Serving Arizona State University Online Since 1995  Current Issue: Friday, April 30, 2004





Postcards from London: A walk down Abbey Road

 by Katie McDevitt
 published on Friday, April 23, 2004


Since my family came for a visit last week, I got a chance to join the herds of tourists in exploring some of London's main attractions.

We started the trip off with a visit to the Natural History Museum, which contains a plethora of objects from the natural world. Most amazing was the mineral gallery, which was overall boring, but unbelievably large. Standing in the doorway, I could hardly see to the other end of the rock-packed room.

After coveting the precious gem exhibit for a brief time, I began to have flashbacks of sophomore year geology class and decided to high tail it.

We spent around four hours in the beautiful museum, with its high ceilings and beautifully detailed European architecture, but we still didn't see it all. Still, I got my fill of dinosaurs, Darwin, rocks, and comets, and was ready to move on.

Feeling a little medieval, we spent the following day walking the corridors of the Tower of London. Famous for its royal history, the Tower of London was home to Henry VIII, in addition to others. It was also the place of Anne Boleyn's execution and Sir Walter Raleigh's imprisonment.

The highlights of the day were some rooms filled with swords, armor, and other items of weaponry. My mom and I enjoyed the gem room, which sparkled with the jewel-adorned crowns and sceptres of past monarchs.

On a more relaxed day, we navigated the lavish floors of the very grand Harrods. We indulged in lunch at a café and basically window-shopped throughout the pricey department store. It was a tourist haven, but well worth seeing.

On the bottom floor, was a shrine-like display to Princess Diana and her lover Dodi Al Fayed. There were pictures of the controversial couple, along with the ring Dodi had given Diana and the wine glass from which she drank on the night of her death. Because Dodi's father, Mohammed Al Fayed, owns Harrods, the Queen will no longer step foot into Harrods. Her loss, I suppose.

After Harrods, we ventured by foot in search of Abbey Road, made famous by the Beatles' album. After little success, we hopped in a taxi and took a ride past Paul McCartney's house, before arriving at Abbey Road. Of course we had to walk across the famous white-striped crosswalk, as the Beatles did-and every other tourist since then.
On one of our final days we took a scenic ride on the great London Eye. Standing 135 meters into the sky, the London Eye looks somewhat like a very large Ferris wheel, but is actually a large circle containing clear glass bubbles holding about 20 people. The ride took about 30 minutes and gave us a chance to look out at the majestic London skyline, during an unusually clear day.

But out of everywhere we visited, the most amazing place was Westminster Abbey. As the burial place for hundreds of notable people, including Geoffrey Chaucer, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth I, and others, Westminster Abbey was much more than a church; it was a work of art.
Vivid, expressive statues came out of every crevice in the place and its history dates back to 1066. We strolled the rooms of the massive structure, while eerie church music flowed through our ears. Every piece of architecture, plaques, and statues had a story to tell that seemed to materialize before our eyes.

Its great beauty combined with hypnotizing music and the notion of being completely surrounded by so many bodies left me with a kind of strange feeling of wonder. I could understand why the masses were so influenced by religion, when such money and time went into their churches.
I left Westminster Abbey astounded and as we rode around the city looking up at Parliament, Buckingham Palace, and St. Paul's Cathedral, I found myself a little envious that America doesn't have such a rich and decorative history.

However, in looking back at American History, we must examine England's past as well. It was the English who gave birth to our fine land, but it was we Americans who grew up and learned to walk-and eventually walked away.

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