It was so great to go back to London, this time with the family. I’ve missed it since I was there by myself over 10 years ago. I love that we have been Marriott Point hoarders for many years (we had >200,000), so that trips like this are possible. Dan had a meeting up there again for work, so it was exciting for Ryu & I to come along. Last time he came, he was unable to spend time really seeing the city, so we went to the places he chose and had a great time together. We’ve already posted some photos on Facebook, but a list of places visited and a few more photos are below:
- Westminster Abbey
- St Paul’s Cathedral
- British Museum
- The National Gallery (Dan & Ryu), which Hannah spent a BUNCH of time at St. Martin in the Fields making brass rubbings (I’m SO excited about these!)
- Concert that night at St. Martin in the Fields
- Tower of London
- Imperial War Museum
- Churchill War Rooms
- Shakespeare’s Globe
- 2nd National Gallery trip (for Mummy & Ryu)
- Abbey Road recording studios
- 221b Baker Street – Sherlock Holmes’ house
- Victoria and Albert Museum
- Other random stuff: National Theatre, Shopped on Oxford Street, Ryu & I rode London double-decker buses for one day (his personal favorite), Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast (didn’t go inside – we’ve seen enough ships!), Bomber Command Memorial (while looking for something else), St. James’s Park, Hyde Park, Houses of Parliament & Big Ben, Westminster Cathedral, and a lot of amazing food along the way. :-)
It was a great trip!
When Ryu & I got there (separate flight from Daddy and to a different airport), we had to do some walking from Victoria Station to our hotel. The first photo we took was on this walk after the long flight and front of a very unique church. Come to find out later, this was the Westminster Cathedral (I had no idea!) Since the Westminster Abbey is the more famous one, I hadn’t seen this before:
Our confused wandering upon arrival brought us past the Westminster Cathedral (should have gone inside – I LOVE seeing old churches!)
Our hotel ended up being right down the street from Westminster Cathedral, which was an awesome location. When I’d visited London previously, I visited but didn’t pay to enter either Westminster or St. Paul’s Cathedral. This time we did – they were wonderful. I absolutely loved Westminster’s Poet’s Corner, and the Whispering Room at St. Paul’s. We weren’t able to take photos in either church, so no photos to share. It was amazing to walk where ALL coronations have taken place since William the Conqueror in 1066, see the tomb of Edward the Longshanks, see where Oliver Cromwell USED-to be buried – before the people flew in there quickly after his death, dug him up, then hung his dead body, then decapitated him and stuck his head on a post on the Tower Bridge. As with most passionate historical accounts involving those of rank, there is considerable doubt about the details, especially about whether this specific body was actually Cromwell…
Anyway – It was wonderful to see memorials or the actual graves of so many literary & other greats, (be still my fast beating heart!) including Geoffrey Chaucer, C.S Lewis, Lord Byron, Charles Dickens, T.S. Eliot, John Keats, Rudyard Kipling, Henry James, John Milton, D.H Lawrence, William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, George Frederick Handel, Sir Walter Scott, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Lewis Carroll, William Wordsworth, Henry Percell and Oscar Wilde, (and definitely NOT the least in this male-dominated place of recognition!) memorials to Jane Austen, all three Bronte Sisters, George Eliot, (annoyingly Mary Shelley is not there but her husband is…but anyway) Scientific giants including Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin are also interred there. It just warmed my soul to walk in the same area as these who have altered humanity’s outlook. Amazing.
We then went out to see the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben a bit closer up: (and yes, these ads for the Book of Mormon Musical were EVERYWHERE!)
We HAD to document that we love Mormon(s)! :-)
We didn’t really get any good photos of us in front of Parliament, :-( This bedraggled shot is the best we got:
Mummy and Ryu in front of Parliament in the shot that probably shouldn’t have been (had been up since 2am or something flying…)
Next we headed to St. Paul – the cathedrals and other churches have early opening hours, so they were easier to fit in during the mornings. Dan and Ryu getting some hot chocolate before going in to explore St Paul’s (right behind them):
Daddy & Ryu getting hot chocolate and eating pastries across the street from St. Paul’s Cathedral
St Paul’s was great – I had no idea that they had all the incredible mosaic work on the ceilings in there – I previously assumed the whole building was Baroque, without any additional decoration. They were truly sunning, even after those we regularly see in the Holy Land. We were unable to take any photos inside, but this is a photo of part of the ceiling between the 2 sides of the Organ that I found online. You can also see the paintings on the ceiling of the Life of St Paul on the left – if you look below these paintings, you’ll see people up inside the dome – this is the Whispering gallery, there you can whisper against the wall and everyone with their ears along the wall will be able to hear. That was pretty neat to experience (reminds me of that room in Washington DC, right?):
Some of the many incredible Mosaics at St Paul’s Cathedral, London – truly stunning.
We then moved on to what I think is one of the best museums in the world – the British Museum. They have a HUGE collection of artifacts that were stolen during colonialism, including their very impressive Egyptian and Assyrian collections. They have the Rosetta stone, as well as large parts of Greek ruins as well. Ryu is interested in mummies and pyramids right now, so seeing the mummies here was right up his alley. He also saw cuneiform, hieroglyphics, decorations from Mastaba tombs, and plenty of carvings & sculpture from various ancient world societies that go right along with our current home school work. We got only 1 or 2 pictures at the British Museum (too many incredible things to see!) Ryu fell asleep on me for a great portion of the time – here we are seeing Greek Ruins that had been lifted and reconstructed:
Sleepy Ryu has been tired out by all the Greek Ruins at the British Museum
I think I’ll have to come back to post more in the future…(apparently Ryu is into this eating dinner thing), so I should go do that. It was a wonderful trip. We’re not sure when we’ll be able to take a trip like this again in the immediate future since we’ll have suddenly have two more toddlers with us. It was good to do this before we bring them home. Hope we get to explore more of Europe with them too – (it’s SO close and SO comparatively cheap for us to do while living in Israel!), but we’ll see.