Exploring London

What fun we had today, exploring the busy, high energy city of London. There was never a moment when we weren’t surrounded by people. Whether they were crowded with us on the underground tube, touring the London Dungeon alongside us, or milling about at Buckingham Palace, we had companions, curious travelers all of us.

The highlight of our morning was the London Dungeon Tour. This high quality experience, a cross between a walking tour and an amusement park ride, offers performers in period costumes portraying characters from London’s murky past. We saw executioners and Sweeney Todd’s lady friend, Mrs Lovett, a physician’s assistant during the bubonic plague and Mary Jane Kelly, Jack the Ripper’s final victim. The tour was a fascinating and well done look at the dark underside of London.

While photographs were not allowed, we had three pics taken during the tour that we purchased at the end, primarily because of my good natured mom’s hysterical expressions! The final ride features an unexpected element of surprise, and they snap a pic to capture the moment. We have giggled all evening, over the look on Mom’s face.

Mom-I’m supposed to be doing what?? Ashley is ready, though, to take off a head!

The London fire. Mom looks like she’s thinking Fire? What fire? And Debbie’s smile makes me think she started it!

What can I say?! Mom’s precious face…

After the dungeons, it was good to walk in the sunshine and fresh air, grateful for life!

Here are highlights of our wanderings:

The London Eye, on the Thames River.

Big Ben, undergoing repairs.

Buckingham Palace-the queen is not in residence currently. The palace is beautiful. There were a couple of uniformed guards on duty in their characteristic red coats and tall black hats.

Group photo in front of the palace gates.

The Lion and the Unicorn.

A piper on Westminster Bridge.

Exploring London today, I wore a t shirt from Solgave Clothing that felt very appropriate. Across the front of the shirt it proclaims, in bold letters, LOOK FOR THE HELPERS. In light of recent terrorist attacks in this city of 8.8 million people, I was very aware of the need for people who help, for souls who see beyond race and color and nationality and gender and age.

Walking across the bridge where an attack killed 5 people in March of this year, I didn’t feel fear. I felt compassion and a strong surge of desire for humanity to heal its rifts and open its collective heart. Tears came to my eyes as I watched the throngs of people walking along both sides of the bridge, as a lone piper played the bagpipes. The world was represented there, among those journeyers, from countries around the globe. They spoke many languages, dressed in a wide variety of clothes, had beautiful complexions in endless hues, and smiled when I made eye contact. I loved each person.

I was affected by those words on my shirt. I became more aware of being a helper. When we left the hotel, we almost immediately walked past a man begging on the street. He sat on the sidewalk, quietly asking for help as we walked by. I am never quite sure what to do for the multitude of homeless and destitute who beg for money. I’ve given cash…and I’ve looked the other way.

I had walked 20 or 30 steps past this man, when I looked down at my shirt. LOOK FOR THE HELPERS. How could I walk on by, wearing such a statement? Was it simply a sentiment on a shirt…or a belief to live by?

I went back, and gave him the cash in my pocket. Looking for the helpers meant looking within today, and then offering hope and love and a spirit of kinship.

Exploring London became a deeper exploration of my own heart.

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