I wonder if I am not the luckiest man alive.
I am currently sitting in the grass outside of Westminster Abbey in London, England. The sun is shining brilliantly, I have a perfect view of Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, and The St. Thomas House, and I am taking part in things that only dreams are made of.
And on top of it all, I met perhaps one of the greatest men to have ever walked the earth just a couple of hours ago.
His name is Karl-Heinz Hille...more on him later.
I rolled into London this morning after an 8-hour bus ride from Glasgow, Scotland. Frankly, I wasn’t too excited on the bus. I had a hard time sleeping at the outset as my mind was wandering here and there...and the two rows in front of me decided to keep their lights on, and the two men beside me didn’t know what sleep was...and the man in the back of the bus snored loudly. I thought it was going to be terrible...
But I did manage to sleep some, and I woke up and had some delicious breakfast (consisting of a few custard creme biscuits [I bought two more packages last night!] and some cereal). I rolled into town as I normally do...I just started walking.
I ended up at Westminster Cathedral just in time for 7:00 A.M. Mass. So I went inside, and there were about 50 of us gathered, though it only felt like a handful as the place probably holds 1000 people. I had communion with them, and I’ll be if they don’t use real wine! But it was a neat experience as we all drank out of the same cup.
From there I walked some more only to find Westminster Abbey! I walk inside, and I am greeted by a kind fellow. “You hear for the Holy Communion?” “Yeah, sure, if I can!” And then he proceeded to walk me into the depths of perhaps the most beautiful building on earth. We walked past numerous places to a back room where three of us had gathered. And three of us listened to the priest, and I took part in Holy Communion yet again. It was one of the most memorable experiences yet. Tucked back into a corner of Westminster Abbey. Three of us, a priest, and a helper.
It was about 8:30 by this time. And I walked back out into the Abbey where I talked with the priest one-on-one. I told him about my trip, and he was all smiles! I told him that this was my third Catholic Mass since my trip, and he quickly corrected me...”We are Anglican, my friend.” Ah, yes, Anglican, who knew. Anglican...um, right.
I shared with him how back at home our view of God is so different. We talk about Him being holy, but we treat Him like our Best Friend. In a church like this one, they have such a high view of God that there services are even called “high services.” There is so much reverence and awe and other-liness that ther personal part can even be lost. I think there is a danger in the extremes of both sides. It was a short but delightful conversation.
Well, from there, I walked through the all-but-empty Abbey where I met the guy who had brought me back. Tours don’t start until 9:30 A.M., but we talked for a bit...and he decided to give me a personal tour!!! I’m not kidding! I was walked around the Abbey all by myself before anyone else was even there! I saw the tombs of Charles Darwin and Sir Isaac Newton. Then I was bought some coffee and a creme-filled pastry! And we talked and talked and talked. It turns out that Marco has been to 48 countries himself. He is a native of Brazil, but he has been in the UK for seven years now...and he knows Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and English. I am so jealous!
Well, he bought me an actual tour ticket as people were starting to come in, and I had another tour through the rest of the Abbey! I saw the tombs of Elizabeth I (1533-1603), Mary Tudor (1516-1568), Mary the Queen of Scots (1542-1587), Charles Dickens, Geoffrey Chaucer, Lord Alfred Tennyson, and many more!!! There are around 3300 bodies buried in the Abbey.
And then from there I met up with Marco again, and he showed me the interior parts where the Queen herself often goes for retreats!!! I didn’t get to walk inside, but wow! We talked about the money floating around even within feet of us...the Westminster School right next door costs 25,000 pounds each year ($50,000!), and only the richest and best come to study here...kids of only 10 years of age! And I was watching them play football in the park before my very eyes!
Pretty impressive stuff. I even got to use the Abbey’s private bathroom and internet!
Well, from there, I walked down to Buckingham Palace. And I couldn’t believe my eyes there, either. Well, several thing happened really. I saw the crazy “I never smile” guys decked out in red playing along the street in a band. And I saw an absolutely beautiful garden. And I saw an absolutely beautiful and ridiculously large palace.
But what caught my eye was something so remarkable, so impressive, that words cannot even express. I can only try.
You see, I saw Sir Karl Heinz-Hille.
Now I know he still means nothing to you. Let me just try to put into words the man whom my eyes beheld...
From the side, I couldn’t see his cheeks. Because of facial hair. Now, I know what you’re thinking...that is one impressive beard. Wrong.
That is one impressive MOUSTACHE!!!
Before me was the 3-time World Champion Moustache Grower!!! I am not joking!!! I have seen this man on the internet, I was even inspired by him back in May with our Moustache May campaign. And now I beheld him face-to-face!!! I even shook his hand, and I took pictures with him, and I’ll be if his moustache wasn’t tickling my face!
And then they came...from all over. Outside the beauty of Buckingham Palace, they came. One by one.
The rest of the 1-Berliner-Bart-Club!!! Translation: The rest of the German Moustache Growing Team!!! I couldn’t have made this story up if I tried! Only one spoke English, and we talked about Moustache May, the World Championships, and I’ll be if I didn’t challenge my German friends to a little duel.
Alaska...March 2009. The International Moustache Championships. America will be represented, and Germany is going to have some stiff (though perhaps fine) competition.
That gives us a good 18 months of growing time.
So my only question is...who is in?!
Haha...oh, I am having the time of my life!!! I am in London!!!
(All right...I’m off to find myself a couch!)
2007-09-06 21:54:30 GMT