A Days Workout at St Paul's Cathedral

19:00 Alyson Tart 2 Comments

It is the changing of the guards here in London. My friends and colleagues who I came to London to take over for are finally leaving. It's bittersweet - I am so happy for them to go home and be reunited with their loved ones and move on with their new lives. Selfishly, for myself, I am so sad to see them go. They have been great guides to the city, and friends showing me the way here in my new town.

In honor of their last weekend, we had a day filled with last minute bucket list items. We hit up Portobello Road and shared with them the buzz and a bit of hippy flavor of our neighborhood. Being the tour guides for once was fun, since they have showed us so much of London! Plus, I always leave Portobello Road a happy camper, having munched my way through all the food vendors possible.

Next - we tried something new, for both my friend, Paul and I. While I have passed by St. Paul outside several times, I had never made it inside.

Of course you would expect a theme park
right outside of historic church

As soon as you walk into the cathedral, your eyes are drawn upward. High ceilings, tall columns and at the peak of it all, beautiful mosaiced domes. In Turkey, we marvelled at Aya Sophia and Chora Church's mosaics; however, St. Paul's gives you a pristine example of what those churches probably looked like back in their prime. Despite being built in the 1700's, it looks just as it must have upon the day it was completed in 1711. Awe-inspiring, beautiful and still gold glistening in the light.

View looking down from the center of the church

Mosaics up close and personal
After taking in the whole of the cathedral, including the giant, ornate organ, came the hard part of the day. We wanted to check out the galleries in the dome of the cathedral which includes steps - lots and lots of steps. Luckily for us, they were broken up into a couple of different parts.

First was the Whispering Gallery - this is a famous gallery where legend has it you can whisper from one side of the dome and be heard on the other. I say legend because we weren't able to to experience it. With us, and about the 25 other tourists up there, it was impossible to witness the 'miracle' in action!

Next up, 115 steps or so later was the Stone Gallery - in addition to the 360 degree views of the city in this outdoor dome, there are some nice benches providing a respite from the climb.

The final 150 steps bring you to the very top of the dome to the Golden Gallery. While you have to fight (slightly scary) spiral staircases, tourist crowds slowing down your ascent, and a little bit of claustraphobic spaces in some places, the views are worth it. So breathtaking. All you can do is walk around the narrow circle and then head back down to allow others to soak in the view.

Panorama - the Thames, London Eye and more

View from the top

The Shard

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  1. We are looking forward to seeing all the sites with you when we come in the Sprint: David