I Saw “THE” Dress!

25 Jul

[slideshow]“]After a good night’s sleep, we hit the ground running for our first full day in London.  After a big English breakfast which included a much expanded version of the breakfasts we’d enjoyed in Scotland, we began our day.

We had many of the same breakfast items, apparently traditional all over the UK such as fresh fruit of all kinds, natural yogurt (similar to what we’d call Greek but not as thick and not sweetened) fruit compote (to ladle over the yogurt I think) muesli, cereals, granola, porridge, prosciutto, other cold meats, a selection of international cheeses, fruit juice, pastries, white and brown toast, etc.  But what was different here was that they also offered a line of hot foods.  On that line were fat sausage links (not really what we’d think of as breakfast sausage), bacon (which looked and tasted very similar to what we’d refer to as “city” ham) scrambled eggs, fried eggs, baked tomatoes (tomato halves sprinkled with seasoning and baked) and baked beans which were served alongside the scrambled eggs!  I wasn’t expecting that one!

Our first item of business was to join a bus tour of the major tourist sites that was included with the price of our hotel room.  We soon learned that the tour buses are not the most efficient way to move around in the city.  It is so crowded this time of the year.  You truly can make better time by walking.  We’d already arranged with the tour guide to leave the tour mid-way through since we’d booked tickets to Buckingham Palace online and wanted to be sure to make it in time to start our tour there.  So we hopped off the bus at Westminster Abbey and walked the rest of the way to Buckingham Palace.  We were both glad to be able to get out of the bus gracefully!  They are probably still stopped at a red light somewhere waiting for the traffic to clear.

Buckingham Palace was really enjoyable.  Once inside, we toured the state rooms, got to see some really great art from the Queen’s collection, got to see the official wedding photos of William and Kate and actually see the rooms where the photos were taken, where they had the post-wedding dinner and reception, and many other interesting items.  It was a real treat.  The highlight of the tour though (and I’m only speaking for myself here, not Jimmy) was I got to see Kate’s wedding dress, shoes, earrings, and replicas of the bouquet, and wedding cake.  The dress is really beautiful.  The display included a short video with the seamstress, Sarah Burton,  describing the steps that were taken in designing and sewing the dress.  Apparently the soon to be princess doesn’t just choose lace because she likes it, or choose flowers for her bouquet because they are her favorites, every item is selected because of it’s symbolism or because of its ties to Great Britain.  There’s quite a lot of thought that goes into all this!  Judging by the dress, I’d say Kate probably wears about a size 4 or 6 and I’d guess her shoe size to be a 7.  The earrings (commissioned by her parents for the occasion) were beautiful glittery diamonds with little acorns (of all things) dangling in the center.  The acorn symbolized the new coat of arms for the Middleton family. (Guess they moved up in the world when she got engaged to the Prince!)  I really enjoyed the exhibit of the wedding dress, but the Queen didn’t.  She saw it for the first time over the weekend when she and Katherine toured it together before it opened to the public.  (It just opened on July 23)  The Queen apparently thought the display was ghastly and that the whole thing looked creepy with the veil floating over the headless body.    She used the words horrible and horrid to describe the display.  It appeared the mannequin’s lack of a head may have perturbed the Queen, who added: ‘It’s made to look very creepy.’   LOL!  I’ll bet that was an uncomfortable moment for Kate!

The tour of the Palace ended with a walk through the garden, then back to the hustle and bustle of the real world.  We walked in the direction of the tube station (what we would call the subway) and stopped for lunch at Pizza Express.  Jimmy ordered cannelloni and I ordered from the under 500 calorie menu.  Mine was a pizza that had the middle cut out and salad inserted.  It was really good and too filling for me to eat it all.  I have a hard time believing it was under 500 calories!  But we are definitely walking off our meals!  We caught the tube over to the British Museum and did a quick look at the galleries.  We got to see the Rosetta Stone, Cleopatra’s mummy, a statue from Easter Island and lots of other really old stuff!  It’s mind-boggling really to consider how much history we viewed today.

We finished at the British Museum, walked back to the tube station and rode over to Westminster Abbey to attend the 5:00 pm Evensong service.  We got in line and as we moved forward to the entrance, we could see that some folks were being turned away.  We made our way to the front and were asked by the attendant, “What is your business here today?”  We answered, “We’d like to attend the Evensong service please”.  They smiled at us and said “Good!  come on in.”  Guess the people in front of us answered the wrong way!  It was an awesome experience to be ushered into that great cathedral!  I walked along the same path that took Kate to the altar to marry William.  In fact, when we were seated, we were in the very center of the church (it actually forms a cross) and we were right at the center where all four arms of the cross intersect.  The architecture is magnificent.  The history is mind-boggling.  In the “bulletin” we were given, it told how there has been a worship service to God every day in Westminster Abbey for over 1000 years.  We walked along the same path and over the same marble floor that so many before us had walked.  The service was mostly sung, with a short passage read from the old testament, then from the new testament with psalms and hymns in between.  There were a couple of responsive readings and times when we sat, and times when we stood.  I couldn’t help but compare this great cathedral to the little church in Edinburgh that met in an old theater that we had visited just the day before.  I hope (and feel certain) that there are sincere believers with a pure devotion to God in both places!  I’m so glad we got to experience both worship services.

After the service, we hopped onto the tube and went to the train station to catch a train to Brighton.  Brighton is a seaside resort about an hour south of London.  It has continued to be great weather.  Still no rain!  The train was pretty full so we were unable to sit together, but sat across the aisle from each other.  I said beside an older retired gentleman that I really enjoyed talking to.  He was headed back home after being in London for a cricket match that had lasted 5 days!  He was in a jolly good mood because England had beat India.  He explained cricket to me, showed me the score card in his pocket, explained how the game could go on for so many days.  I told him we had extra innings in baseball, but had never known it to go into additional days!  We talked until he exited the train at his home.  I’ve so enjoyed meeting the local people!  This man had lead a very interesting life and I really enjoyed getting to know him. He and his wife, now that they are both retired, spend a good bit of time traveling and they are exploring the Far East on their recent trips.   When he left, he shook my hand and told me how enjoyable his trip had been, then he told Jimmy, “I really enjoyed meeting your wife”.  So nice.

We arrived in Brighton and did a good bit of walking around to see the waterfront and the town.  We walked along several little streets with little row houses that were so cute and neat as a pin.  Apparently, Brighton is a really popular place this time of year with students on “holiday”.  It was very similar to Miami Beach during spring break (places we usually avoid!)  but we enjoyed seeing it and the train ride was beautiful.  Train travel is a great way to see the countryside.  We ate a light dinner and took the train back into London.  Another big day tomorrow…

Love to you all,

Deb/Mom

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3 Responses to “I Saw “THE” Dress!”

  1. Sarah July 25, 2011 at 8:12 pm #

    I loved meeting the people too! That is one of the things I enjoy about travel!!! So jealous that you saw all of Kate’s royal wedding attire! Really enjoying the blog and pictures!!!

  2. Pat Lewis July 26, 2011 at 11:09 am #

    What we envy the most is the COOL weather…. Enjoy it. It is SO hot here. Saw the dress on the news and heard the Queens comment. She is funny.

  3. Candice July 26, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    I love reading about your adventures. You and Sarah are such good writers. It makes me feel like I’m right there with you.

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