A Tale of Two Countries – Day 1

After years of daydreaming about it — not to mention enduring my husband’s countless business trips to Europe and elsewhere overseas without me — I finally crossed the pond and visited England and France a few weeks ago. An extra delight was that our daughters were able to join us for this very educational trip.

It was fascinating to visit palaces where kings and queens lived, to see ancient castles on distant hillsides, and to humbly enter majestic cathedrals where so many notable saints have worshiped — all the while pondering the centuries of history that each of these places called to mind.

On our first full day in London, we toured Buckingham Palace. It was quite a tour that included the State Rooms, the Throne Room, the Ballroom, the Drawing Rooms, and the Picture Gallery.

Getting to see Queen Elizabeth’s carriage as well as a very lovely tribute to HRH Diana, the former Princess of Wales, made up for the fact that the guards outside were not wearing red uniforms or bearskin hats. On special display were Princess Di’s desk, trunk, typewriter, pointe shoes and several other personal belongings chosen by her sons to honor her as England marks the 20th anniversary of her tragic death.

Another favorite part of the tour for me was seeing Queen Victoria’s piano as well as the painting The Royal Family in 1846, which is a family portrait of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their five oldest children created by Franz Xaver Winterhalter. It was huge!

As you may have guessed, pictures were only permitted on the exterior of the palace. This rule helps boost sales of the palace’s official souvenir guide. (Yes, I bought one.)

Not a long walk from Buckingham Palace is Westminster Abbey, where coronations take place, where kings and queens are married and buried, and where other notable Englishmen, such as Isaac Newton, are buried. We arrived just in time to attend a beautiful Evensong service, which featured a choir from Michigan.

The Parliament buildings and Big Ben are also quite near Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace. We didn’t visit those but I did have to take a picture and say, “Look, kids! Big Ben” as we walked back to the train station.

Up next is Kensington Palace, which I thought was actually a much better place to tour than Buckingham because the crowd was remarkably smaller. And as a bonus, Kensington allows pictures inside!






5 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Countries – Day 1

  1. Beautiful photos as always, I am truly impressed by the sweet closeness shared between your girls, obvious great parenting skills. Enjoy the rest of your summer, time continues to fly by and before we know it Thanksgiving will be here.

  2. My trip of a lifetime was twenty five-years ago for my 40th birthday when I traveled with several MHS teachers to England and Scotland for 14 days. Mrs.Turner and I cried in Trinity Chapel at the burial site of Shakespeare in Stratford upon Avon. We saw Taming of the Shrew performed by the Royal Shakespearean Theater in Stratford also. We stood where Saint Becket was slain in ancient Canterbury. We walked the streets of Oxford and C.S. Lewis.
    York Minister was my favorite cathedral. Windsor, Edinburgh, London, the White Cliffs of Dover, Sherwood Forest…so very much to savor and appreciate! I would love to return to see Wales, Cornwall, Stonehenge, the Cotswolds, and on and on!

    1. Wow! That sounds like quite a trip, too. I thought of you when we were at Shakespeare’s (new) Globe Theatre in London. In our homeschool this year we are studying Romeo and Juliet and Julius Caesar, so that tour was a fun way to kick off the Shakespeare lessons. 🙂 We also toured C.S. Lewis’ home and property (Narnia!) near Oxford. And Oxford itself was simply jaw-dropping!

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