I haven’t had the chance to write for a couple days, and that’s mainly ’cause I’ve been a bit worn out by all the things I’ve been trying to cram in. I just got home not too long ago from Birmingham, so while I’m up, I’ll fill you in.
On Friday, my friend Mandy and I went to St. Paul’s Cathedral. I’d been there the last time I was in London, but never got to go above the ground floor due to renovation/restoration. But it certainly felt like I was going in again for the first time (especially when I found out I had to pay 9 GBP. I definitely do NOT remember that part). Being the Baroque style of architecture, the craftsmanship is phenomenal and elaborate. The artwork is unbelievable. The whole place is ridiculous, but in a good way. It just boggles my mind whenever I see stuff like that, to think human beings are capable of such massive works of architectural art. And that’s the old stuff.
A couple things I learned about myself (or at least admitted once again):
(a) I am an out-of-shape loser. There are 530 little, tiny steps going up into the upper areas of the cathedral, and I got winded after about the halfway point. Meanwhile my friend – the runner – didn’t even break a sweat. Note to self: Resume cardio when I return to Toronto.
(b) The older I get, the more uneasy I am of heights. I’m not scared, per se. Otherwise I never would’ve said, “Let’s go up to the top!” The sections outside the actual building were fine. However, when we got to the Whispering Gallery up in the Dome and I looked waay up to all the artwork above, my stomach and my brain both said, “Oh, hell, no!” in unison, and I held on to that metal bar with at least one hand (and clutching my stuffed MEC bag with the other). Of course, Mandy – being the fearless runner friend she is, ducked in between the railing. Show-off.
Climbing the spiralling metal staircase to get up to the Golden Gallery, the uneasiness continued. I didn’t dare look down, and I didn’t even attempt to look up. Just straight ahead – or at least at Mandy’s feet as she ascended the steps ahead of me.
Once I was outside at the top, I was pretty much fine. I snapped a couple of pictures, took in the skyline, which is quite the sight. But I felt the slight vertigo return on the way down. And I specifically remember getting back down to the ground floor of St. Paul’s and feeling a slight wobble in my legs. That can’t be a good sign.
We also spent part of the afternoon in the Museum of London. Nope, not the British Museum. There’s an actual museum dedicated to the history of London, from prehistoric times onward. I can’t speak for my friend, but St. Paul’s tuckered me out, so we never made it past Roman times. Luckily the Museum was free.
Then we met up with Mandy’s friend from work and we had dinner at or near Kew Gardens. It was a cute little pub called the Rose and Crown. Definitely good food, and the building – like most in London – had a history behind it.
More a bit later …