Churchill War Rooms,iconic tourist sites, London Eye and Borough Market
Our first- thing in the morning visit to Westminster Abbey was cancelled immediately after the Queen’s passing as it is solely being used for meditation, etc. Also, most likely, to keep out the public as they get it ready for the funeral next week. Although, interesting enough, when we walked by, there a funeral ( not the Queens obviously) taking place there. But I digress…
On our good friends Patti and Bob’s recommendation, we went to the Churchill War Rooms, right around the corner from 10 Downing, and Westminster. These were reinforced underground bunkers, prepared right before the beginning of WW2 as a somewhat safe planning area for Churchill, his generals, advisors and staff. Many of them worked endless days and nights, some living underground for days at a time to plan strategy, map every event of the war effort, and communicate with troops as well as the British government and people. Some of Churchill’s famous speeches were written and given from there over the BBC outpost underground.
Much of the space, besides the working planning rooms, is devoted to the Churchill museum, with appropriate artifacts, letters, media promotions and posters, as well as unabashedly honest commentary about the strengths and weaknesses of the man himself. It was fascinating and well worth our while. It was made abundantly clear that his hard work and attitude was critical to Britain’s survival during the war.
There was a very clear police presence all around this area of London, along with hundreds of barricades all ready for use. But no attempt was made to stop any tourists or residents to travel…yet. Since the Queen arrives late tomorrow (she is being transferred from Edinburgh soon after we arrive there tomorrow), I imagine things will change quickly. So our timing, we hope, works out well for us. More to come on that with future updates.
We saw plenty of the iconic sights: Westminster Abbey, Parliament and Big Ben ( mostly refurbished with some scaffolding left), etc. Wendy took a picture of the Ministry of Mechanical Engineers to honor her Dad (and his mother as well).
Although it is a kitschy tourist thing, we took a ride on the London Eye, and enjoyed the views above the city, especially seeing Buckingham Palace, where in the distance you can see lines of people leaving flowers and paying respects. In future days, there will be thousands there.
We took the tube home by way of Boroughs Market, one of the larger market areas. Although there were many food stalls and choices, there were very few places to sit.
So we opted to have "linner" at a place across the street from our hotel called the Flat Iron. A small delicious steak and some sides made for an enjoyable dinner made all the sweeter for their cute idea of a free ice cream after you paid your bill.
We returned to pack, catch up on this blog, and take advantage of the hotel’s free (but rather late) Happy Hour to finish off the day.