9.25.2014

london | part two

pictures of moi by the loverly jess

| part one |

Our third day in London was a big day for me. Well, physically it was a big day for all of us, because this was the day we walked from one end of London to the other and back again. We crossed the Thames and saw everything the other side had to offer. By the time we stumbled back to our hotel rooms, we were exhausted, to say the least. But it was a big day for me because of two words: Westminster Abbey.

You must allow me to turn sentimental for a bit. I hold a long-lasting, deep admiration for William Wilberforce, the man responsible for passing the bill to abolish slavery in 1807. Really, I am fascinated by the entire abolition movement that he led, and all those who were involved. So several years ago when I read that Wilberforce was buried in Westminster, I knew I had to see it one day.

Jess and Damien opted to skip the splurge and explore the streets while I toured Westminster (it is... not cheap to go in there). The moment I stepped through those doors, I was engulfed in history. The thing about Westminster is there are graves everywhere, so your eyes must constantly be sweeping the walls and floors and everything in between so as to not miss anything. I saw the graves of people, both famous and notorious, I've read about for years. Queen Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots, Charles Darwin, Charles Lyell, C.S. Lewis, David Livingstone, Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, Lord Byron, Lewis Carroll... I would catch the name on a grave and think, "Wait... you're here, too?" And then yes, I finally stood before the memorial of William Wilberforce. I knelt and placed my hand on his grave etched in the stone floor, tracing the letters with my fingers. I saw the graves of William Pitt and Thomas Clarkson, fellow abolitionists and driving forces in the movement. (And if that wasn't enough, before I toured Westminster, we stopped in at St. Margaret's Church, the place of Olaudah Equiano's baptism. I nearly fainted.)

It was such a beautiful thing to be standing alone in that massive, imposing place, surrounded by more history than I thought could be contained in one structure, my eyes flicking over countless names. I'd waited so long to see the Abbey, and I can't describe the emotion that swept through me when I saw Wilberforce's grave and read the inscription on his memorial. He lived such a magnificent and God-glorifying life; his legacy does not deserve to end at that grave etched in the floor at Westminster Abbey. He did not want to fail God, and neither do I. I only pray that my life will hold his same strength and determination.

That day in London also included gorgeous ol' Buckingham. We couldn't believe how brilliantly gold the front statue was. It was almost blinding. We saw the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben up close (sigh), Downing Street, the House of the Palace Guards, St. James Park, Green Park, the Ritz Hotel, Hamley's toy shop (FIVE STORIES OF TOYS), Sacred Coffee Shop in Soho, Hyde Park (where we stopped to chill out on the grass for a while), and so much more. We walked through the very posh areas of London, such as Grosvenor Street and Berkeley Square, and that's pretty much where we decided we would live in London if we could. And then there was Harrod's. Never in my life have I felt so poor.

When we decided we had seen all we could possibly squeeze in a day, we made our way back across town, stopping for dinner around Westminster before making the final trek to the hotel. We collapsed in the rooms for hot chocolate before going to bed. My feet were screaming and my arms wanted to fall off from carrying my camera bag and all of us were too tired to talk, but my heart was so, so happy. It had been a beautiful day.

10 comments:

  1. -muffled screaming-
    It's so beautiful.

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  2. Ohmygosh. OhmyGOSH. Everything is so fricken British it makes me giddy!!! I keep telling myself someday I'm gonna go there!! SOME.DAY. <3

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  3. Oh, I so want to go to England.
    And your words about William Wilberforce and Westminster brought tears to my eyes. So lovely.

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    1. Hope you don't mind a quick question-where did you get that camera shirt? I've seen it on both you and Jess, so if it's actually hers, where did she get it? It's adorable! :)

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  4. Ah, my heart! What a dream! ^_^

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  5. Grosvenor Street..that's where Miss Bingley lived! Westminster Abbey! Buckingham Palace! Sigh.

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  6. OKAY FIRST OF ALL I JUST NOW REALIZED SOMEHOW I WAS NEVER FOLLOWING YOU. that's just wrong. I'M SO SORRY.
    secondly, i'm literally a mess of feels between your two posts + jess's post on london. like how can you guys even do this to me. too much perfection.

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  7. I need to find a thesaurus and look up some more adjectives to describe how well I like this! Your description of Westminster Abbey reminds me of that verse in Hebrews where it talks about being surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses and continuing running the race set before us. This is beautiful, Petie.

    And on a more trivial note...I love your handbag!

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  8. PETIE. Westminster - all those names! So cool.

    BTW, keep up the great photography girls!

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Your comments are the sugar to my iced tea. Which means they make my day.