holiday rental apartment in Kensington – two minutes walk from Kensington Palace and Kensington Gardens. I have stayed there MANY times over the years and Janet stayed there last year. It’s my home-away-from-home when in London. Top location – security building – and much cheaper than a hotel.
    Cheers – Jenny

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  7. Guess we get pretty far off blog topic. Probably boring the others. Can always do email.

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  8. not boring at all. I am a bit behind the 8 ball, my blog settings are now for once a week. I am having a great time revisiting all the places I experienced in 2011. I had a smashing good time. I walked as much as I could, because I did not like the Tube, I felt entombed… shivers. I only had 5 days and not enough time to go to Cornwall. There is a Tea estate I would have wanted to visit… so next time.

    Cheers! Ingrid

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    • Ingrid,
      The tubes didn’t bother me at all. But then again, I’m a New Yorker and that is the way we get around, but we call them the “Subway”. There are plenty of things I did not see on my quick trip, but I have vowed to return. England is so magical!
      Arlene

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