Saturday I had grand plans. I had the day planned out and I was going to stick to it. Right. Well the plan was to take a walking tour (guided by yours truly) of Westminster. I would start at Westminster Abbey and end up at the National Gallery. I had a lunch packed, a book for reading on the Tube, my guide book and my camera. Oh and since it IS London, I grabbed my umbrella before I left. Well I got to Westminster and as I come out of the Tube stop, it's raining. Not just a light spring rain--oh no! That would have been too easy. No this was heavy, blowing, chill-you-to-the-bone, make-your-socks-wet rain. It was cascading down the steps outside of the Tube stop. Picture a waterfall. It was like that, minus the topical feel I'm sure most of you are imagining. Yeah. (You can't really tell in this picture, which is outside the Tube stop, but I promise you it was raining.)
Well I trudged (To trudge: the slow, weary, depressing yet determined walk of a man who has nothing left in life except the impulse to simply soldier on.) over to Westminster Abbey and found quite a queue as well as an admission price I was not expecting. Did I see the line for tickets paid with credit cards? Of course not! So I trudge back to the only cash point I could find, and by the time I made it back to the Abbey, they had closed for the day. So now my pants were soaked up to my knees, my back pack was wet, my jacket was wet, I was cold AND wet. And hungry. But I did snatch a picture before I walked, since by now the rain had slowed/stopped, back to the tube.
The next leg of my journey was inspired by a history professor I had at Alvernia last fall. This has nothing to do with that class, thank heaven. Dr. Silbey was in London working on his dissertation and posted this picture on his Facebook. I thought, since it was near-ish to where I would be, that I would try to find it. So with umbrella in one hand and my directions from Google maps in the other, I went looking for 1 Mandela Way, the home of this tank.
The tank was very (Ha. London speak for less than a half hour of walking between the two places) close to the Imperial War Museum, where Dr. Silbey worked on his dissertation. It was really quite amazing. Because I went on the day before Remembrance Day (like the Americans Veteran's Day), the Museum was packed with families and veterans, all wearing poppy's on their lapels. (Dr. Silbey, THIS is the part that reminded me of class and all that talk of patriotism. See, I tried to pay attention!)
After an hour of two (not nearly enough time to get through everything) in the museum, I started my walk home. Well, my walk at least to the Tube. By this time it had stopped raining, which was great. I was still a bit damp and cold from my days adventures, so I treated myself to a Toffee Nut Latte from Starbucks. It was one of their many holiday treats, and was served in a red cup--one more sign that Christmas is coming soon!