First off, let me thank everyone at WRNR that helped make this trip to London to see Florence + the Machine a reality for Kate and I, it was truly one of the best weekends of our 6 year relationship. As Kate and I hastily threw together a plan of what to see and do over the two-day trip to one of the most historic and beautiful cities in the world, I was secretly planning something that would change our lives forever. (Juicy details later... keep reading)
We headed to the airport on Friday evening with and 12 hours (time change) later we touched down in London, Saturday morning. We bustled thru the airport and onto the Tube (London’s version of the subway), we settled in for our trip across London by train. We spotted our first taste of London shortly there after, we were joined on the train by a group of cross-dressed hipsters headed for a day of drinking in second hand floral dresses and bad wigs, apparently pub crawls are a big deal.
Still trying to get the image of short hemlines and hairy legs out of heads, we arrived at our stop. Upon exiting the station, we were blown away by the view. We were right across the street from the Tower of London and Tower Bridge both of which overlook the Thames. After we dropped our bags at the hotel and grabbed a quick bit to eat, we headed over to explore the Tower of London. Little did Kate know that she was in for a big surprise. After viewing the lavish splendor of the Royal Crown Jewels, I decided it was time to let Kate in on my secret; she was getting her own jewelry. I got down on my knee and asked her to marry me; she said yes immediately and made me the happiest person in London. The rest of the Saturday was a blur of phone calls to family, dinner and delicious pulled draught beer.
With the excitement of our engagement fueling us, Sunday morning we headed down the Thames for a river tour of London, checking out all the things to see in London, the Globe Theater, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tate Modern and tons of other points of interest. The boat dropped of off right at Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament and we explored the streets of London by foot over to Westminster Abbey, then over to the London Eye, a quick cab ride past Buckingham Palace and we headed back to get ready for the show.
Back on the subway, Kate and I finally focused on the purpose of the trip to see a fiery red head, Florence Welsh, perform at the one of the premier rock venues in London, the Brixton Academy. The venue is a renovated 1930’s style theater with a grand balcony and an open floor plan on the ground level. We arrived just about 30 minutes prior to the show start and joined the max capacity crowd of 5,000 people on the floor. Florence was excited to headline the Academy after grinding through the London music scene and the show did not disappoint. A full choir backed Florence + the Machine and strings section that helped drive her powerful voice throughout the tiny rock house. Florence had the entire crowd bouncing and hopping as she belted out song after song from Lungs. After an hour performance and a quick encore, they were done and we were exhausted.
We caught a Monday morning flight back to Philly and we were home. Thanks again WRNR for everything, I will never forget the surprised look on Kate’s face or the view of Tower Bridge from the walls of a 2,000 year old castle.
---------- Mitch Bowers