After day one of my fantasy Harry Potter trip, I had some more sites to check off my London List.
First stop: Tour of Westminister Abbey. Sorry, no photos allowed and I even tried, but it was a little more difficult to play the “ignorant, confused tourist” because they are able to yell at me in my native language. This is where Kate Middleton became a princess and married Will. Also and maybe more notably, this is where Elizabeth I, Henry VII, and Mary, Queen of Scots, are buried. Now at this point in my European adventure, I think I’ve seen over a dozen cathedrals and churches but I still am amazed at each one. It’s not just ABC (Another Boring Church) but a real work of art and an incredible representation of a country’s religion and faith.
My sister had a preplanned tour of the Houses of Parliament and since I barely understand politics in the US, I wasn’t even going to try and understand another country’s political structure. So I got back on the underground, “minded the gap” (bad London underground joke) and headed towards the Tower of London and the London Bridge. Spoiler Alert: contrary to popular belief, the London Bridge is not falling down.
After a classic lunch of fish and chips, I started walking to St. Paul’s Cathedral. I think this Cathedral was one of the most impressive I have seen, but not quite as impressive as St. Peter’s in the Vatican. I spent some time looking at all the chapels but I spent most of my time climbing up the 528 stairs to the top of the dome. There are three different levels of the dome you can visit. The first is to the top of inside of the dome. Here you are still inside the dome and look down into the main altar. The second level, you are outside and look out upon London. The third level is the highest point of the dome. Here it’s a little tight as there isn’t a lot of room to move around the balcony. The sights are incredible and the fear of heights is even greater. I’m not one to usually be afraid of heights, but after about 5 minutes, I was ready to be back on firm ground. Going down 528 winding stairs could make anyone dizzy and nauseous, and my cure was an ice cream cone at the shop across the cathedral.
I headed back to meet my sister and her friend at Westminster Abbey for afternoon mass. However, since I wasn’t able to meet up with her before, I just assumed she and her friend were sitting somewhere else in the church. Maybe it was the lack of my Spanish siesta, a filling lunch, or fatigue from climbing 528 stairs but that service, I experienced a major fight with gravity and my eyelids, to the point where I jumped a bit when the bells rang to conclude the service. As I was searching for my sister, I realized she was already at our established meeting point and she reminded me that I was late. But I quickly responded that we both should be late because we both just got out of mass. She laughed and said she didn’t go. UGH Classic sister mixup
We went out to dinner, headed back to the hotel, and started getting ready for a night out at Picadilly Circus. We went out with her whole study abroad group, and I have never felt more like a mom. Back to the glory days I guess, but I blamed the long day and 10 miles registered on my fitbit as a reason to head back to the hotel at midnight.
We had planned to visit Buckingham Palace early Sunday morning before my afternoon flight out but after hitting the snooze button three times, I decided I would just look at the pictures my sister took. Because little did I know, I would have a long journey ahead of me back to the airport. To be continued…