We took the walking tour of the Reading city center that afternoon and had dinner at the local Irish pub, O’Neil’s. Saturday morning we took the train into London and the girls got a close-up look at drunken soccer fans. All of the trains were jammed with fans from Bristol going to a big match in at the stadium in Wimbledon. We encountered these young men at 10:30 am and they’d already been drinking for several hours, and continued to do so on the train (which is legal here). Lindsay and Sarah wound yp sitting right amongst them while I stood in the aisle. I had to quietly put up with these louts oogling the girls and making a few sotto voce comments but, in the end, the boys behaved themselves. I dare say they probably would have been very surprised had they gotten frisky with their hands; Lindsay would have put them in their places in a flash. Mostly, the fans were just noisy and in the way.
I picked up my daughters, Lindsay and Sarah, at Heathrow airport last Friday and they were none the worse for the flight from Dulles (even if it was a few hours late departing). It was wonderful to see them and they are beautiful, poised, smart young women, and a tribute to their mom.
We arrived at Paddington Station in London to transfer to the tube and there were hordes of additional soccer fans (and police keeping an eye on them) also getting on the tube and, sadly, going our way. With the added chaos of a shut down of one tube line for maintenance, the crush of soccer fans, tourists and natives made for another set of jammed train rides. It took us two hours to get from Reading to Westminster Abbey, about twice as long as usual.
We waited for about half an hour in line to get into Westminster Abbey. The girls, left, used the time to take many photos and pose for a few, too.
We spent an hour touring inside, and what an amazing architectural achievement a cathedral is. It’s also amazing that it survived the World War II bombings of London. The girls were fascinated – it’s so nice to have adult children who actually enjoy seeing things related to history! A lot of kings, queens, and knights are buried beneath the abbey’s floor and you walk right over their "horizontal headstones". The altars, side crypts, ceilings, and ornaments are really fascinating.
In one section, "Poet’s Corner", it was very cool to see the graves of Alfred Tennyson, Lord Byron, Dylan Thomas, Robert Browning, Chaucer, Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, and others. And, of course, there was Issac Newton’s grave, which figured heavily in The Da Vinci Code. If you ever get to London, we recommend you see Westminster Abbey! Our next stop, discussed in my next post, was Churchill’s War Rooms.