Sunday, September 4, 2016

Loitering in London

After a long flight from Los Angeles to a lay-over in Iceland, we arrived in London around noon, groggy, but excited. We went straight to the chapel where I used to attend the Hyde Park Ward thirty-five years ago. Natalie and Miranda were thrilled we made it to the young adult ward, and Natalie was especially happy to find a Chinese Sunday School.
After church, we dropped off our bags at the hotel (a charming place serving a full breakfast near Piccadilly Circus) and after a short nap, we headed out for a walking tour. We visited Big Ben, Leicester Square, Buckingham Palace, and Westminster Abbey and promised ourselves longer stops on the days ahead.
Buckingham Palace had an exhibit of the queen’s dresses. The girls loved this, Larry not so much. My favorite was the queen’s dollhouse, complete with working lights and plumbing.
You can buy a tour of Westminster Abbey, but we chose to attend an evening service. It was long, some of it was in Latin, but the music was gorgeous.
We ended the evening at the musical, Funny Girl. I loved this sooo very much. Larry commented that the lead seemed made for the part. She cried when the audience gave her a standing ovation. Imagine our surprise when we realized she was the understudy. It still makes me weepy to think about it.
We rented a car and drove to Windsor Castle. (I wouldn’t recommend this, but I know it was the right thing for us to do—I’ll explain why in a moment.) It took us hours to weave our way out of London’s traffic, and we arrived in Windsor much later than we had hoped. Still, I love Windsor—the castle and the small town. The original castle was built in the 11th century after the Norman invasion of England by William the Conqueror and it’s been in use continually since the 13th century. It gave me shivers to learn that there has been a worship service in St. George’s Chapel since the 15th century.
We accidentally drove past Runnymede (yeah!) Don’t know what that is? The water-meadow at Runnymede is the most likely location at which, in 1215, King John sealed Magna Carta which affected was the embryo of the development of parliament. Now, it’s a big empty field, but it’s cool to think of those early Anglo-Saxon kings powwowing there.
After that, we made our way to the London Temple where the girls had a miraculous and serendipitous meet-up with a high school friend currently serving a mission at the visitor’s center. (There was much hugging and crying.) While the girls attended a temple session, Larry and I went to dinner and held our own powwow on ways we could improve our trip.

While Larry returned the rental car, the girls and I walked past my old BYU center where I had studied during the eighties. Later, the girls toured London Tower while Larry and I toured the Bridge. We had intended to hit Portobello Road, but we ran out of time. After three days in London, we weren’t quite ready to leave. But we did. Next stop—Amsterdam. Pictures to follow.

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