Thursday, March 13, 2008

London Calling... to the faraway towns

Our flight to London was eventless, despite the fact that we were sharing the plane with a disproportionate number of large, mowhawked, green haired young men (two high school rugby teams were also on the flight).
I've never been to London before, so I knew that guiding a group through Europe's largest city was going to be interesting to say the least. The day went unbelievably smoothly in my opinion. Just as we walked out of Heathrow, the world's busiest international airport (which is run with near-German efficiency), Rens pulled up in a beautiful new coach and we loaded up and headed for our first destination a 1/2 hour ahead of schedule.
The Imperial War Museum is a large, well organized collection of WW I and WW II artifacts, all the way from canteens and ration cans to tanks and V1 rockets. It features the WW I "Trench Experience", which comes equipped with smells and sounds as well as sights. London is certainly worth more than the 24 hours we are spending here, so I had to be deliberate in my choices for our day and I chose the IWM because of what I had read about the trench. We will be visiting two major WW I battle sites on the continent, and I wanted us to have this experience beforehand.
St. Paul's Cathedral, Christopher Wren's masterpiece and a symbol of British resilience (and during WW II, resistance) was a great first visit to a holy place for our group. It is immense, ornate, and, when filled with the sounds of the giant organ pipes, overwhelming. We walked the several hundred stairs up to the top gallery for a grand view of London. On the way up, we stopped in the whispering gallery, where our excited kids were told to, of course, "please keep your voices to a whisper". The stair climb was an enjoyable workout (hahaha) for our already very tired group, and it was a foreshadowing of things to come...
Finally, our exhausted group made its way over to Fleet Street in the centre of the city to dine in London's longest running pub (established in the 1500's, rebuilt in 1667, immediately after the great fire, and in business since) Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. This favourite watering hole of Charles Dickens, Samuel Johnson, etc. comes with dark wood panelling, creaky old stairs, and an indescribable aroma that must come with age. After being seated in the Williams Room, we were served our choice of a traditional English fish and chips meal, or a meatless cornish pastry meal. The food was warm, and the male waiter was apparently "hot".
It's now 5:45 AM GMT (British time), and James and I are getting some stuff ready for our last day in London/first day in Bruges.


Kaveboy said...

So Mr. Bresset...
Was the waiter hot in you opinion or the girls' opinion??!!

Chris B said...

You have great taste in music Craig! Glad to see you are all well and having fun!

Bekahh said...

HAHAHA! I love how in that jumping picture you have, Brad's just standing in the background looking sort of forlorn! Great times! Give Andrew a high-five for me!!He's a rad jumper!
Anyways, I am sure his sister says hi! (this is Andrew's sister, just in case you are confused) and send her love! She leaves TOMORROW! Ah! Everyone leaves tomorrow!!!
It really makes me miss Europe. Our trip was the bomb! Though, I am more then sure you guys are going to have SUCH a fascinating and exciting time!
Can't wait to hear your stories!
Have a safe trip!

LondonLove said...

So India and me watched our Europe movie just now! Wow. Good times. Like the best times. Of our lives. Literally.(: You guys are sooo lucky to be there right now, we are pretty much dreading the fact that we aren't. Have soo much fun!!

Austin (:
& India.

rhen_mags said...

hi daddy i read the entire thing you must be having fun!

Mirella said...

Sounds like you are all having fun. I had to chuckle when I read what the dinner choices were for the first dinner and wondered if Tiffanie actually ate??? Give Tiffanie our love, hope you are having a blast. Tiff's Mom