Like our former visit to London, we were there again in April. I like London in April, when there are still more tulips than tourists. Our day there began with a bus ride from Oxford, which thrilled none but the girls.
We emerged at Victoria and walked to Buckingham Palace for The Changing of the Guard. (Also known as The Heads of Other Tourists). We had planned a sort of classic London day, so this was the only way to kick it off.
We then walked under the chestnut trees skirting beautiful St. James’ Park towards the Thames. The tulips were blooming, the birds were singing, the cameras were clicking. It was lovely.
As we approached Westminster Abbey and Big Ben, I saw someone I knew. He was sitting on the plinth of a statue, absorbed in the colors of the Parliamentary buildings.
“I saw him last year,” I said. “He was painting Buckingham Palace.”
“Sure it was him?”
Are you kidding? I’ll never forget him. He even posed for me.
We spent a lot of time in Westminster Abbey. We saw where Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots and George F. Handel were buried, and just about everyone else (except Jane Austen, who has only a small plaque in her honor). Norah was intrigued and even Harriet did very well, considering she hadn’t yet discovered the joy of audio guides.
After Westminster, we walked the edge of the Thames. The huge ferris wheel is called the London Eye, and someday Alex and I will return to ride on it and see London from its height. I think a Thames River cruise might also be in order.
Then we finally arrived at Trafalgar Square. This was sort of a family pilgrimage. Lord Nelson towered above us, possibly (but almost definitely not) his descendants. Still, it is legend, and we honored it as legend. I wish Grandad (who, I suspect, was the originator of the legend) could have been there.
There’s the highlights. We made a few more stops before getting down to the most important business of the day (according to Norah): chasing the pigeons in St. James’ Park.