Saturday, January 26, 2013

Westminster Abbey and Perhaps a Career Change

I'm sure you've seen the exterior of Westminster Abbey on television. Princess Diana's funeral was held  there in 1997. In 2011, Prince William and Catherine Middleton wed there, having chosen the site as an homage to Princes Diana. Here's the scoop on Westminster Abbey in a nutshell: 
"Westminster Abbey is steeped in more than a thousand years of history. Benedictine monks first came to this site in the middle of the tenth century, establishing a tradition of daily worship which continues to this day. The Abbey has been the coronation church since 1066 and is the final resting place of seventeen monarchs. The present church, begun by Henry III in 1245, is one of the most important Gothic buildings in the country, with the medieval shrine of an Anglo-Saxon saint still at its heart.

A treasure house of paintings, stained glass, pavements, textiles and other artefacts, Westminster Abbey is also the place where some of the most significant people in the nation's history are buried or commemorated. Taken as a whole the tombs and memorials comprise the most significant single collection of monumental sculpture anywhere in the United Kingdom." (http://www.westminster-abbey.org)

If you want to read more details about Westminster Abbey, click here

When I think "abbey," I think of Nonnberg Abbey in Salzburg. Remember it? It appeared several times in The Sound of Music. Even though I was in London and not in Salzburg, I could still hear nuns singing "Oh, how do you solve a problem Like Maria? How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?"

Photos were prohibited inside the abbey, so I had to be content with my exterior photos and a book. 
My favorite part of Westminster Abbey was a small section known as Poet's Corner, a home for monuments honoring British writers. The writer in me was giddy. Sounds creepy, I know~why be giddy about dead people? Somehow seeing the names of William Shakespeare and Jane Austen made me long for a quiet corner, a cuppa (British speak for a cup of tea), and a pile of good books authored by some of Britain's finest writers. These are but a few of the writers commemorated with either a plaque or a monument:

William Blake (Romantic poet)
Anne Bronte (The Tenant of Wildfell Hall)  
Charlotte Bronte (Jane Eyre)
Emily Bronte (Wuthering Heights)
Elizabeth Barrett Browning (poet)
Lord Byron (Romantic poet)
Lewis Carroll (Alice in WonderlandThrough the Looking Glass)
T.S. Eliot (The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, The Waste Land)
Sit Walter Scott (Ivanhoe)
Percy Bysshe Shelley (Romantic poet)
William Wordsworth (Romantic poet)

These are a few writers buried at Westminster Abbey:

Geoffrey Chaucer (The Canterbury Tales)
Charles Dickens (Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol)
Rudyard Kipling (The Jungle Book)
Lord Alfred Tennyson (poet)

Did you recognize any names? Or are you completely bored out of your mind? Ha ha! I  guess you now realize what a complete nerd I am. I wish I could have taken photos of Poet's Corner, or at the very least been permitted to make pencil and paper rubbings of some names. I'm not sure what I would have done with those, but I would have loved making them. Okay, I'll go back to pretending that I'm not a nerd.

I was able to take a few photos in the museum. It dates back to 1065 and is one of the oldest features of Westminster Abbey. It was originally used as a storage room, but has served as a museum for over 100 years.
With the exception of Poet's Corner, this was the coolest thing I saw at the abbey.
If I return to London, I'll definitely revisit Westminster Abbey. There was so much to take in and I don't think I've had my fill. Maybe I'll smuggle in a pencil and piece of paper. I wonder if they'll let me blog from my prison cell...

Westminster Abbey is literally across a small street from Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster. On the opposite side of the River Thames sits the famous London Eye. 
The London Eye boasts the title of the largest ferris wheel in Europe (it was the largest ferris wheel in the world until the Singapore Flyer was completed in 2008). It stands 443 tall and spans 394 feet across. Called the London Eye because of the incredible views of the city it offers, it is one of London's busiest attractions. We were totally game for riding it had the weather been better. We decided that the line was way too long and the tickets were way too pricey only to get to the top and not have a good view due to the rain. See?
Emma was really bummed because she loves ferris wheels. Then we spied a carousel and all was fine.
Recognize this? 
It's the MI-6 building. Think of the MI-6 as Great Britain's CIA. This should look familiar to you if you're a James Bond fan. Rick and I recently had a James Bond marathon and watched all of the movies. I think there are 23. Yes, I know~in most of them the women are ditzy, have menial jobs, and are portrayed as being nothing more than love interests for the womanizer known as Bond, James Bond. I really don't like that part at all. But I simply cannot help myself. Bond has the coolest cars EVER. Can you imagine driving an Aston Martin? Suh-weet!!!!!!! And Q makes the coolest gadgets EVER. I certainly don't have what it takes to be a Bond girl (I have a brain, I don't have the body, and I want my one-woman man). But I would love, love, love to test drive Bond's cars and Q's inventions. Yes, I do believe I could be a great asset to MI-6. Just sayin'. I'll let you know when they call.

I really wanted to go into this restaurant but it wasn't open when we walked past it. I was dying to see the inside and read the menu! 
If MI-6 doesn't want me, perhaps I could carry on Sir Conan Doyle's works about Sherlock Holmes. If I were to become a British citizen, maybe my name would end up in Poet's Corner. :)

Guess I'd better stick with my day job.

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