Three of my loves are London, stunning architecture and flavorful writing. And so it seems I have found a delicious blending of the three in Virginia Woolf's essays entitled, "The London Scene". For anyone that has experienced these London icons, her words return you immediately to the presence of these amazing structures like no one else I've ever read. My favorite bits are below.
Virginia Woolf on St. Paul's:
"We have no time, we were about to say, to think about life or death either, when suddenly we run against the enormous walls of St. Paul's. Here it is again, looming over us, mountainous, immense, greyer, colder, quieter than before. And directly we enter we undergo that pause and expansion and release from hurry and effort which it is in the power of St. Paul's, more than any other building, to bestow."
Virginia Woolf on Westminster Abbey:
"Even the stone of the old columns seems rubbed and chafed by the intensity of the life that has been fretting it all these centuries. Voice and organ vibrate wirily among the chasings and intricacies of the roof. The fine fans of stone that spread thenmselves to make a ceiling seem like bare boughs withered of all their leaves and about to toss in the wintry gale. But their austerity is beautifully softened. Light and shadows are changing and conflicting every moment. The grey stone, ancient as it is, changes like a live thing under the incessant ripple of changing light. Not an inch of it's walls but speaks and claims and illustrates. Kings and Queens, poets and statesmen still act their parts and are not suffered to turn quietly to dust. Still in animated debate they rise above the flood and waste of average human life, with their fists clenched and their lips parted, with an orb in one hand, a sceptre in another, as if we had forced them to rise on our behalf and testify that human nature can now and then exalt itself above the hum-drum democratic disorder of the hurrying street. Arrested, transfixed, there they stand suffering a splendid crucifixion."
Virginia Woolf on St. Clement Danes:
"London nevertheless is a city in the full tide and race of human life. Even St. Clement Danes - that venerable pile planted in the mid-stream of the Strand - has been docked of all those peaceful perquisites - the weeping trees, the waving grasses that the humblest village church enjoys by right. Omnibuses and vans have long since shorn it of these dues. It stands, like an island, with only the narrowest rim of pavement to separate it from the sea. As likely as not it is participating vociferously, stridently, with almost frantic joy, but hoarsely as if its tongue were rough with the rust of centuries, in the happiness...while outside the pigeons, alarmed, sweep in circles, and Gladstone's statue is crowded, like a rock with gulls, with nodding, waving and enthusiastic sightseers."
I'm a 37-year old Seattle girl who was bitten by the travel bug on my first tour of Europe in 2004. This personal blog follows my attempts to visit as many countries as I can, as often as my budget will allow. Since starting this blog in 2007, I've also worked as a freelance copywriter for an online travel publication. This only served to add even more must-see locations to my already extended list.