On our recent trip abroad, we flew into Heathrow and were faced with an 8 hour layover. Part of that was taken with Immigration, only a small part though. There is an express train from the airport to Paddington Station that only takes 15 minutes leaving us 5 hours to see some of the sights.
We arrived at Heathrow a little after 6:00 am so our first order of business was caffeine and a little more breakfast. We passed a Starbucks…broke my first rule of foreign travel right off the bat – no American food! Hot chocolate to go was a nice treat.
One of the first things that caught my eye were all the signs warning pedestrians that cars come from the wrong direction, they are very creative.
Hyde Park is only a few blocks from Paddinton Station; it is very much like NYC’s Central Park with a real Palace. I had hoped to walk by Kennsington Palace but the guys were in a hurry to get to Buckingham Palace so I contented myself with photographing the trees and the early morning dog walkers. The trees remind me of Hogwarts, the shapes are very witchy. It is not raining this morning but the grass is very wet and squishy and the dogs are getting pretty muddy.
Buckingham Palace is pretty boring. The Changing of the Guards only takes place every other day in the off season, the rest of the time, the guards just walk back and forth. The precision is unbelievable. I would get so bored that I’m sure I’d mess up regularly. They are very stoic, they march out from their guard booth, turn at precisely the same time and march back to the guard booths, over and over and over…
We decided that we would only go into one place since time was limited; we chose Westminster Abbey. I have fond memories of visiting here more than 40 years ago. There are so many famous people buried here and they are somewhat grouped by profession; I love reading all the inscriptions, especially in the poets corner ( which contains writers and musicians too). This inscription is on the facade, a very different approach to the Christian Doctrine that I’ve been exposed to!
Whenever I go to cathedrals I am always amused by the gargoyles. They seem so mischievous and not very church like! Unfortunately they are very hard to photograph since they are usually so high; this little guy was at just the right level.
Of course, in London, it is always nice to see some iconic pieces. You would thing that phone boxes would be obsolete with cell phones in every hand; we passed only one! Every child has heard of Big Ben and what about London’s double-decker buses?