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Europe 2016: Pomp, Pride, and Piccadilly

Thousands gathered in front of the main gates of Buckingham Palace for the changing of the guard, a colorful pageantry with marching red-coated soldiers and mounted horsemen accompanied with the pomp of military bands. Our viewing station at the top of the Victoria Monument–in honor of 19th century Queen Victoria–was quite good. Our feet were quite tired after standing in place for two hours to watch the 45-minute ceremony.

This pageantry was soon followed by hushed reverence as we entered the sacred vastness of Westminster Abbey, the Christian center at the heart of all that is Great Britain. Light streaming through the beautiful stained glass windows fell upon the graves of royalty and commoners who shaped the English-speaking world and who were at the epicenter of world events and discovery. Scientists, poets, politicians, inventors, military leaders, and clergy with names known to many, if not most, lay at our feet. It was humbling and breathtaking. How thankful I was for educators in my past who inculcated in me the knowledge that allowed me to appreciate this greatness.

The long day ended with the bright lights of Piccadilly Circus, a tourist mecca with eateries and souvenir shops and theaters for live production. People, people, everywhere.

What a day of contrasts! WEG

P.S. Allen’s special request of shopping at Harrod’s was actually accomplished in between the pomp, pride, and Piccadilly of our day.