Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Magic Bus!

As I said before, I doubt I'll be able to post every day, but I want to provide updates as I can. We arrived in the UK early this morning (still the middle of the night back home) after a bumpy flight and little sleep. No one really cared all that much - we were here! In England! Yay!

The highlights of today included taking the "Big Red Bus" tour - very touristy, but also a pretty darned good way to get a feel for the city and figure out what's where and how to get there. I think I got a few good photos from the trip - we braved the wind and sat in the open top level (where I got smacked in the head by a low-hanging branch. Not hard, but my dignity was bruised) - and I'll hopefully have a chance to sort through the photos and post soon.

We took an audio tour of Westminster Abbey and saw more history than you could shake a stick at, including (but not limited to), the tombs of Elizabeth I, her half-sister Mary (note the Scottish thistles ornamenting the roof of her tomb), the shrine of Edward the Confessor, and Poet's Corner, which includes tablets to writers and artists ranging from Noel Coward to Handel to Olivier to Kipling. Statesmen such as Disraeli and Churchill, scientists such as Newton and Darwin, and the touchingly somber monument to the Unknown Warrior are all here.

Thanks to the efforts of WoolfWoman, we also had tickets to a special event. Although it has taken place every night for more than 700 years (including the time of the Great Fire and the Blitz), not many people know about the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London. Let me just say that it's full of what the English do well - pomp and circumstance - as the Tower is put to bed for the night.

Speaking of which, I should do the same. I'm not really adjusted to the time difference yet and tomorrow's a big sightseeing day and no matter how many cups of (milky) tea I have, I just can't go without sleep.


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