Monday, January 2, 2012

Old Town Alexandria, Part II

Today is my last day of freedom--tomorrow it's back to the grind.  So with that in mind let's clear out some unfinished business from the old year, namely our visit to Old Town Alexandria.

King Street is basically old brick houses now turned into restaurants and boutiques.

Most shop windows were still in Christmas mode.
However this Irish specialty shop wanted to remind us that there's only 78 days left before St. Pat's Day.
This lingerie shop which opened a year or so ago was initially controversial and in some minds thought to be a bit too risque for genteel King Street but it has apparently weathered that storm and looked to be doing a roaring trade.
"Why Not" is a toy store.  Remember, back before shopping malls took over, when just about every town had a shop dedicated strictly to toys?
I was pleased to see that Babar the Elephant is still in vogue.
An apron in a fetching pirate motif, complete with a variety of kitchen tools, was on offer for the aspiring domestic Goddess on your shopping list.

Missing some animals for your Noah's Ark display?  They can be obtained here, two by two.

The next Punch and Judy show will be held at 6:30.  Bring your own pig's bladder...
After all this the diaristwomen were getting peckish.  La Madeleine is a good place to take care of that.
Can't afford to pop over to Gay Paris to see the real thing?  Not a problem mon ami, you can study this scale model of Gustave's masterpiece while waiting for your Croque Monsieur.

Absolutely NO dessert unless you finish your lunch!  Sadly we didn't have room for dessert and so headed back out on the street.
Oh dear, oh dear...  Your old diarist told diaristwoman he'd touch base with her in a half hour's time.  
Walking uphill from la Madeleine one passes Market Square with it's large fountain (drained for winter).  City Hall is the building in the background with the large flag draped over the entrance.
Adjacent to the fountain is this pleasant garden.  The sculpture is BRIO by Jimilu Mason.

Zooming in on these interesting trees just beyond BRIO.  I think they are sycamore trees but I'm not entirely certain.  Can anyone identify them?
Further along, King St. crosses Washington St.  I've always wanted to take a look at Christ Church.  Let's pop in.
Construction of Christ Church began in 1767 and was completed in 1773.  This building replaced the initial C of E chapel-of-ease which dated to 1753.   The architect of Christ Church was James Wren (not a relative of the better known Christopher Wren).
The interior of the church looking towards the altar.  Several of the box pews are associated with notable people from U. S. history.
This is Geo. Washington's pew.  I asked where in the pew did George sit?  The answer: "Wherever he wanted!"  In the early days of World War II FDR, Winston Churchill and FDR's wife Eleanor used this pew during a National Prayer for Peace.  FDR sat closest to the camera with Churchill beside him and Eleanor beside Churchill.  I briefly sat in Churchill's lap.
Another well known parishioner was Robt. E. Lee. He and his family used this pew.
The building abounds with interesting details such as this "wine glass" pulpit which was installed in the 1890s.  The two tablets which flank the pulpit, containing the Apostles' Creed, Ten Commandments and Lord's Prayer, are original to the building and were hand lettered by James Wren, the architect.
It being Christmas, there was of course, a Creche.  We see the animals, shepherds, Joseph, Mary and Jesus, but where are the wise men?
The wise men are here on this window sill just before the Creche.  They haven't "arrived" yet and so will not be moved to the nativity scene until Epiphany.
My half hour of freedom was quickly evaporating and just as I stepped out of Church my mobile rang.  Diaristwoman was shopped out and ready to head for the barn.  And so, dear reader, I wish you the best for the new year!


  1. Christ Church reminds me of Bruton Parish Church in Williamsburg, Virginia.

  2. Hmmm, perhaps on the inside the two buildings share some similarities but if I recall correctly, Bruton Church is a cruxiform style building where Christ Church is a basic hipped roof box with a bell tower added on one end. It's been a while since I've seen Bruton Parish Church. I was briefly stationed at Yorktown while going to the Coast Guard's engineman school and lived in Williamsburg one summer but that was over 40 years ago!

  3. During which years were you in the USCG in Yorktown? Do you know Bob Armstrong from New Jersey?

    And yes, the inside of the church looks similar, kinda, in that it's from basically the same period.

  4. Fina bilder kul att se något annat än Sverige.
    Ser att det är snöfritt även här är det barmark
    7 gr c. God fortsättning på 2012.

  5. Hej Johannes!
    Tack för ditt kommentar. Tyvärr har vi det alldeles för vill inte ens dricka glögg...
    Idag har vi lite mer vinteraktigt, just nu har vi -3 grader, och ikväll ser vi fram emot åtskilliga minus grader. Dags att tänka på glögg.
    God fortsättning på 2012.

  6. Baydog: I was in the USCG from July of 1971 to July of 1975. I was at Yorktown during the summer of '72. After getting out of engineman school I got orders to a 378 (the Cutter Sherman) then based out of Boston, Mass. I stayed up there for the rest of my enlistment. Sorry, I don't recall Bob Armstrong. Was he an instructor at Yorktown?