Saturday, July 20, 2013


Next to George Washington, I would say that the historical figure that most intrigues my mother is Elizabeth I. It was therefore paramount that we journey to Westminster Abbey on Friday so that we could visit the structure where Glorianna has rested for the past 410 years. The Gothic style architecture of the Abbey is incredible, and it is certainly well worth the admission to tour. I would not recommend going on a Friday in mid-July, however.
We had been years ago and went in April, which was advantageous as it wasn't overwhelmingly crowded to the point you couldn't see anything or really enjoy the visit. We fought our way through though, and then shot threatening glares at anyone who hoped to force us to move along before we'd spent enough time paying homage to the The Virgin Queen. It's difficult to convey sense of the history inside Westmister Abbey (even when plagued by unruly masses of tourists), as worship began on this site in the middle of the tenth century, and this is where the coronation has taken place for every monarch since 1066!!! The coronation chair is also resides here, where every crowned monarch has sat since 1308.

We walked around the heart of the city a bit after our Abbey experience, had some lunch, and made our way past some of London's most iconic landmarks en route to Trafalgar Square. While we had established our own must-see/do list before this trip, my mother purchased a throw pillow at John Lewis on Wednesday evening that had different attractions and tourist activities of London embroidered on it, and this then became a guide of what we needed to accomplish. Amidst the predictable depictions of the double decker bus, Big Ben, Royal Albert Hall, and shopping on Bond Street, the bottom left corner instructed that we must feed the pigeons at Trafalgar Square. Naturally this meant we were obligated to purchase a 39 pence ciabatta roll at a corner store and head out to find some feathered friends. We scattered crumbles of the bread (nailing at least 2 unsuspecting individuals enjoying the benches) and soon had a nice kit of pigeons assembled.

                      Apparently, this is not encouraged behavior however, and some sort of security officer wandered over to shoo our new pigeon pals. We managed to distribute every crumb of bread before he scattered our flock, but really, what a buzzkill. Look, dude: this pillow told us to. So, there.
This guy needs to find something more productive to do.

We'd completed our missions to visit the queen and feed the birds, but as antique fanatics, Saturday morning could only have been spent one way: a trip to Portobello Road. I have to admit, I think it's gotten a little less antique-y and a little more tourist market-y on the street since the last time we went, but we diligently scavenged the stalls in search of treasures nonetheless. I was taken with a few books that would have significantly impacted my bank account, but in the end we left without needing to consult a financial planner. A detour to the Notting Hill Book Shop down a side street was a fun stop (yes, this is the store that inspired the Hugh Grant movie when it was formerly The Travel Bookshop).

We spent our evening in the upscale district of Knightsbridge wandering around the world's most famous luxury department store: Harrods. I did not realize that they sold live animals at Pet Kingdom inside Harrods, and I would reallllly like to have a Russian hamster with the prestige of hailing from such posh beginnings (if I could figure out how to transport one home I totally would). They had puppies as well, but come on Harrods, You can charge £2400 for a cockerpoo, but that doesn't make it a purebred...
We purchased some souvenirs (not any lives ones) and returned to Parsons Green to our oven room. My weasel appears undisturbed in his black plastic cloak perched on the arm chair he's been occupying, so I don't believe the nosy proprietress has identified him despite her daily jaunts into our room to open the shades. With her fussy tendencies, I feel that if she discovered his identity she wouldn't allow him in her home.

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