For now, Laura and I have ducked into a little coffee shop in Soho,
just north of Piccadilly Circus (and at rush hour on Friday afternoon, its just
that, a CIRCUS), for two Mocha pick-me-ups. A shot of caffeine should serve us well - for
weve had quite the day. Since well be hopping the rail to meet another new
friend in Bath early afternoon on Saturday, our stay in London has been short one.
We, of course, wanted to make the most of our day and a half here, so
weve blitzed through on a whirlwind tour of the city. We begin our day at probably
the most famous of Londons Underground hubs, that of Paddington Station. We walk
from the station to what has to be one of the absolutely categorical tourist attractions
in all of England, that of the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace.
this pomp and circumstance, we retreat to the natural beauty of St. James Park. We
share the green of the park, and the blue of the lake, with all forms of wildlife
including squirrels, pigeons, ducks, black swans, and a host of other species of birds.
the corner and down the way, we check visits to Big Ben, the House of Parliament, and
Westminster Abbey from our list of London sights. Its only early afternoon and
were already well on our way getting most of the must sees of this
historic (and hectic) city under our belt.
next pause in the madness is to stop and playfully try to divert the attention of the
mounted Queens Lifeguard. No luck. It is obvious that these soldiers (and their
horses) have plenty of training and practice in exercising the utmost of patience in
dealing with pesky and distracting tourists. Yes, at least for today, I include myself in
After lunch, we head to Trafalgar Square to climb
all over the huge brass lions and play with the thousands of pigeons that eagerly greet
anyone who steps foot into their territory. The sun begins to set, so we race,
as fast as we can, to grab a few shots of the Tower Bridge before darkness sets in.
We hop on one of Londons famous bright red
double-decker buses (and yes, we climb straight to the top deck) on its way to St.
Pauls Cathedral. As luck would have it, we arrive just in time for the evensong
service. We quietly take our seats in the pews to hear the red and white robed
churchs choir sing praises to the Lord on high. Their full, ringing voices fill
every square inch of the voluminous (and very acoustical) chapel.
Their rejoicing prompts me to slow down, take a
deep breath, and reflect to give thanks of my own. To give thanks in my fortune of simply
being here, able to travel thousands of miles from home, to be just barely into a full
year adventure. Above all, being able experience all of this magnificence first