Last friday I made my 4th trip to London in less than a month, this time with the students. London is a very crowded city, which isn’t usually my cup of tea, but I do love visiting it. (And I love getting to leave at the end of the day and come back to much quieter Oxford.)
We started the day at the Tower of London, and it was amazing to see how many more poppies had been placed in just two weeks. The ceramic poppies are put out by volunteers and they’ve had more volunteers than spots for them to work. The last poppy will be placed on Armistice Day, November 11th.
The Tower is a bit kitchy (okay, more that a bit), but it’s one of the few pieces of Medieval London still in tact. We didn’t have a lot of time to spend there, but we wandered the walls briefly and went saw the crown jewels. The poppies are the real appeal, and they’re all outside.
From there, we rushed to grab lunch, catch the tube, and make it across town for our afternoon tour of Parliament. I loved it! It was amazing to walk through Westminster Palace, which been in that place since the 11th century (most of it was rebuilt in the 19th century after a fire). We walked through the queen’s robing room, both houses of Parliament, voting rooms, and the Westminster Hall, where Charles I was tried at the end of the English Civil War. We saw the statues in St. Stephen’s Hall where the suffragettes chained themselves in 1909. My rhetorician self was in nerd heaven.
Then we walked across the street for evensong at Westminster Abbey. I love being in the abbey for worship. It’s humbling to think of all the people who have prayed and sung in those walls over the last 1000 years.
And to cap off a banner day in London, we rode the London Eye as the sun set over the city. We saw St. Paul’s, Big Ben, and countless other landmarks as the eye made it’s slow circle.
We still have a list of London to-dos, but it will be a few weeks before we head back — Scotland and Spain are up next!