Happy belated Thanksgiving!  I hope everyone had a lovely holiday. I took Friday off, so we could have a nice long weekend. And we also took advantage of this being a strictly American holiday and dropped our son in nursery school so we could participate in a special event.

I’d wanted to do this before we even arrived in London, so on Thursday I was ecstatic to be able to attend the Thanksgiving service at St. Paul’s Cathedral for the American community in London. And I wasn’t disappointed.

My hubby and I got there rather early, so we had time to stop off at Starbucks for some pumpkin spiced lattes and a cranberry and brie Panini for breakfast. Then we walked over to the cathedral and stood in a relatively short and quick moving line.

Once inside we found a couple empty seats in one of the many rows of metal chairs that had been lined up for the occasion and settled ourselves beneath the dome. We later heard that there were almost 2,000 people in attendance, but it certainly didn’t feel like it.

The interior of St. Paul's.

The interior of St. Paul’s.

We were then treated to several songs by a local choir, which unfortunately were rather muddled due to the cavernous echo of the place, but the organ was clear and powerful and sounded like something out of Phantom of the Opera. There were readings by different members of the community, a moving service by a local American pastor, and a few remarks by our Ambassador.

But the best part was just being able to spend an hour together sitting and soaking up the atmosphere. We admired the tasteful use of gold filigree in the art from one side of the ceiling to the other, noted the symbol of crossed swords and the cathedral coat of arms. At one point we confirmed that most of the fantastic paintings above our heads weren’t actually paintings at all but amazingly detailed mosaics.

After the service they opened the American chapel in the east end of the building, and we were allowed to pass through and get a close up look at the memorial and some of the stained glass windows.

The entire experience was wonderful. I fully intend to do it again next year if we can. And if we stay in Europe, I wouldn’t mind making it a holiday tradition. But I guess we’ll just have to take it one year at a time and be thankful for the opportunities we have at the moment.