Friday, September 14, 2001

Last Night In England?

Well, I headed to St. Paul's Cathedral. Stood with the crowd outside and listened to the broadcast of the service. I was moved when they played the Star-Spangled Banner. I sang along; nobody else within earshot seemed to know the words. Then again, they all knew the words to the Lord's Prayer. One guy behind me knew most of the words to the Battle Hymn of the Republic, and he had a pretty good singing voice. I sang along with "America the Beautiful", but everybody else seemed to be singing different words.

Then I took off for the Tower of London. I had planned on visiting that all along, and so I thought I'd finally take it in. It was really neat for a history buff, even if the treatment was a bit Disnified. The "Beefeater" tour really helped me get oriented in the place, but he acted a little bit too much like a cartoon character for my taste. Ah, well. Then I got to go through the White Tower, which was the original fortress started by William the Conquerer. It was a little awesome walking in what had been the home to English monarchs for a few hundred years. And it was interesting seeing how the building had been used over the years. One of those uses was as an armory, so they had a lot of historical weapons on display.

Then I went off to see the Crown Jewels. It seemed kinda silly, but obligatory. Nevertheless, I was impressed. I actually found myself letting out an involuntary whistle. I didn't know people really did that. After that, I saw the Medieval Palace, the Bloody Tower, and the Wall Walk. All worthwhile, although again, the reconstructions of some of them seemed a bit hokey.

But I'm glad I got some garden-variety tourism in with all that's going on. I tried to call United to make sure I was still on my flight tomorrow, but I couldn't get through. I can't tell if that was because they were busy or because I couldn't figure out the phones. Keep your fingers crossed.

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