I wandered past Westminster Abbey. A small group of onlookers had gathered around barriers blocking our entry to the Abbey. Apparently a state visit from the King of Qatar required that the Abbey be secured by dozens of London police. We stood around for about half an hour and the crowd grew into quite a large bunch of curious people. 7 mounted police with perfectly matching white motorcycles, helmets and fluorescent green vests pulled up and stopped in formation. The sun broke through the clouds and lo, the royal couple and their entourage swept out of the abbey, were escorted to their royal limousine and sped away in a procession of a dozen Landrovers. It was great little piece of theatre, and worth standing for.
For the real theatrical experience try standing through a Verdi opera at Covent Garden. If you take a few short cuts, the theatre is only a ten minute walk from this hotel, and if you cue up at 10 am you can get a very inexpensive seat, or an even cheaper standing place. This is not like standing room at the Vienna state opera up in the gods. This is a row of standing places in the “stalls” so your place can be quite close to the stage. Who could resist this? At prices from 6 – 13 pounds it’s the best and most affordable entertainment in town. Mind you, the comfortable seats are 30 – 100 pounds.
There’s also a lot of standing in the tube. The London underground is well used and the trains are much smaller than ours and always packed. Most museums here are free, so that’s standing room only as well. Lately I’ve visited Somerset house, the Royal Mews, the Victorian exhibit at the Queen’s art gallery and a wonderful exhibit on Diaghilev at the V & A.
Tomorrow my journey carries on by train and ferry to the Isle of Wight.