A Travellerspoint blog

London - Thursday, 25 April 2019

ANZAC Day

semi-overcast 14 °C
View To London, To London, To Visit The Queen on gaddingabout's travel map.

Goodenough Hotel - Room 491

I am so tired after a long day that I don't know if I will get today's blog finished before I simply fall asleep. Also, my tablet doesn't seem to be charging and I don't know why. At least I have the correct cable connected, not like last time!

We were up quite early this morning, after the alarm went off and were back in our room from breakfast at about 9.30 am which gave us plenty of time to get ready to leave for Westminster Abbey by 10.30 am.

We phoned for an Uber car and were on our way for a trip that is supposed to take 23 minutes. One hour later we arrived. Was I in the back seat panicking - just a bit! The traffic was horrendous. Ticket holders were to be seated by 11.40 am so we had made it with a few minutes to spare. This was the first time I had been inside Westminster Abbey and it is stunning. We were directed to our seats and they were right down the front of the Abbey, just to the side of the altar. Thank you to the Australian High Commission.

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It is such a huge place that there are television screens all over the place so everyone can see what's going on. The Duchess of Cambridge arrived but Prince William is in Christchurch for ANZAC Day. Prince Harry arrived too but he wasn't mentioned on the program and I only saw him when he was leaving. We were sitting about 10 rows back from the main aisle and as Phil is so tall, he had a bird's eye view of Cate.

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Kathy Letts (Australian author of Puberty Blues and married to QC Geoffrey Robertson, was sitting across the aisle from us).

There were thousands of people there and the service took an hour and was just enough. It was a very special way to spend ANZAC Day away from Australia.

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Our section was the first to leave the Abbey, but we held back and wandered around the Abbey until everyone had to leave. There were thousands of "paying" tourists outside, waiting to get in, so we weren't allowed to stay inside. But I have now been inside and attended a special occasion and it was wonderful.

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This is Trevor Desmond.

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The weather is quite cool - a little bit of rain but very windy.

On the way out of the Abbey, Phil scratched a B for Button on the front door step! He didn't really, but I wonder what it was doing there. It looks very old but I can't find a reference to it anywhere.

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This is the queue of thousands of tourists waiting to get into Westminister Abbey.

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The cenotaph was just down the road a bit so we looked at the wreaths that had been laid earlier this morning. There were wreaths from Western Australia and Queensland and Australia, but none from the ACT.

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We walked up Whitehall and passed No. 10 Downing Street. How times have changed. In 1998 we walked right up to the front door and had our photos taken. Not any more. It is a different world.

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The horse guards are glorious. "Stand closer", says Phil. No way, those horses are huge and one kept waving his head from side to side. A whack from that would hurt.

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Getting peckish, we called into The Clarence pub for a late lunch. Phil had a beef pie and I had a chicken, ham and leek pie. Yum, yum.

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There was a group of people at an adjoining table and I heard them mention "Bruce Stadium" so I asked them in they were from Canberra. Yes. The parents were visiting their daughter and her husband who are attached to the Australian High Commission and their two sons had done two readings at the ANZAC Day service we had just attended. Very, very small world.

After lunch we walked on to Trafalgar Square, took some photos and then spent an hour or so in the National Portrait Gallery, mainly in the Tudor and Stewart sections.

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By now, my feet are killing me and we decide to head home but need to walk a bit to get away from these very busy streets, so the Uber driver has somewhere to stop. We walked several blocks and finally came to a quieter street, phoned the taxi and arrived home in a few minutes with sore feet, but very happy after a lovely day.

Posted by gaddingabout 10:08 Archived in England

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