When I walked into Westminster Abbey yesterday, I thought I was attending the Royal Wedding. Sadly, Prince William and Kate were nowhere to be found (probably because they are on their honeymoon.)

Westminster Abbey

Although the churches in Italy were probably some of the most beautiful cathedrals I have ever seen, this Gothic church took my breath away. Instead of just walking the perimeter and takin the typical photo outside to show you’ve been there, a group of us attended the Sunday service. While the worship was not too out of the ordinary, still saying the Apostle’s Creed and the Lord’s prayer, two things were particularly interesting to me. One being that almost everything was sung. And second, the officiant said a prayer for the Royal Family. Yes, I understand that the monarchy is very important to the Brits, but it would be absurd (and probably infuriate a lot of folks) if we said a prayer for Obama. But, I am pleased to say that I have now attended church in the Vatican AND Westminster Abbey.

After we took the incredibly necessary photo in front of the Abbey, we had some free time to explore, during which we went to Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park. Not familiar with this? Well, here people are allowed to speak on any subject matter on Sundays as long as they are at least two feet off the ground. People who were going to be executed used to say their final words here and then were killed in the park. It was neat to see that people still take advantage of free speech and can debate such issues in public. I’m not sure how this would fly in America…I’m pretty sure there would be fist fights breaking out left and right. The issue being discussed while I observed was over religion – shocking, right? A Muslim man appeared to be refuting what three men were saying about Christianity and the Bible. Although he was causing a scene, he rebutted in a tasteful manner.

A view of Parliament from the Thames River

Later in the afternoon we took a boat tour down the Thames (pronounced Tims). Though it was a little chilly, it was still a lovely time. We went by the London Bridge, which looks stable and not falling anytime soon, and saw the soon-to-be world’s largest building made of glass, Parliament, the eye of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the traitor’s gate (the old prison where people were executed) and a few other landmarks.

Tomorrow we are going to the Imperial War Museum.