Since I haven’t written in a while, and since nothing very exciting happened this afternoon, I’ll just back up a little to say that we had a splendid weekend, with a busy Saturday in London and a restful Sunday at Blenheim Palace, Churchill’s ancestral home.
On Saturday, Jeandelize, Alycia and I took an early train into the Westminster District of London. We took lots of pictures, including this lovely one of Big Ben coming straight out of my head. We really wanted to see the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace and thought we were getting there in plenty of time, but apparently there were about a million people ahead of us. Anyhow, we got to see a little of it and hear some of the music. If we ever go back we’ll know exactly when to get there and where to stand.
From there we headed to the National Portrait Gallery where somehow I got separated from my two companions. Fortunately we had especially several meeting points and times so I was sure we’d meet up at some point. I went on to the Victoria & Albert Museum, which is a museum dedicated to textiles and decorative arts. Sounds exciting, I know — that’s probably why in five years I’d never made it there. I was pleasantly surprised, however, and do plan on going back when I have more time to explore. It includes household artifacts from all over the world, from the Victorian era but also throughout the ages. I know some of you are imagining an upscale furniture store, but really it’s fascinating to see how people lived in their houses and habitats throughout different ages. I especially enjoyed the Belle Epoque displays.
From there, we all met up at Harrods (an upscale department store with seven floors), including the group that had taken the later train from Oxford and had been to see the Tower of London. We had a nice Italian dinner all together and, as we were all pretty drained, headed back to Oxford.
On Sunday, some married friends of mine who are studying this summer in Oxford came to take me to lunch at Blenheim Palace, the estate where Winston Churchill was born. It was so delightful to be around them and to get away from the dorm and just relax for awhile. We had lunch at an outdoor cafe overlooking the Terrace Garden with its fountains and statues, then took a long, leisurely lakeside walk around the palace gardens, transported to an earlier time when there was no Internet, no electronic book readers, no cell phones, etc … and this was the Sunday afternoon activity of choice for lords and ladies.
Ironically, a group of the students went to Blenheim Palace as well but we never ran into each other. It was a wonderful, restful, enjoyable Sunday.