August 8th, 2014

My final day in London was filled with some of my favorite things that I had purposefully saved for last because I had been looking forward to them the most. The first of these things was actually going inside of the Westminster Abbey. I had been inadvertently circling this famous monument since I had first stepped foot in London, but despite being a constant in my time in London, I did not know what sort of treasures lay within the Gothic spires and flying buttresses of this impressive edifice.

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Inside the Abbey I wasn’t actually supposed to take any photos so I only have a few secret photos of this incredible place. I spent hours slowly wandering up and down the aisles of this unbelievably beautiful building. Listening to my free audio guide, I took as much time as I wanted without a worry in the world, letting myself be wholly consumed by what was presently before me. IMG_4194

Each stain glass window, every statue protruding from the towering ceilings, every arched hallway stretching like the arms of a cross, the intricate carvings that covered seemingly every surface. It was easily worth the ridiculous cost of entry because it was up in the top of my favorite churchs, which is saying a lot after becoming a cathedral snob due to Rome’s over abundance of incredible churches.  IMG_4184

Even from within the Abbey you could see the spires of Parliament peaking around the intricate rooftops of the Westminster. It was a pretty magical place on its own, but coupled with its amazing neighbors, it was truly phenomenal.

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But the interior was the real show stopper. I wish I could have taken more, and better pictures of it, but it was definitely one of my favorite things in London. The Poet’s Corner, not pictured here, was a wonderful treat for me to see all the stone tablets commemorating so many incredibly talented writers that I have been reading for years. To stand amongst their names, circled in their words, portraits, and often times their very graves, was an unforgettable experience. Chaucer, Dickens, Dryden, Hardy, Kipling, and Tennyson lay buried at my feet, and memorials to Milton, Shakespeare, Blake, Austen, the Bronte sisters, Coleridge, Keats, C.S. Lewis, and many other world changing poets and writers surrounding me. To stand in this hallowed place as a writer and English Major was mind blowing, to be surrounded with such ineffable talent was a dream come true.

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But back out in the world of the living, I had a whole day of wandering and things that I had not yet experienced in London that I knew I had to see before I went on my way to my next leg of the journey. IMG_4274

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Crossing the London Bridge I came to my next, and shamelessly one of the most exciting things for me besides the Poets Corner, The Borough Market because everyone knows how much of a nut I am for markets of any and every sort.

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I started my market experience with a little lunch at what seemed to be a very popular outdoor assembly line of awesome food.

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 I opted for the Catalan Stew, consisting of an amazing Paella cooked in an insanely huge wok type pan.

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The Paella was then topped with the stew, which was a spiced blend of vegetables and meatballs simmered in yet another ridiculously large pot.

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All mixed together it was a fantastic lunch that I ate under the shadow of a church while rain began to softly fall.

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When the rain became to much for me I wandered into the actual market under the covered safety of a bridge with a green underbelly of iron. There were so many stands full of so much amazing food, I couldn’t even begin to take pictures of it all let alone eat it all, and believe me, I did try.

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Weaving between the stands, the smokey wisps of cooking food, and fresh produced piled high, I was entirely mesmerized by this wonderland of food.IMG_4304

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I tried a lot of different things, dumplings, Turkish delight, chili, cheese, olives, and even an incredible gluten free almond croissant that blew my mind and my taste buds.

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I spent a long time wandering the market, even ducking into an old pub hiding under the bridge called the Globe from the 1800’s, before begrudgingly leaving with a stomach full of delicious food.IMG_4294

My next stop was the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, two iconic images of London that I had yet to see.

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Walking around the Tower of London in a soft drizzle, it was an intriguing structure to behold. This historic palace and fortress seemed almost hilariously out of place with the modern surroundings that stood tall around it. IMG_4342

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It was definitely a strange juxtaposition between the old and the new, a juxtaposition I had grown accustomed to during my time in Europe because this seems to be present in almost every major European city I have yet traveled to, which I suppose isn’t saying a lot looking at my travel history, but still, an intriguing motif no doubt.

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Coming around the Tower of London on the side along the Thames, the wind picked up, so freezing my butt off I continued along the huge river towards the Tower Bridge, which is an incredible lift bridge with wonderful architectural features.

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I really enjoyed the bridge and walking across it slowly, looking back over the city that I had explored for several days, it felt right to end my time there in that way. IMG_4392

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It had been a wonderful experience, so leaving on the commuter train for Wallington was a sad feeling, and the ride home gave me a good while to consider all of the incredible things I had seen over the span of my time in England. With only one day left in England before continuing on to the Netherlands, I was well pleased to watch the sun descend over London one last time. IMG_4414

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