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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Europe Day 6, London: And the Tea Will Set Me Free

We woke up early this morning for our walking tour of the city of London. Kindly Ms. Dancer’s mother in-law had decided to come with us and in essence be a tour guide. Since she has been a Londoner all her life and was as kind as can be this ended up being a VERY GOOD PERK.

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MS. DANCER AND HER MOTHER-IN-LAW (AKA OUR FABULOUS TOUR GUIDE)

First we went to Buckingham Palace, principle residence of England’s royal family, where we were just in time to attempt to see the changing of the guard. I say attempt because there were about a kazillion people swarming everywhere attempting to see the exact same thing.

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BUCKINGHAM PALACE

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MS. POOL SHARK, MS. DANCER AND I; THE VICTORIA MEMORIAL IN FRONT OF BUCKINGHAM PALACE

Since we did not get a great look, or even close to seeing the changing of the guard in front of Buckingham palace our guide took us to a lesser known changing of the horse guard. There were only a handful of people to watch the guards swap and I was even able to get close enough to one of the stone faced guards to snap a photo!

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HE DIDN’T MOVE A SINGLE MUSCLE

Our next visit was to the Westminster Abby, a large gothic church which is the traditional site for coronations, marriages and burials of the royal family. Being in Europe is like being on another planet, everything is SO OLD. These buildings literally are so detailed and stunning, they breathe with life. You can see the years, decades, lifetimes of effort one building takes to create. My mother and I were talking about what a dying breed of art building is these days, now they just slap some wood and plaster together and call it a building, it is nothing like these.

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WESTMINSTER ABBY THE GREAT WEST DOOR AND TOWERS

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WESTMINSTER ABBY THE NORTH ENTRANCE

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WESTMINSTER ABBY TOWER IN SUNLIGHT

The exterior was so beautiful I thought it couldn’t get better but then we went inside and my jaw dropped; the interior was even better.

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Once we got through the interior which took a few hours we stopped for a spot of tea (as Ms. Dancers Mother-in-law says) in the cloister. Starbucks UMMMM just what I need a little Chi Tea Latte caffeine kick to get me through the rest of our very long and busy day.

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LOOK AT THOSE TIRED EYES; I NEED A LITTLE CAFFEINE KICK

The cloister was a really pretty small courtyard green with wide open arches surrounding it where people could sit and enjoy the quiet. I think I want a cloister in my next house!

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WESTMINSTER ABBY THE CLOISTER GREEN

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WESTMINSTER ABBY CLOISTER VIEW UP

Leaving Westminster Abby we passed Big Ben. The clouds were swirling and the light was catching the gold on the tower so beautifully. This dark and moody close-up makes me smile.

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BIG BEN CLOCK TOWER

We then headed over to Trafalgar Square one of the most famous squares in the world located in the heart of London.

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TRAFALGAR SQUARE WITH ITS CENTER MONUMENT NELSON’S COLUMN FROM THE STEPS OF THE NATIONAL MUSEUM

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A DETAIL OF THE FOUNTAIN IN TRAFALGAR SQUARE

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NATIONAL MUSEUM

After visiting the museum we headed out to dinner at the Spaghetti warehouse. We bid our tour guide goodbye and headed to the Coliseum where we were going to see Carlos Acosta in a modern dance ballet.

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THE COLISEUM

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EVEN THE INTERIOR OF THE SHOW WAS AMAZING, JUST LOOK AT THE MOSAIC ARTWORK ON THE CEILING

Carlos is one of the biggest names in ballet, and I adore ballet. Side note: I took ballet as a child; I thought it was beautiful and really wanted to try. Unfortunately for me I sucked, not kind of sucked but REALLY sucked. I was too tall, to gangly, and so not coordinated to ever be any good. It was a sad moment when I quit a year later, at least I tried, it didn’t kill my love for ballet just because I couldn’t do it and at least I can watch the masters perform still.

This was the first modern ballet performance I had ever been to so I was expecting something different… it was interesting, the music was digitized and electronic, the movement was unique, but the choreography felt odd and strange without the beautiful lines I see in ballet. In the end I don’t know if modern ballet is for me. I much prefer the ballet that I love with gorgeous costumes and lilting symphony music with clean fluid movement that speaks to my soul and moves me. This ballet unfortunately for me was just ok. Don’t get me wrong I get that it was supposed to be something different; but if I am honest this modern ballet left me awed at their strength and ability to do the moves but emotionally it didn’t touch me at all.

At the end a crowd that had been standing at the back of the stage moved forward slowly into the light, there is no dancing, instead it is a choir that sings “O Magnum Mysterium”, the singing was incredible, too bad for me the dancing hadn’t been as good.

2 comments:

paul peggy zeus said...

I'm sure Buckingham Palace is more ornate on the inside, but I'm not impressed with how drab it looks outside. LOVE the Wesminister Abbey! I would move there if I were the Royal Family. I was able to see the changing of the guards too - awesome how precise they are!! Big Ben clock tower is beautiful. I remember taking you and Gramma Dottie to the Nutcracker Sweet - you were in awe of the dancers even then and I think you were only about 8 yrs old. I've read about all these places and it's nice to finally see them through your camera's eye. Thanks!!!

lilmansworld said...

I think the stone faced guard looks like the actor Giovanni Ribissi. THe colors are so excuisite and I see what you mean when you say all the buildings are old. It truly brings so much depth and character and LIFE to an ancient beaute

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