The Abbey Experience

1 Jun

Though this title is pretty simple, it does justice to today’s events. Today, my classmates and I traveled to the Westminster Abbey. We took the the subway (or “The Tube,” as they call it here in London) from our classroom in Holborn to the beautiful church that resides near Big Ben and the London Eye. Truth be told, I had no idea what to expect. Admittedly, I wasn’t even sure what an Abbey actually was before today. But, as we got off the Tube and walked out of the station, it wasn’t hard to figure out. It was the biggest, most grandiose church I had ever seen. Nothing even compares close to it in the US. And, come to find out, the best part was yet to come. What the church held inside were things unimaginable.

My Professor warned us, but did not prepare us, for what the inside of the Abbey entailed. To put it simply, the inside consisted of various graves and memorials to royalty and people of significance. That’s right; I was walking on dead people. Specifically, the graves of Isaac Newton, Charles Dickens, Chaucer, and the like. It was something I’ve never experienced before in my entire life. To go to a cemetery is one thing, but to see the graves of people who were once famous (and still are!) is quite another. I was amazed. I walked all over that Abbey, a church first built approximately a thousand years ago. I saw memorials to T.S. Eliot (my favorite poet) and William Shakespeare. Westminster Abbey also had American items scattered about, such as the Congressional Medal of Honor and a memorial to FDR. I found this so surprising. After all, we were in Great Britain. But my professor explained that England and America have always had very close ties, especially during the World Wars, so these American memorials weren’t abnormal or unexpected.

Thus far during my program, Westminster Abbey has been my most memorable experience (or, maybe it’s a close tie with meeting the great-great-great granddaughter of Charles Dickens). How often do you get to see the graves of Royals and Monarchs? After touring the Abbey, a few of my classmates and I attended the Evensong, a short church service that included the Boys Choir. It was absolutely beautiful and quite touching. I hope I get to go back at some point during my last 18 days here. If I had the choice, I’d go back every day.  Until next time…

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