This was kind of our last day doing tourist stuff in London. Tomorrow we’ll still be here, but we’ll be taking the train out to Cambridge.
But… for today: Our plan was to return to St. Paul’s Cathedral. The design and construction of this church took 40 years; it has the second largest dome in the world (the dome is lead covered wood and weighs 63,000 tons). Last year when we visited St. Paul’s the majesty was almost overwhelming. Photography is not allowed inside, so it gave us a chance to just sit and absorb. It’s a beautiful place.
Climbing to the top of the dome. Last year, while Patrick climbed to the top, Amber and I stopped at the first level of the climb – called the Whispering Gallery. Our plan this year was to go all the way – 528 steps up… and another 528 steps down. (For folks on the Centralia College campus, that means going up to the third floor of NSC *and* back down, about 10 times.)
And I can proudly say: WE MADE IT! However, the church was a madhouse. The steps up to the top open at 9:30 a.m. and we got there around 10:30. There were tourist groups EVERYWHERE. They seemed to be mostly teenage boys speaking German. It was pretty crazy. There were church personnel making sure only a certain number of people climbed up at any time. Even the very top was crowded. But like I said – we made it! I asked one of the employees at the top if she was going to be there all day and she replied “I don’t think so, I think I’m about to have a nervous breakdown.” Apparently all the young gentlemen were getting to her too. The climb to the top spiraled up and up and up and got more and more narrow the higher we went. We started on nice wide wooden steps but ended on narrow concrete steps and I had to bend over to get up the last few steps. We’d read notices about claustrophobia and I could see why. The view from the top was pretty neat, but the weather was not quite as perfect as it had been in 2010. The steps back down spiraled around and around again and I was actually getting a bit dizzy! By the time we got to the bottom my left knee was not happy and Amber’s feet were hurting. Of course, Patrick was ready to go for a jog.
So what did we do next? We bought lunch at the local Mark and Spencers and ate on the steps to St. Pauls. I had a large container of mixed fruit and some kind of “fusion” sushi. Stick with the normal sushi, folks.
Of course, since we were tired, we headed back to the British Museum to see if we could find the rest of the “100 objects” that we’d missed the day before. Of all the objects that were supposed to be on display, we found all but one. And even in the hall where “that one” was supposed to be, there was an empty display case – so we’re claiming that we found 100% of the find-able objects. Pretty cool.
We got back to our apartment around 3:00 and I got another veggie burger with fries. Heavy on the ketchup please. Amber’s got a little pepperoni pizza in the oven and even though it’s early, we’re done for the day. Whew. Where’s the Advil?