Friday, May 30, 2014

London/Normandy 2014: I'm Back!


I'm back from my adventure to London and Normandy. Let me just post tons of pictures then I'll talk some:


Trafalgar Square 

Crystal Skull at the British Museum

Xerxes at the British Museum

Fish and Chips! Yum!

Preparing for the Queens Birthday!

Clocks stopped at the time WW2 ended in the War Rooms

War Rooms (Churchill and his parliament lived here during the Blitz)









Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

Chartwell (where Churchill lived)

Chartwell Gardens











Me at Chartwell (one of my favorite places)

Big Ben!

London Bridge

Tower of London

Meat Eater

Tower of London

Bangers and Mash

The Globe Theater

The Globe Theater

Swans at Windsor!

Windsor castle!








Roast and veggies

Buckingham


Thames/London at night

Willow beside Thames River

The River Thames

Oxford



The building in the background is where Tolkien studied.





Churchill's grave



Ferry!

The English Channel

Normandy


Omaha Beach


Shell holes at Pointe Du Hoc



Shell holes at Pointe Du Hoc



Most moving and meaningful thing I've seen in person:
The American Cemetery and Memorial for American WW2 soldiers. 



Armand and I in front of London Bridge


A little about the trip: We visited SEVERAL places, but the tour did focus on World War II sites. It was absolutely amazing. Some places we could not take pictures of--an example would be parliament. However, inside parliament, there is a door that has damage from a bombing during World War II. Churchill had the door left as is, and the damage is clearly seen. To put the war in perspective, our guide told us that every new building--every glass building or "ugly" (as he put it) building was erected because something was destroyed during the blitz. During the blitz the dome of St. Paul's became a beacon of hope. Here it is at night:


We visited Oxford and got to see where Tolkien studied and taught, as well as C.S. Lewis. C.S. Lewis also has his name in Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey along with Jane Austin (they are not buried there, however). I did not get a chance to see Tolkien's grave which is about 30 minutes away from Oxford on foot. I will go back and see it, however. 

The most meaningful part of the tour for me was seeing the beaches of Normandy the sight of the D-Day invasion. I stood on shores where blood was shed. I walked among the graves of American soldiers. There was a quiet I cannot explain there. The only way you will understand what I'm talking about is to visit Normandy and Omaha beach. We walked upon Pointe du Hoc which is riddled with giant shell holes. They are now covered in the greenest grass. I googled Omaha Beach to look at pictures of the D-Day invasion...the comparison is the most chilling thing I've ever witnessed. 

This was an amazing trip and I want to go back badly. There are things I didn't get to see long enough. Like Chartwell, Winston Churchill's home. The gardens were beautiful and I never got to visit his studio. Did you know Churchill was a painter?! I didn't.  I wanted to visit more of the Tower of London. While I got to see the Crown Jewels (talk about sparkly), I didn't get to see inside the dungeons. There is definitely a creepiness about the Tower of London. Probably because so many people were beheaded there--including Henry the VIII's wives. I also want to see more of Oxford and Tolkien's grave. Not to mention there were still things in Normandy I wanted to visit, and I could have sat on Omaha beach in the quiet for hours, but alas, we ran out of time. 

I hope you enjoyed this little bit of my journey I could take you on! I'll see you all next week!

Love, 

Ashley