Wednesday, December 25, 2013

london calling: day three.

a lot of times when we told people we were going to london, they'd say "you've gotta go to harrod's." so we did. it's like the bloomingdales of london, which means it was fun to walk through & look at everything, but no way could we really afford anything we saw. :) an entire level was dedicated to a santa's workshop-type christmas store (where we were able to afford a single ornament :). it was all pretty fun to see.

the santa next to ben was made out of legos! lego-santa & ben planned beforehand to color-coordinate for the photo.

this ornament was pretty dreamy. it wasn't the one we ended up getting, but now i'm totally kicking myself because we should have gotten this one.

next we headed back over to big ben & parliament territory to go to westminster abbey. *spoiler alert* westminster abbey was my absolute favorite thing we did in london. read on, i say.

that's westminster abbey there behind me to the left (p.s. my coat is j. crew & the hat is kate spade):

here's a closer look at the abb:

& trying to spell out the initials of "westminster abbey" with a "w" & an "a."

i'm quite bummed, because we weren't allowed to take any pictures inside the abbey. i should have snucken. but rest assured it was just breathtaking. we did the audio tour, which, whenever i do an audio tour somewhere, i always just learn & appreciate so much & then i'm like, "why don't i do audio tours more?!" & then the next place we go, the audio tour will cost money & ben & i are like, "hmmm...we don't wanna spend money on it." but we should. the moral is that maybe we should.

all coronations of kings & queens since 1066 have happened in the abbey. tons of royal weddings have happened here: catherine, duchess of cambridge married prince william here! lots of monarchs are buried here, as well as lots of poets, writers, & composers. the place where these writers & other creative luminaries are buried & commemorated is called poet's corner, & just being there was, just, it made my life. among the writers & composers interred & commemorated there are william shakespeare, jane austen, t.s. eliot, geoffrey chaucer (he was the first interred there), c.s. lewis, robert browning, charles dickens, george frideric handel, tennyson, w.h. auden, lord byron, samuel taylor coleridge, & oh gosh i should stop now but you can read more about poet's corner HERE

the festive window of a tavern we passed:

this building is the admiralty ben is standing in front of, which used to be the headquarters of the royal navy.

in the same courtyard:

you can kinda see the sign to the left of this horse, although it is slight cut off - it basically says the horse can kick or bite. needless to say, i therefore was pretty terrified & didn't stand anywhere nearrrr the temperamental british creature:

as bugging as i kinda found these guys, i can always appreciate a hat that fills outstandingly the measure of its creation:

the horse on the other side had the sign too! see the "BEWARE" in big letters?...i definitely made sure we stood far away in this photo as well, and put ben between me & the horse for good measure:

 later that evening we went to the british library. it was kind of a random place that we hadn't even had on our list of things to do, or that we had even really known about, but a friend of ours whom i really respect has been to london several times & suggested we go check it out - so we did. and i am SO glad we listened. we loved it! 

the library has this exhibit full of all these fascinating original manuscripts - a copy of shakespeare's first folio, compositions written by mozart, handel, & beethoven, lyrics to beatles songs handwritten by george, paul, & john, two copies of the magna carta, letters from michelangelo, illuminated manuscripts from the middle ages, two gutenberg bibles, queen elizabeth i's book of common prayer, original prints of canterbury tales, pages written from jane austen, & so, so much more.

another reason the british library is cool is that it houses the entire library of king george iii (who reigned from 1760-1820). his collection is at the heart of the library, in a tower spanning six floors or however high the library is. you can learn more about king george iii's library HERE

we then walked over to king's cross station. sound familiar....?

it's where harry potter & the gang caught the hogwarts express at platform nine & three-quarters!! look!!

there is a harry potter shop around the corner from this little photo op, so they have workers give you a choice of scarves to wear (one from each house - although i was nervous to choose the gryffindor one, because imagine how many people come to platform 9 3/4 to take pictures EVERY DAY, & then imagine how many people out of that large number choose to wear the gryffindor scarf other than any of the other three, & just, how many germs & stuff are on that scarf. i know that could be weird to think about, but it's something that i just sometimes think about. but i decided to risk it.) the harry potter store workers asked if i wanted to take a jumping one, so...sure.


that time ben solemnly swore he was up to no good:

dueling practice part one:

dueling practice part two [his eyes, though! if that were a real wand he could do some serious damage to some harry potter bad guy]:

brushing up on...well, you can clearly see what i'm brushing up on:

ben modeling the latest in gryffindor outerwear:

i raise my glass to you, harry potter store at platform 9 3/4 at king's cross station:

& that concludes our day three!

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