Friday, June 28, 2013

england: day 1

ahhh, england. i was a little shutter happy. in the end, after i deleted the duplicate and bad photos, i had 1,098 photos. really. i am NOT going to post all 1,098 photos. ridiculous. 

day 1 found us walking from our hostel in kensington to westminster abbey. (we didn't realize how far it was.) our hostel was in the baden powell house. my traveling companions consisted of one eagle scout and one advisor in the young men's program, and neither one knew who lord baden powell was. point, ashlee. (for the record, lord baden powell is the founder of the boy scout program. there's a song. if you have a scout, or you are a scout, you should know this.)

our walk took us past kensington park, hyde park, several monument/statutes, the wellington arch, the australian war memorial, green park, st. james park . . . you get it. it's all very compact and exciting. my little camera got a work out.

wellington arch

as we were walking around the arch, some sort of procession came through.

australian war memorial. the entire thing is covered in names of people who died. 

st. james park

there's this one corner of the lake in st. james park that gives you this fantastic photo op. it's not a castle in the background, or anything, just gorgeous london buildings. craig spotted this view. i walked right past. i'm so glad he stopped me! i was hoping to find it.
our walk took us right past buckingham palace, which i had planned for us to visit, but apparently it's only open, like, two months of the year. not quite sure how i missed that in my planning . . . 

anglophiles brace yourselves.

because as we were absentmindedly strolling past buckingham palace, this happened.

the queen!
yup. that's right. QUEEN ELIZABETH II!! WE SAW HER! can you believe it?! the travel gods were surely smiling on me that day.

after that we made our way to westminster abbey. 

they don't allow photography inside westminster abbey (why? rude  . . .) but it was amazing. i paid my respects to william wilberforce and basked in the stony reverence of it all. 

just next to westminster abbey is big ben and the parliament buildings. 

i kept an eye out for peter pan. he didn't show up.

next we headed over to the churchill war rooms, which were the underground headquarters used by churchill and the war cabinet during WWII. in addition to the war rooms, they've created an exhibit dedicated to just winston churchill.

this was really cool. you would touch a section, and it would open up to reveal sub-sections, and you could read all kinds of information about what was going on during the war. plus, they had extra animations happening, like planes flying overhead, or bombs dropping, or blackouts and candles, things that represented different experiences during the war. it took me a few minutes to put the two together. 

a cartoon of hitler that was drawn on the wall in the cabinet rooms. on his butt. with puncture marks all around him . . . 

after the war rooms we headed back to home base, ready for some sleep.


Natalie said...

hurrah -- at long last, the ashlee england posts!!

so glad you set those boys straight and taught them things on your trip. shocking they didn't know. they should hang their heads in shame -- just kidding boys. it was, i'm sure this education was one point of many on your trip. isn't it great to be smart? :D

that view in the park is stunning!

GOD SAVE THE QUEEN!!! i saw her back in 2000 so i know of they awesome swelling in our anglophile hearts when we actually see her with our eye balls. she looks great -- you must have been on the front row on on-lookers!

i know -- not being able to take photos in westminster was KILLING me. all hail william wilberforce -- what a man!

when i went last year, the girls sent the boys over to the war rooms as i'd already been in my past -- they have clearly updated the exhibits since i went -- that interactive timeline is groovy!

can't wait for more!