After a packed first day in London, the second was mostly about God (Christian flavored) The highlight of the day was St. Paul’s Cathedral. A cathedral has been standing at the site, in one form or another, since 604 AD. The current building has been there since 1710. So it’s old, in other words.
There is no way to do this building justice, even with pictures. To the left is a picture of the Quire, which is where services are conducted. I haven’t been to the Vatican yet, which I imagine is on a much grander scale, but this was incredible. The ceilings are hundreds of feet high but covered in intricate murals, and every inch of the walls, columns and floor contains some kind of design.
Once you get over the incredible sights on the floor, it’s time to climb. First, there are 257 fairly wide steps up to the whispering gallery. This is a large open circle that overlooks the cathedral floor. Since it’s at the base of a dome, the acoustics let you be heard from anywhere.
From there things got really cool. There’s a tiny hidden door to enter and then stairs that go straight up – literally the next few steps are almost at eye level. This eventually leads to the Stone Gallery – which is back on the outside of the cathedral (you can see the railing in the diagram above). From here you have a great unobstructed view of the city, but why stop?
Another ~120 steps on a tiny metal spiral staircase puts you at the very top of the dome (the Golden Gallery), from which you can see all of London. Me being me, I figured that I would drop one of my cameras over the railing, but I managed to capture everything unscathed (pic on the left).
The Cathedral has an awesome website and you can even see a 360 degree tour of every major area. I definitely recommend checking it out here.
The other God stop on Friday was the Temple Church. This is actually a giant compound, but the church itself was the one featured in The Da Vinci Code. From a tour perspective it was somewhat underwhelming, since it is just one big room and you don’t have access to some of the other areas and some of the underground chambers. That said, it was still cool to see, and a very interesting building. Other than the Knight statues, the two coolest things were the giant stained glass window and organist suspended on the wall.
After both churches, we walked over the Millennium Bridge over to the Globe Theater, which houses a Shakespeare Museum. Wasn’t interested in the tour but it was interesting to see the building.
As a thank you to everyone who got me to London, I cooked a big steak dinner on Friday night. We stayed up late playing Scrabble. It was wild…and I even learned that lazing is a word.
Click here to go to Day 3