Mother and Daughter in London

by Ellen

 

July 1985

 

Dorrie and I said that we have to go to London before I return to the states.   It seemed like a good idea, especially since she knew her way around London.  So we made our plans and met the bus at Darmstadt as instructed.  Only this time, the bus was not a double-decker.  We left on a Friday night and went to all the bases for more passengers.  At Kaiserslautern Army Base, we changed to a double-decker, but we got on top, but not the  front row like Dad and I did to Paris.  But the bus driver was Manfred the same driver we had to Paris.

Waiting for the bus to pick us up in Darmstadt

Everyone was very excited and friendly.  We got acquainted with a couple who were visiting their son, who was stationed in Germany.  We teamed with them most of the time.  After all the bases were taken care of, we drove to Calais to catch the ferry that takes passengers, cars and buses to England.  While aboard, we changed some money to English money and found out how long the trip would be.  I think it was about two hours to make the trip.  Everyone had to get off the bus while at sea and we did not want to miss seeing the White Cliffs of Dover.

 

Right after we did see them, word was passed for everyone to return to the bus.  It was almost dark when we arrived at our hotel.  In the summer it never gets dark before 10 p.m.  We all got settled for the night after we were told what time to meet in the morning.  We would be served breakfast before we toured the city.  London was a lot different then Paris.  We went first to Westminster Abbey.  The churches have no seats, but lots of status of past Royalty.  We saw Big Ben and other churches and buildings.

 

Then we arrived at the Tower of London where the guides there also were the Beefeaters like those around Buckingham Palace.  The Tower was kind of eerie.  We saw the spot where Anne Boleyn had her head chopped off and lots of items, clothes and jewelry that belonged to royalty.  We saw a tiny doorway to a flight of stairs where Queen Anne was jailed.  How she got through that narrow door with all the clothes they used to wear takes some imagination.  We also saw where they had an opening in the wall and stairs down to the canal where they used to bring in prisoners at night.

 

It was time to get back to the bus, but there we waited again for the same couple that was late the last time.  We saw St Paulís Church and the many small parks that have statues like Prince Albert (Queen Victoriaís husband) and others.  They gave us time to go to Harrodís Department Store.  Everyone was on their own for lunch, then after we met the bus, he took us North to see Windsor Palace and we could enter the large hall that was huge and had a table almost as longí with chairs on both sides.  There were portraits on both sides of the wall of the Royals of long ago.  (This was the same hall that caught fire several years ago and they were able to save 90% of the pictures and furniture.)

 

When we left the hall, we walked down the long street to where the church of St Georgeís is.  It is where they have most of family weddings and other church events when they stay at Windsor.  It is small than the other churches and very pretty.

One thing that I canít seem to remember is where we ate, alone or with the tour.  Food is so different somehow, one doesnít know what to order.  I think Dorrie and I ate when we went to Harrodís Department Store since I can still picture it.  One big meal was to be a party Sunday evening.  It was to imitate the way the former old English ate and acted in the olden day. It was going to start late and last long.

 

They did tell us that the food would be served by a Prince and a Princess and there would be no utensils.  We all would eat with our fingers.  I didnít want to go, but Dorrie did, and she went with the couple we met on the bus.  We were told to have our luggage and be ready to leave at 3:30 am.  I had to have my sleep.

 

Dorrie went and she arrived back at the hotel at 2:30 and no time to sleep.  She had a wonderful time.  She was elected Princess with a costume and tiara and helped with all the serving.  We made the bus on time, and we drove in the dark to the ferry landing.  Everybody tried to nap on the ferry on the way back to France.  We arrived back in time for some of the travelers to go to work.

 

We were the last ones off the bus at Darmstadt.

 

updated: 29.01.2012