The Hall's Long Haul

Tamara & Shawn's RTW Adventure
Part of a courtyard garden at Westminster Abby

Sept. 30 – a new day dawns, and we’re actually feeling like maybe we’ve caught up on our jet lag and are ready for a great day.  We hurry over the now-familiar route to Westminster Abbey where we will meet our friends.

Grant and Carma Lee Doupe

The Abbey was 20£ (which is still a lot for admission – just about $33.00), but it was definitely a must-see.  The age, the history, the beauty of the stained glass, the alters, the memorials, the carvings – they were all amazing.  So many historical figures were buried in Westminster!  So many historical marriages occurred here!  We had little headsets that gave us an audio tour and tonnes of info as we walked along.  It truly was awe-inspiring.

Geoffrey Chaucer, Robbie Burns, Lord Byron, Charles Dickons, T.S. Eliot, Rudyard Kipling, William Shakespeare…. Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, David Livingstone (I presume), the Longititude dude, many monarchs including a number of Is, IIs, IIIs and more – Mary I, Elizabeth I, Edward VI, Henry VII… Laurence Olivier, Anne of Cleaves (one of Henry VIIIs’ many wives)… just a partial list of the many people that have been interred here over the centuries to rest, while thousands of people walk over them and past them, staring in awe.


After this mind-blowing walkthrough, we took the subway to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.  Now the theatre we visited was, of course, not the original, but is an authentic replica – right down to the floor space that was originally reserved for the poor people of London and area who could only afford a penny per show.  For them, it was an escape from the abject poverty and drudgery they experienced every day.  For just one penny, they could see a show with their friends and forget everything else for a time.  The common name for these theatre-goers was “Penny-Stinkers”.  Can you guess why (besides the obvious penny part, of course)? Well… the common people didn’t bathe very often, AND, there were no public toilets available at the theatre, so if you needed to go…. you just dropped your drawers and went where you stood!  Hence, the name!

Nowadays, they still sell very cheap tickets for the floor space – only 5£ each, but they only squeeze in about 700 a night, instead of the previous 1000+! 

The paid seats!

There are trap doors in the ceiling the floor and all over the stage to allow ghosts, witches and fairies to appear when needed!

That afternoon, we had planned to part ways with Doupes for awhile so we could go to the Tower and then mail home our “extras” – the things we decided we could do without in order for our packs to be lighter to carry and easier to fit into some of the budget airlines we have booked.

There’s a LOOOONGG story here – one that I’ve written already, and then lost to wifi problems…. I think you would’ve loved it… it was a drama worthy of Shakespeare himself… in fact, I think the bard would’ve taken it and transformed it into a play for millions to enjoy!  There was drama – would they find our hotel, or would they wander the city, laden with humongous backpacks forever?  Fear – would they be attacked by the people they endlessly passed – at least 5 times – as they searched for their hotel?  Compassion – your heart would break as you see the weary travellers struggling to find their new home, …. and humour…. as you see them going in circles and up and down, up and down the streets with the homeless people first holding out their cups for charity, and at the end, offering their change to the sad, lost couple. : (

You would watch the travellers finally make it to the post office, in panic (the post office closes in 10 minutes!), buy a box, tape and marker (because why would they remember to bring one with them?), hurriedly stuff everything into the box – a favourite red sweater, that versatile black skirt, Shawn’s overalls (seemed like a good idea at the time, but all those buckles, snaps and rivets are a real pain at the airport!), the chromebook…. wait – the chromebook?  Yes – the chromebook.  WHY did they send the chromebook, you ask aloud with anguish in your voice?

Good question – one that the travellers have asked themselves again and again since that tragic scene.

After they sent it, they realized it was still on – just asleep – and that all of their banking info was on there with all of the passwords simply waiting for the push of a button.  They realized it also had on it the itinerary that had taken HOURS of work to put together!   They realized that Tami could NOT work on the blog at the same time as they were watching Game of Thrones on the iPad, but she COULD’VE worked on it on the chromebook, HAD THEY KEPT IT!!!!!  OH MY GOD!!!!  How will they survive???

But, because I already wrote such an eloquent piece and then lost it, I can’t find the energy to replicate it.  The sweet words that previously dropped out of my head and landed on the ‘page’ with such mellifluous tones, have disappeared – never to be heard again.  I’m afraid you’re left with this, and hopefully, a fruitful imagination to help you picture this adventure!

Needless to say, we solved the problems (kind of… except for the GOT watching… that’s a real pain!), and made it to the theatre to meet the Doupes for Wicked. We enjoyed the show, and bid adieu to our friends, as they were off for Brussels, France and Spain for the next few weeks, and after our last day in London, we would be off to Brussels and Copenhagen.

Until next time…


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