Westminster Abbey & the Tower of London

Hello, my name is Janey. I am a student of Sullivan Heights, and a member of the Sullivan Heights London crew. I have been enjoying myself very much in London, England, even with the lack of sleep during the past few nights. With traveling, my motto is, “Go hard or go home!” I love to travel and hope to travel the world one day. 

I am very fortunate to be sharing a room with my best friend, Shelby. One funny memory with her was during the first night in the hotel. It was approximately 5:30 am when I heard “Janey, are you awake?” To which I quickly replied, “I am now.” Luckily for her sake, I eventually fell back asleep. We told some members of the group this story, and it gave them a chuckle. This is such a fun and great group to travel with, and we have made many memories in such short time!

Yesterday, March 19, was my favourite day so far. It was a jam-packed day of London history and of course, the continued competition to see who can come up with the worst joke. I was in the lead until Rene, another student and good friend of mine said one at breakfast. She said: “What did the fisherman say to the magician? Pick a cod and cod.”  

After our delicious hotel breakfast, we took the Tube to Westminster, where Parliament and Westminster Abbey are located. This is where we met up with a private guide, Simon. I found the guide very useful, as he filled our brains with knowledge of the history of Parliament and of Westminster Abbey. He was fun to have as a guide as he made jokes with us and gave nicknames to some people in the group, (Shelby became “the clever one”, and Mr. Dewinetz became “The Barometer of Truth”). From him, we learned many facts about the architecture and important people involved with the Parliament buildings and the Abbey. Fortunately, we were able to tour inside the Abbey (but no photos allowed inside). We viewed many tombs of past kings, queens, and significant people such as Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Lewis Carroll, and Lord Alfred Tennyson. The architecture of the Abbey was extravagant with its detail, and structure forms a cross from a bird’s eye view. I can honestly say it was the most beautiful building I have ever been in; completely magnificent.

Palace of Westminster, Complete with Big Ben (or the Clock tower holding the bell Big Ben), and a statue of Oliver Cromwell.
Palace of Westminster (Left) across the street from Westminster Abbey (right), which was built to match.  Pretty close, right?
Inside court yard at Westminster Abbey.  No photos were allowed inside, but I can promise you it’s beautiful.
Group Photo outside Westminster Abbey, plus a few details of the architecture.
Westminster Abbey, Celina outside the front doors, Group inside the hallway before going in, and a few of the front.

After Westminster Abbey and the Palace of Westminster (the Parliament building across the street containing Big Ben), we walked down past the “Ministry of Magic” and towards St. James’ Park.  Here we found the Blue Bridge, and took photos in front of Buckingham Palace.  Some of us also participated in the tradition of throwing coins into the pond and making a wish.  We then walked through the horse guard for a few photos.

Blue Bridge in St. James’ Park, with Buckingham Palace in the background.  Harsimran, Qudrat, Rene, Harjot, Mr. Becker and Mr. Dewinetz throw in coins and make a wish, while Janey and Shelby jump for joy and Ms. Mulji takes in the site.
Horse Guard.  You are allowed to have your photo taken at your own risk, as long as you don’t disturb the guards.  See Kimmi, Qudrat and Harsimran, left, and Ms. Garr petting the horse, right.
Janey in front of the “ministry of magic”

After we finished this tour, we took The Underground to Tower Hill, where we had lunch and toured the Tower of London, also with Simon. This is where grade 8 and 9 Social Studies truly came to life for me. We learned the history of the Tower, as well as the different lifestyles of people who lived there. For example, we saw where Anne Boleyn (2nd wife of King Henry VIII), lived and died. We were also able to see the Crown Jewels as well as suits of armour worn by past kings and noblemen, which were all absolutely stunning. Such a treat to see.

Group shot in front of the tower of London (top), Mr. Becker in front of the tower (bottom left), Harjot, Harleen and Simran in front of tower bridge (centre) and the guards matching through the tower grounds (right).
Mrs. Becker, Suesha and Rene, and the Tower Bridge. 
Inside the tower grounds, complete with the white tower and Tower bridge in the background, the homes that are still lived in (see guard in front of the place of residence of Anne Boleyn before her execution), weapons, the crown jewels building (no photos in there) and the commemorative pillow to the spot in which Anne (and royalty) were beheaded.
The White Tower, Traitor Gate and group listening to our guide Simon explain the history of the Tower of London.

Following the tour of the Tower of London, we had dinner at a Belgian restaurant where I ate mussels for the first time, (Belgium is famous for their mussels). In my opinion they were all right, but I was only able to eat a few. However, Shelby said she thought they were quite good. To end the day with a bang, we walked to a broadway theatre and watched “The Phantom of the Opera.” This was another first for me as I have never seen a broadway play before. Myself, and others, thought it was fantastic! I did not hear anyone say that they did not enjoy seeing the play. It made me even more excited to see Wicked! Such an extraordinary day, and I can not wait for the many adventures to come!

Blog post by Janey T. and Photos by Alyssa Becker

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