Day 21 - Wednesday, 28
If we previously thought there was not enough time to take it all
in, it became doubly true here. London offers something for everyone. We didn't
even try to see any of the theater plays that many people think are an absolute
must, and we didn't go to the museums or art palaces, or shopping. We did the
kind of things that Jim and Geri think are the most interesting. We saw the
Marble Arch, Green Park, the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace,
Westminster Abbey, the White Tower, the Tower Bridge, Big Ben, the river Thames
The Marble Arch, a gift to the royalty of England, was meant to be
a gate to the palace, but it turned out to be too narrow for the royal coach to
pass through, so it stands as a decorative monument outside of Hyde Park near
Speakers Corner. We got off the bus here. Jim was videoing some park pigeons so
I walked up to them, hoping to stir them into flight for the camera. The bold
little creatures just casually strolled out of my way, and I never did get them
to take flight. You will be able to see for yourself when the video of our trip
We walked through Green Park, so named because it has no flowers.
The story is that a gallant young man picked a flower and gave it to one of the
ladies-in-waiting. The queen was so miffed that she commanded all flowers to be
removed from the park forever.
There is an enormous gate leading from Green Park to Buckingham
Palace made of iron, and highly decorated with gold. (See yesterday's page for a picture.) We hung around in front
of the palace for about two hours trying to see the changing of the guard.
There were too many people, the activity came in spurts, and we were not in
quite the best place to get a view of what was happening inside. But we did get
some charming video of a band, and some soldiers on horseback. Jim says they
look like the KKK, because they are wearing peaked white hats. Interestingly,
they are being led by a black soldier riding a white horse, and a white soldier
riding a brown horse! All the other horses are black. Our guidebook did say the
changing of the guard was over-rated. He was right.
In front of the palace is an incredible monument to Queen Victoria
with carved statues on all sides, lots of gold overlay here also. There's a
really nice statue of a woman nursing her baby with other children clustered
around her skirts.
In Picadilly Circus (just a traffic circle surrounded by
buildings) is the famous statue of Eros, the winged archer with his bow and
arrow. (Looks like Cupid.) One of the London newspapers has had the image on
the front of their paper for many years. Sometime recently it was discovered
that their drawing had him standing on the wrong foot. They quickly corrected
it, and now they want to copyright the use of the image.
The streets are virtually lined with statues and fountains too
numerous to mention. It seems that Great Britain has had lots of artists and
plenty of marble, and enough royalty to buy it all to show off.
Big Ben is on one end of the Houses of Parliament, and Victoria
Tower is on the other end. The River Thames runs behind it. Beyond Victoria
Tower (the largest and tallest square tower in the world) is a beautiful park.
In the midst of this park is a colorful monument to the people who fought to
Around the corner is Westminster Abbey. The Abbey is where
coronations take place, and have since at least 1066. We peeked inside, but
didn't take time to tour it. We did go far enough inside to see the tomb of the
Unknown Soldier. We never quite made it to Westminster Cathedral. Outside
Westminster Abbey is the following sign carved into the marble:
May God grant to the living - grace
to the departed -
to the church and the world - peace and concord
and to us sinners
- eternal life.