23 April 2013
Today was a really busy but really fun day. First we stopped at St Paul's cathedral. It was breathtakingly beautiful and the views from the top of the tower were absolutely amazing although the trip up was quite difficult! The best part about the cathedral was the whispering gallery. Tom, Jim and I had a conversation on opposite sides of the gallery by whispering into the walls! Next the group headed to the Tate museum where we were given free time to explore the 3 levels of art. Nikita and I finished early so we bought an emporium from the gift shop and assembled it in the cafe seating area. The ended at the historic Tower of London where we again were given some free time to explore on our own. It was here that I had the best panini I've ever eaten, a Brie, tomato and basil panini! I also enjoyed the large metal dragon in the white tower. (Personally I think it belonged in the museum more than some of the pieces actually featured in the exhibits!)
My favorite stop of the day was Saint Paul's Cathedral. It was the most beautiful building I had ever seen. Although the two hour drive probably helped. My first stop was the whispering gallery which was 230 steps up. Contradictory to what you would usually do, you had to whisper to get someone's attention from far away. If you spoke normally only the person next to you would hear you, but if you whispered everyone on the whispering gallery could hear you. In the basement there were many famous people buried there. To get through the exhibit you had to step over many graves. I was a little afraid that I would pick up a ghost who was upset that I didn't properly respect his grave but then I thought "that would make a great souvenir!". Who else do you know that has an English spirit haunting them? Not to mention, it would be free!
Stepping into St Paul's Cathedral from the world outside is a bit like stepping back in time. The spiral staircases, leading to the Whispering Gallery and the dome balconies, unseen in any sensible modern structure, like practically every ancient religious building we have visited thus far in England, were extremely taxing on our already weakened legs, and the ornate mosaics and high, vaulted ceilings called to mind those found in Rome or Istanbul.
The mosaics and the massive painted dome of the nave, speaking of, were breathtaking, as was the columned High Alter - the whole cathedral, really, was simply dazzling. The amount of craftsmanship and dedication put into it was stunning, and the architects did an absolutely magnificent job - every bit of the building, inside and out, was full of intricate detail and splendor. Truly, there are not words for the sheer perfection of St Paul's.
The Tower was alright but I really wanted to see the Crown Jewels - we decided that there wasn't time to brave the lines and instead saw some impressive armor, mostly belonging to King Henry VIII. It was a lovely day nevertheless, though I may need to cut off my feet as they hurt so much...
- Hannah Dukerschein
Sent from my iPad