Kris' London Online Journal
First Week of March (Feb 28th - Mar 6th) 2011
Monday, Feb 28th
Today my parents and I visited Westminster Abbey (www.westminster-abbey.org), the site of Prince William and Kate Middleton's upcoming wedding. Of course, it's known for many other things as well. But, right now, it's getting a lot of attention because of the impending royal nuptials. It's been a while since they've had a royal wedding here. The last one was in 1986, when Prince Andrew married Sarah Ferguson.
The picture on the right is of the visitor's entrance to the church, aka the side entrance. The front entrance, which looks a little like Notre Dame in Paris (because of its two towers), is the one Kate Middleton will enter on her big day. The floor plan of the church is a bit odd and, consequently, many people who will attend the royal wedding in April will not be able to see the whole thing. The tour guide informed us that this is because the church, built about 1,000 years ago, was not designed for weddings. Its main purpose (other than a place of worship) was to be the site for royal coronations, the last of which was Queen Elizabeth II's in 1953.
Westminster Abbey is also a burial site for kings, queens and many famous British citizens. Some of the more well known non-royals buried here include Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin. Although Princess Diana's funeral was held here, she is not buried here. She's buried at her family's home, which is located about 90 minutes from London.
Sunday, March 6th
Today we made the 90 minute drive from London to Stonehenge (www.stonehenge.co.uk). Greg and I have been here before, but we wanted to bring my parents, who are in the photo on the right. It was a sunny, but chilly day, And, the wind was a bit stronger out here than it was in the city. Stonehenge sits at the top of a hill in the middle of nowhere, so there's nothing to block the breeze. The good news is the brisk weather likely scared off some of the tourists because it wasn't terribly crowded.
If you've been to Stonehenge, you know that you can no longer get close enough to touch it. In an effort to prevent damage to the stones, a circular path has been established to allow visitors to walk all around the monument, and see it from every angle. It's surprising how different it looks from different vantage points and at different times of the day and year.
When you visit here, it's easy to see why so many people are fascinated by this mysterious monument. Of course, no one knows for sure why these stones are here or even how they got here. Experts best guess is that the bluestones, some of which weigh more than 4 tons, were transported almost 250 miles to reach this location more than 3,000 years ago. Archeological evidence suggests that the site was used as a calendar, a celestial observatory, a burial ground and perhaps even a religious monument.