Oh wow wow wow it was a good day.
Yesterday was exhausting and we slept late followed by a late breakfast and chat with one of the B&B owners about WW II and the German occupied but English owned Channel Islands.
Next we strolled to visit the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace where all of the Royal coaches and cars are kept along with the horses. I did not appreciate the uniqueness and heritage behind each one but I am duly impressed now. I’ve seen tons of photos of Royals in carriages but it will be different for me going forward knowing that they are each unique by their own right. The latest, build in 2012 even has air conditioning. Yes please.
The tack room in the stables had staff polishing the harnesses etc for what I assume is the upcoming wedding. That was interesting as well. Of note, if you work there, you get to live there in the apartments over the stables as well. That’s a sweet address.
After the mews where you can buy Palace branded water, we walked to Westminster Abbey where we spent the much of the rest of the day touring this beautiful space. I could have called today’s blog “I see dead people” because I saw a lot of them. Too many Kings and Queens to count, tombs and commemorative plaques to famous writers and poets like Dylan Thomas, Jane Austin, Robert Browning, politicians like William Wilberforce and of course Winston Churchill. We stood on the spot where Charles Darwin is buried, which is directly adjacent to where Sir Isaac Newton, and betwixt them Stephen Hawking will be placed in the coming weeks.
Too much history, architecture, and beauty to soak it all in. I did happen to stumble upon the midday service and I did join in. They were also serving communion today and I was going to take it similar to my visit to St Pauls but there was no dip your bread in the cup option, if you are taking communion at Westminster Abbey you have to drink from the shared cup with every other million people drink out of. I stood to get in line and discretely walked out of the crowd. Nope, couldn’t do it.
After the tour we went to the Abbey’s cafe where we had our prerequisite British afternoon tea. Delicious and filling, there is just something about good tea that makes the world a little brighter.
Tea in the Abbey? Yes please.
Next, we happily discovered an unexpected bit of awesome that again wasn’t in any tour book. Across the street from the Abbey and Big Ben is another church that lends its big space out as an event venue as well. Methodist Central Hall. Volunteers give out free tours where we meet the lovely Sabrina who was my soul sister because she wore gloves and didn’t touch the elevator buttons with her fingers. She hates germs too! I digress Methodist Central Hall was once an aquarium that somehow became the churches building but let me tell you what we saw: the minutes from the very first meeting of the United Nations because that’s where it happened, the statue of homeless Jesus where the current Pope visited, the room where Ghandi, Martin Luther King, the Dalai Lama, and Billy Graham spoke, another statue of John Wesley dedicated by the Queen, and the huge pipe organ where Andrew Lloyd Webber’s was the director of music.
And if all that weren’t yet enough to make you want to take this free tour, Sabrina then took us to the balcony with an incredible view of Westminster and Big Ben. We happily left a donation for the free tour because it was a real gem.
Next was a little tour of the parliament building and home for a rest because the best was yet to come.
The whole entire point of this trip was because my awesome daughter got online in January 2017 when tickets to the London production of Hamilton went on sale. I think I casually said ” sure, you get tickets and we’ll go”. And she did! We got to see Hamilton. I knew it would be good, but it was AMAZING! Almost three hours long and it was perfectly written, choreographed, and executed. So good, there are no words.
I can’t even tell you what was best about today. The unexpected delight of the Methodist Center and it’s unique story, the intersection of the some total of English politics and faith at Westminster Abbey, or Hamilton.
Thankful for a great day and great company. Truly a day for the books.