Monday, March 14, 2011

Another Weekend in London

We were in London, England from March 3 - 7th. This was our third short London trip and since we were both rather sick and didn't feel like doing very much, I'm glad it wasn't our first time there. We had a goal of seeing three things we hadn't seen before, Westminster Abbey, Churchill War Rooms, and the Tate Museum of Modern Art.

Westminster Abbey is something Lori had wanted to go to on earlier trips but I shunned it thinking it was boring. I'm glad to be wrong about that because the Abbey is very cool. We did the 90 minute guided tour which I highly recommend. I had no idea how much of English history the Abbey covers, and the guided tour lets you go places you aren't allowed to enter on your own. We walked over the graves of Newton, Darwin, Dickens, Faraday (LOST shoutout!) and thousands more. We also stood just feet from where Kings are coronated and where the Royal Wedding will happen next month. Now I'm actually interested in watching it. I never would have expected that! The first cabbie we had said "The only thing this country is still good at is putting on weddings and funerals." They all go down at the Abbey. On a prior trip we did a tour of the Tower of London which was far more interesting than I expected, too. Those are the two tours I recommend for London the most.
Plush Larry in London

The Churchill War Rooms were neat but a bit disappointing compared to my imagination. This is where WWII was run from and I expected it to be some deep bunker, but it was only a normal basement 10 feet below street level. It was mainly keeping the location such a secret that kept it from ever being bombed. Over time they reinforced it with steel and concrete, but I'm still amazed all the people that worked and lived there were so safe just 10 feet below the ground. The little details and first hand stories from the clerks and typists were fascinating.
Hanging at the palace gates

We left a Plush Larry the Lizard at the Buckingham Palace gates and watched from afar to see who had the nerve to take him home. Later we gave one to a little girl in a restaurant and she was ecstatic. Plush Larry is a big hit!

Our last full day we explored the Tate Museum of Modern Art. I thought I was pretty open minded, but lots of stuff here just made us laugh and shake our heads. Gabriel Orozco had some interesting stuff that was right up my alley, like painted skulls, and chopped up cars, but there was actually a display of dryer lint, and an empty shoe box. I'm not making this up. Check it out. Guards have to watch over the shoe box so nobody moves it or throws it away thinking it is a... shoe box. We finally gave up and left after gazing at a million fake sunflower seeds. Despite not "getting it" we both enjoyed the museum. Then before we realized it we were back home.

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