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Amanda Goes to England, Volume 2: 13 November, 2012

My last proper, full day in London!

With not a lot of sleep to go on, I set forth for my last full day in London. I had been blessed with considerate roommates the previous week in the hostel, but all the horrors of hostel life were visited upon me that final night in London! Inconsiderate roommates, loud “youths” roaming the corridors late at night, etc. But given the number of nights I spent at Palmers Swiss Lodge, one bad night ain’t half bad!

What I’d decided to do on the final day of the Amanda-UK Reunion Tour 2012 was to visit Westminster Cathedral – not to be confused with Westminster Abbey. I had not heard of this cathedral before, but I think I ran across it on the Visit London site my sister had alerted me to the prior week. It is near enough to Victoria Station (the station where I’d be checking my bag for the day and from which I’d ultimately depart from with Kayla that night) that I was able to walk to the church from there. I did a bit of photography on the way, naturally.

On the way to Westminster Cathedral

Cathedral Exterior

The cathedral is quite an unexpected sight in its surroundings. It’s nestled among office buildings and skyscrapers. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Cathedral; I just had read that it was beautiful inside, it was a fully functional Catholic church, and that discreet photography is allowed. You know how I’m NOT Catholic? (okay, you probably don’t know that about me…) Despite my lack of Catholic-ness, I get a great sense of reverence in Catholic churches. Especially since Westminster isn’t just a tourist attraction: people actually come there to worship. There were people crying and praying as they lit candles.  A woman kneeling at the grand altar, then fervently kissing the altar. Worshipers sitting in one of the chapels, meditating in front of a beautiful statue of Jesus. One woman lit a candle and held it up lovingly toward the mosaic of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in the St.  Joseph chapel. The mosaics were unbelievable. I felt the reverence of the church and did my very best not to disturb when I was taking photos. I left feeling quite humble and a little emotional as well.

Chapel of St. Patrick and the Saints of Ireland 

Chapel of St. Joseph

Holy Souls Chapel

The Chapel of St. Gregory and St. Augustine

Chapel of St. Patrick and the Saints of Ireland 

Chapel of St. Andrew and the Saints of Scotland

Chapel of St. Paul

The Lady Chapel

The Sanctuary, The High Altar

The UK observed Remembrance Day while I was there – also known as “poppy day.” Remembrance Day falls on the 11th of November each year because (quoted from Wikipedia)  WWI “hostilities formally ended “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.”  The photos below were taken at The Cenotaph, a war memorial in the Whitehall section of London. It was a sea of poppy wreaths. A memorial to “the glorious dead.”

I decided to take the walk over to Buckingham, since I always seem to only see it at night.

Very bad and underexposed toy camera photo of a gate at Buckingham Palace

I was very impressed with the Queen Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham.  The statue of Victoria makes her look so imposing. Like she was the queen biotch up in that piece! (“that piece” being “Victorian-era England”…) And the golden (angelic?) figure atop the memorial looked brilliant against the sky on such a gray day. If only I’d not been using a toy camera to photograph this, which underexposed things very badly!

Queen V!

After that, I walked through St. James Park, next to Buckingham. It was soooooo serene. The squirrels and pigeons there are used to being hand-fed by visitors that they literally come up to you, expecting you to give them something to eat. All the squirrels that approached me were promptly told, “I have nothing for you!” (I thought I took a picture of a squirrel but can’t seem to find it in any of my photos. I guess you’ll just have to use your imagination here and envision a squirrel unabashedly coming up to you, expecting you to give it food.)

I went on to the Big Ben/Westminster Abbey/South Bank area because I hadn’t done them due justice this visit; I felt I photographed them ENOUGH last time I was in the country. Why mess with success? But I’ll be darned if I didn’t shoot a good bit of film there, to make sure I got just the right shots. And a lot of grainy, underexposed toy camera shots and superfluous purposeful double exposures, too 😉

“Photos of people who are looking at a photo they just took of themselves in front of a famous setting”

(^^^Probably my two favourite photos I have taken of Big Ben/Parliament)

I have a less wonky version of the above photo, but the photo lab doesn’t seem to have scanned that frame of film. Hmph.

I called it a day and went back to the station in order to veg out (yeah right – it’s so chaotic at rush hour!) before Kayla got there. And, my friends, for all intents and purposes, that was the end of my 2012 Reunion Tour with England.

But, boy, was the journey home a real DOOZY. Wait til I tell you about it…

Photos taken with Nikon EM, Lomoagraphy La Sardina, Lomography Diana F+, and Olympus XA

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