Day Thirty One

London Travel Blog

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St. Paul's

I've officially been here one month. Feels like one thousand months. Seriously, sometimes I think the clock is going backwards. Each day I add Day X as the title of my entry and I can't believe that's all the time I've been here. How am I not up to Day Five Hundred yet?

But at the same time I feel like I'm running out of a time. I'm making a very detailed calendar for the next two weeks to ensure I do everything I want to do, and I'm worried I'm not going to pack everything in. So how can I feel like time is going so slowly... yet I'm also running out of it? It doesn't make sense. But that's life.

So today my stupid, stupid alarm was set but didn't go off at 5:00AM like it was supposed to so I could wish my most favoritest person in the whole wide world happy birthday.

St. Paul's
:( I'm an awful girlfriend. However, by some miracle, I literally rose from this dead deep, deep sleep and shot out of bed. It was 6:00AM and I can't really explain how my body knew to wake up, but it just did. So I may have been an hour late for the east coast midnight phone call, but at least I made the 1:00AM phone call.

We talked for an hour and 15 minutes and I almost decided to just stay up and start my day, but I just couldn't. My eyelids were very heavy. So after we hung up I went back to sleep for an hour and a half or so and then started my day. I'm still really, really exhausted though... I have been yawning all day. (But I don't mind cuz I started my day talking to my babay) Unfortunately for me, though, I haven't really started my Arts review yet and it's due tomorrow.

St. Paul's
So I'm pretty sure I'm not going to catch up on sleep tonight either. Oh well, I didn't come here to sleep. I can do plenty of that on the beach.

So this morning I went over to St. Paul's which is actually pretty close to my dorm. Maybe a 15 minute walk. It was absolutely stunning, possibly more so than Westminster Abbey. I decided to do the audio tour this time around and it was pretty good. Although parts of it were kinda religious, especially the introduction about hoping you're in God's hands in your journey or something. Um, thanks but no thanks... I'm here for the beautiful architecture and history, and that is it. Don't preach to the never-converted.

It was absolutely beautiful, but again no photos allowed. I just sat and stared for a while, thinking how long it must have taken to build and how detailed every inch of the cathedral was.

St. Paul's
For example, the entire ceiling of the dome is in beautiful mosiac, which glitters in the light. It was absolutely stunning. I think they said it took 6 years to do... and I believe it. I just can't imagine working on that for seven years (although I have worked on painting for like a year.) They must have worked on teeny tiny sections every day for years and years. It take so much dedication.

After spending a loooong time in the main floor of the cathedral I decided to trek up to top of the dome. Wow. Wow. Wow. If you have claustrophobia and want to overcome it, take a trip up those stairs. Not only were they steep they were NARROW. I would say two feet across maybe. Possibly less. And there were A LOT of then. It's 365 feet up (for the days in the year) and I think something like 400 steps in all? I'm gonna be feeling it in my legs tomorrow.

St. Paul's
..

But anyway there were three different uppper levels, so at least I didn't have to do all the stairs at once. The first level was the Whispering Gallery which is inside the cathedral, inside the dome. It's called the Whispering Gallery because the dome is so perfectly circular if you say something softly at one end of the dome you can hear it at the other end. And it works, too.

After that, there was an outdoor section around the dome. You can see it in the closeup picture of the cathedral. Below the dark portion of the dome there is small section with railing--that's it. There was an amazing view up there, but it was obstructed because of the railing. But it was nice and windy and a good place to catch my breath. Then more steps to the final part at the top of the dome.

St. Paul's
I think it's the section above the dome, you can see a small little teeny railing. That area was really, really, really small. Maybe three feet wide. You could barely pass by another person it was so narrow. Despite the claustrophobia (I don't have claustrophobia, and even I was beginning to feel it a bit being up so high, so close to strangers) it was amazing. You could see the city--Millennium Bridge, London Eye. A clear shot all around. It probably would have been even more beautiful if it were sunny and you could see father. But regardless, it was absolutely amazing and I definitely recommend going up there if you can muster the strength to conquer all those narrow stairs.
Some of the many steps

Then, I went downstairs to the crypt. Which, like Westminster Abbey, was kinda creepy because it was basically a beautifully decorated graveyard. It wasn't as impressive as the upstairs because it wasn't as colorful or visually stimulating, but there were still some nice monuments and such. I think at that point I had spent so much time at the cathedral that I was ready to go... so I didn't really listen to the commentary as much.

All in all... definitely reccommend taking a visit. Unlike some of my recent trips, this was definitely not lame. I know I'm gushing, but the building itself is just beautiful that you can spend hours just in awe looking all over the place. Besides the tiles, and the detailed carvings on the walls, there were also beautiful monuments/statues around the cathedral, too.

View from the top of St. Paul's
Seriously, everywhere you looked there was just something different to look at it. The whole place was a work of art. There was just so so much. Maybe my paranoia is just setting in, but I feel like I didn't absorb it all... even though I spent well over three hours there. It doesn't matter, though, I don't have time to go back even if I wanted to. Still so much left to do and see.

When I was done with St. Paul's it was a lot later than I expected so I kinda altered my plans a bit. I walked over to the Museum of London, maybe 15 minutes or so away. It's in the heart of the City, London's version of Wall Street. Very corporate feel--lots of offices and suits on their lunch breaks. I really felt like a tourist because every single other person I saw knew exactly where he/she was going.

View from the top of St. Paul's

The Museum was eh. It was basically the history of London... talked about the city in ancient times, Roman times, medieval times, etc. Lots of old artifacts (pots, bones, spears, etc) and history lessons. Skimmed over most of it cuz it was booooring. They did have some interactive games so since I'm 7 years old I obviously checked those out.

A couple things were interesting... over time, the path of the Thames changed with global temperatures. Like the river had a completely different shape when it first formed. Weird! Also a big exhibit about the Great Fire. With all the homes that were destroyed, only ten deaths were reported. I thought that was pretty amazing... in a massive five-day blaze that ruined a huge percentage of the city, only ten people died? Seems hard to believe.

View from the top of St. Paul's
However, only ten people may have died in the actual fire, but a lot of people died as a result of the fire (because they were homeless, diseased, etc). Other than that, I kinda breezed through the stuff, looking at everything but not reading about much.

After that I headed over to the Bank of England Museum. I got to put my 20 pound note under an UV light, which was kiiinda awesome. All these holograms, watermarks and hidden threads/numbers. It's amazing to think how complex the bills. And you gotta give props to people who produce counterfeit money. You gotta be pretty talented to accurately imitate such detailed bills.

I then watched this video about how to check and make sure you don't received a counterfeit note. It was kinda uninentionally funny because nobody really looks at all those details everytime they receive a bill, but it was interesting to see all things I should be looking out for.

View from the top of St. Paul's
And there's a lot of them.

Other than that... some info on how they make the bills, history of the bank, and exhibits of old currency. Kinda breezed through that museum as well, but I'm glad I went because that UV thing was awesome. I should buy a UV machine so I can do that anytime I want. Actually that would be really fun.

Then I was thinking about walking around on Fleet Street and The Strand a little bit, but it was kinda late at that point and I knew I had my paper to write. (Meanwhile it's 8:30 and I haven't started yet. :/) I guess I'll leave Fleet Street/The Strand for Wednesday since I'll be seeing Dirty Dancing (!!!) and the theatre is right in that area. I'll just walk around a bit before the show and grab a bite to eat.

So...

View from the top of St. Paul's
I think that pretty much sums up my day. I would do a little shpeel about some random London thing I've noticed, but I really should get started on that paper. So that's all for now.

P.S. Happy, happy, happy, happy, happy birthday. I wish I were with you. But we'll be togetha in exactly three weeks from now. I LOVE YOU!!!

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St. Pauls
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Some of the many steps
Some of the many steps
View from the top of St. Pauls
View from the top of St. Paul's
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Self portrait on top of St. Pauls
Self portrait on top of St. Paul's
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photo by: ulysses