Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Visit from Chelsea and Chris

In March we were so delighted to have our friends Chelsea and Chris come and visit us.  Chelsea was a classmate of mine at Perkins School of Theology, and we became fast friends with her and husband Chris over the two years of my programme.  Chelsea tells me that when they periodically find themselves on campus, they consider throwing pebbles at our dorm window in the hopes that we might come out.  Aaw!

A nice plus of living in London is that people are actually very interested in coming to see you!  (Dallas wasn't quite as big of a draw - sorry, Texas.)  We bought ourselves an air mattress, rearranged the furniture a bit, and gleefully hosted them for two three-day stints.  In between, they popped up to Edinburgh to enjoy the Scottish culture and visit family of Chelsea's.  It was absolutely amazing to see them and we tore up the city together.  Have a look!


I missed out on some of the first day's activities because I was at work - you'll have to ask C&C about it, but I understand David gave them the "Royal Tour" so to speak of Westminster and downtown London.  I left work as soon as I could and they met met up at a pub just down the street from my office, having just been to see Buckingham Palace. 

 This is the we're tired... but we made it! look.


On the way home... soooo tired!  (Fresh off the plane and a full day of tourism, David-style)

This calls for a celebration.

Mmmm, chicken curry.


Another grand tour of London, with several cultural sights to be seen.

Starting off our huge day of sight-seeing as planned by David - London Bridge

Random ecclesiastical encounters - Southwark Cathedral

Sir Francis Drake's ship The Golden Hinde
The Millennium Bridge and St. Paul's Cathedral
Our friends!!

This is Fish and Chips field study no. 3 - Fryer's Delight on Theobald Road.  Very, very tasty.  Chris also sampled their deep-fried sausage, which is exactly what it sounds like, and is just a little too ugly to include here.
David brought us to the fascinating Sir John Soane's Museum, which is in his own house.  Soane was an architect and antiquities enthusiast, and his home is filled to bursting with artefacts from around the world.  Sort of a miniaturized British Museum, if it was in your living room.  This guy wasn't even kidding - he has (among SO many other things) the tomb of Pharaoh Seti in his basement.  This place is a little bizarre, but fascinating - highly recommended.

"Well that was random - what's next??"

St. Paul's Cathedral - a favourite stop for Chelsea

St. Pancras Hotel.  I took us to the British Library and we looked at the amazing selection of manuscripts, including a Gutenberg Bible, manuscript scores from Bach to the Beatles, and the Magna Carta.  Just a day in the life in London.

St. Martin in the Fields

Trafalgar Square.  Canada House is just off to the right.

The Crypt of St. Martin in the Fields.  We had a very delicious dinner there together (don't be wierded out; it's a restaurant now) before attending...

Haydn's Creation, performed by the Esterhazy Singers with a period orchestra.  Sounds like a sure thing, right?  Meh - we didn't find the choir was that great, and Eve was nearly giving Adam the stink eye during their shared aria.  Oh well, still cool.  St. Martin's is lovely inside, though smaller (the sanctuary) than I imagined.
A real highlight of the day for me, which I didn't get a picture of, was seeing excerpts from the St. John's Bible which are on display there.  The St. John's Bible is a modern-day calligraphic manuscript project, in which ancient scribal techniques, with a modern artistic flair, are being employed to copy out the entire NRSV of the Bible by hand.  Gorgeous, amazing, moving, and right there to be seen in the basement of St. Martin in the Fields!


Okay, so the days in the middle were in Edinburgh, and you'll have to ask C&C how they went!  (Very well, from what we hear.)  Our next day of fun was a slightly slower-paced, but equally enjoyable tour of some more London spots.

View of the Tower Bridge as we crossed... some other bridge.
The Guys in front of The Monument.  Chris looking monumental.  David looking... just mental?
The Monument (commemorating the Great Fire of 1666)

Mmmm... Pudding!
On to the big tourist experience of the day - the Tower of London!

This guy cracked many feeble jokes and needed a microphone of some kind.  We ditched him after a few minutes.  Note Elizabeth's monogram on his livery.

Traitor's Gate - the door you don't want to come in by.

Tower Bridge - not to be confused with London Bridge

"Alright, I'm ready for the siege."

View from the nearby Tube station

The next big thrill of the day was taking in an Evensong service at Westminster Abbey - it was so beautiful.

Wandering around afterwards - this is near the Cabinet War Rooms.  It might be St. James's Park, actually...

Churchill, outside the Cabinet War Rooms

After wandering around Westminster for a while we headed back to Tooting and had the loveliest meal together at The Antelope, a gastropub just up the street from us.  Bar at the front (people playing games), tables at the back, and a TV/pool room off to the side where people were shouting as England beat Ireland at rugby.  A great spot.  We toasted our fun week and agreed we're very glad to be friends.

OMG, this was really good, I think it was David's meal.

Absolutely delicious gravalax.

On their last day in London, Chelsea and Chris went to a much-anticipated match between Chelsea and Manchester United - WOW.  These tickets are not easy to come by.  Happily, Chelsea (the team) was victorious and Chelsea (the person) even got an iPhone video of them scoring the winning goal.  A day to go down in Stern family history.

And then we had to say goodbye!  It was hard to let them go - come and visit us again any time, guys!

1 comment:

chelseastern said...

Miss you guys! Thanks for including us on your blog! Great memories!

Hugs -