We arrived EARLY on Monday morning, bleary-eyed from an overnight with snippets of sleep through the night. But we were ready to make the most of our time.
Some of Lewis and my most intense “discussions” happen when we are first figuring out the train system when we travel to a new place, and London was no exception. But we managed to get our excess luggage stored, oyster cards (public transport cards) topped up, and on the train to the Isle of Dogs. Don’t let the name fool you… I only saw two dogs on this Isle during our entire stay… as misleading and disappointing as our drive through alligator alley in Florida, but that’s a story from a previous trip.
Our Airbnb was a quaint old house with rickety stairs and drafty, splintery floors; it was quite lovely. After dropping off our carry-on luggage and freshening up just a bit we hit the town. The underground is pretty easy to maneuver and we were soon in the bustle of the city. First stop, London Bridge. I’m not going to lie, it was a little underwhelming, just a flat wide bridge spanning the Thames, much less spectacular than the Tower Bridge just downriver.
And then I got to fulfill a lifelong (okay … maybe 1/2 lifelong… teenaged??) dream of touring the Globe Theater. It was beautiful and exciting, but then we found out they had a show that very evening and we could get a buy one get one floor ticket for just 5£. I may or may not have teared up a little bit when we took our position at the corner of the stage. We saw a phenomenal performance of The Merry Wives of Windsor. It was so funny, and beautifully executed.
Tuesday we had an invite from David Elliott and Hannah Ellams to spend the evening with their family and drive to Atonement services the next day. One of the most beautiful things about God’s church is having connections across the globe. We had never met Hanna and David before, but they willingly and graciously opened their home and their life to us. It was a pleasure to get to know their family; to talk with them, to learn a little of their story, and to reflect on God’s church, and His plan… plus, David cooked us delicious food before the start of Atonement.
Wednesday we drove to London and had the lovely opportunity to fellowship and worship with God’s people on His Holy Day. By the time we made it back to the Isle of Dogs we were cold, tired, and hungry. We broke our fast with sparkling water and chocolate, finally mustering the energy two hours after the fast ended to walk to town to get some food, and we finally found fish and chips! The fish was perfectly crispy on the outside and flaky on the inside, unfortunately the restaurant (Goodman’s Field) was a little stingy with the lemons (I like A LOT of lemon on my fish), and seating/ordering was a little chaotic and confusing (no signs indicating if you should sit yourself or wait for someone to seat you, or whether you should sit at a table to order, or order at the bar first), but, even with our nutrient starved brains we eventually figured it out. And then we saw London Tower and London Tower Bridge before calling it a night.
Our last day in London we slept later than we hoped (7:30ish in the morning) and repacked our bags, and we were off to meet Mary Roscoe (an old friend from out West also in town on her way to the Feast). She was checking into a lovely little B&B in central London, Lynton Hotel on Ebury Street. The host was friendly, helpful, and super accommodating and allowed us to store our luggage despite not being guests there; just from that interaction I give their inn a 10/10. And then we went to Westminster Abbey. We were just going to walk around the outside, but Mary, very kindly, bought us tickets to take a tour. It was a great decision, much to my disappointment there was no photography allowed inside the building. I don’t know that I have the vocabulary to adequately describe the architecture, the art, the MANY tombs throughout… but I’ll give you some adjectives: soaring (seriously, the ceilings were so high, and vaulted, and ornate), extravagant, dim, somber, old (I mean seriously, they started portions of the Abbey in A.D. 929 — Edward the Confessor was buried there in A.D. 1066!!). Truly a magnificent structure with awesome architecture, history, and detail. I’ll tell you all about our airport adventure in my next blog.