Friday, October 12, 2007

London Journey: Part Twelve

October 10, 2007: Westminster (again)

This weekend, Bobbi and I slept late, and so missed our chance to see the London Zoo. That’s okay. While I’ve been getting plenty of rest (thanks to the interminable slowness of British Telecom, I seem to be on permanent vacation) Bobbi has been working very hard. Not only has she been attending class, but last weekend, in order to attend a conference, she had to make the transatlantic crossing AGAIN (the second time in two weeks) with all its attendant jet-lag and exhaustion.

Therefore, we revised our plans and set out for the London Aquarium.

Alas, most of the other visitors seemed to have the same idea and so we changed plan again, stopped for the obligatory photographs of ourselves and the Houses of Parliament, and then proceeded on foot across Westminster Bridge. The idea was that we would take in a closer look at Westminster Palace, and then enter the Cathedral. Alas for us, it was Sunday, and the Cathedral, while open to worshipers, was closed to sightseers.

Still, there is a lot to see in the area, and we were not disappointed with simply walking the streets. Parliament Square is dominated by statues of great leaders of the English (and occasionally, the English Speaking) world.

Here are monuments to Peel, and Disraeli, as well as to Staunch British Ally, Jan Christian Smuts of South Africa, who promoted Apartheid, and Nelson Mandela, who ended it.

There is of course, a monument to Winston Churchill...

...and somewhat gratifying to an American far from home,
a statue of Abraham Lincoln, looking both dignified and simple amongst the splendid British Statesmen, remembered here for the Emancipation Proclamation, gazes gently across the square.

We walked up Parliament Street and then turned down King Charles Street, walking alongside the VERY IMPOSING Treasury Building until we got to the Clive Steps. Dominated by a statue of Clive, who secured Britain’s hold on India for over a century to come, these steps lead us to a charming view of Saint James park…Bobbi was quite captivated by the Pelicans who live there as well as the gardens and Duck Island….well, who wouldn’t be?

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