Westminster and the Eye (London day 7)

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Today we had another class period where we worked on blog postings about a person of our individual chosing who’s tied to the Tower of London. You can read the post I wrote here.

We then took off as a class to Westminster Abbey. This is one of my favorite places here in London. Though a bit busier than the first time I went, it was still peaceful and awe-inspiring. Everything from the ceiling to the walls to the floors is decorated so ornately. There are recent marble carvings and ancient wooden caskets. It’s a beautifully fascinating place where royalty and religion intersect. So much of England’s history involves both.

No pictures allowed inside, so here's one of the outside.

No pictures allowed inside, so here’s one of the outside.

We’d had lunch right before we went inside. I bring this up just because it serves as a lesson in paying attention and remembering things when you go shopping. We bought sandwich supplies the day before, but forgot things like mayonnaise and sandwich bags. We used salad dressing to keep the sandwich from being too dry, and used the plastic store bags to wrap them it. Pretty ghetto. Anyway, I now have up a food gallery of the pictures I’ve remembered to take of my food, so you can check that out here.

A brief pause to bring up something frustrating: construction. I’d thought Germany was bad 3 years ago, but holy cow is there some serious construction work going on in London right now! Random buildings and streets, yes, but pretty much every major landmark is being worked on as well. I guess as soon as the Olympics were over they brought out their scaffolding and got back to work.

Another picture ruined.

Another picture ruined.

Faith and I had gotten tickets to ride the London Eye, but we wanted to go at sunset so we went back to the flat to wait first. Nothing exciting happened there, honestly. I think we’ve finally used up our adrenaline rush from excitement and are now settling into things. We aren’t trying to cram things in and spend all of our time out and about. We’re pacing ourselves. Giving our bodies rest so we can actually enjoy walks through museums and abbeys. We’re taking care of adult things like laundry and meal planning. This is the evolution of a three week trip, guys.

(Speaking of evolution, did you know that Charles Darwin is buried in Westminter Abbey? Weird, huh?)

So we did eventually make it back over to the London Eye. We went at the perfect time. The sun was just setting, so we got to see the City in both the light and the dark. Hardly any people were getting on, so it wasn’t crowded in the capsule. It was a great time, full of great photo opportunities that didn’t quite come out because phone cameras suck, but whatever.

Yeah, whatever.

Yeah, whatever.

The weather was really nice, so wandered around the area afterward and stumbled onto this little carnival that had fun food stalls and a carousel.

And pretty paper lanterns.

And pretty paper lanterns.

On the tube ride back, it dawned on me that I’d wasted my time trying to come up with a “plan” for this trip. Pro Travel Tip #7: The best moments are the spontaneous ones. In a city like London, you never know what you’re going to find. And in a group of people like this, you never know what other people are going to want to do. I’d told myself that I was going to certain places on certain days whether anyone else wanted to tag along or not. I’d created a list, whittled down to what I thought was manageable, of this things I absolutely HAD to see to be satisfied with this trip.

But since I’ve actually been here, things have changed. I’ve had to let go of a few things due to money I realized I didn’t want to spend. I’ve done a few extra things because the other people I’m with have ideas and interests, too. I’ve moved things around because I didn’t realize I’d be tired at certain times a month ago. And the best part, I’ve stumbled across several unexpected places that I just couldn’t forsee but ended up being really cool.

Not to say plans and lists are useless; I did go on the Harry Potter tour I planned for in advance (and you have to plan ahead for it because it gets booked really fast). But in the end, you shouldn’t waste time trying to plan every second of your trip, and you can’t get upset when the plans you do make don’t pan out. You’re out in the world, away from your comfort zone … Anything can happen, and that’s so exciting!

PS: Look what I finally spottted! London Cat Counter: 1.

PS: Look what I finally spottted! London Cat Counter: 1.

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