Churches, Churchill and the Queen
Trip Start May 06, 2008
29Trip End Jun 06, 2008
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Day 2 : 9th May 2008 (Friday) Churches, Churchill and the Queen
Bunga made breakfast this morning and although we meant to head out early, its not easy getting five people ready and out the door at a predetermined time. And we were still recovering from yesterday. Bunga was taking the tube with us and getting off one stop before to go see the doc and we had a direct line to St Paul's.
We entered St Pauls, paid the 10 quid each, walked into the nave and looked up at the awe-inspiring interior of the beautiful cathedral. This is the second largest dome after St Peter's in Rome. I sat on one of the benches, to reflect, just drinking in the atmosphere, the brilliance of the architecture, a thousand and more years of history, thinking Lady Di was married here. I made note of an inscription on the left that said "Through the gates of death we pass to our joyful resurrection ". Somehow that spoke to me. Ashok was shocked I was actually praying but I just like churches, much to Godwin's annoyance:) Once we were done admiring the cathedral floor, it was time to head upstairs. Yep, we thought it would be brilliant to climb the 259 steps up the dome to the Whispering Gallery. Sounded mysterious.
Next was the crypt, very interesting with all the tombs and sculptures and inscriptions. I like the one that said "It matters not how a man dies but how he lives." True. Then we visited the Cathedral shop and bought a few things to take home. We had spent the entire morning here, and it was time for food. The Crypt Cafe did nicely. After lunch we headed outside for more pictures. It was here that we spotted Godwin talking to two girls... Godwin and talking to strangers. And strangers who were girls! Sight to behold. I think they wanted their picture taken or something. We were amused.
Next stop, Westminster Abbey. We got off the tube and we were back in the Westminster area. Its hard not to take a good picture here... London in all her glory:) Then to the abbey. We got to use our 2for1 vouchers here. I love Gothic buildings and the abbey was very different from St Paul's. There is so much history housed within these walls. There were lots of chapels and tombs and memorials, my head was reeling with all the names of famous people like Mary, Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I, buried directly across from each other. How ironic considering their history. The chaotic crowds made it feel like a tourist attraction rather than a place of worship. St Paul's comparatively was much more solemn and had a quiet air of tranquility. My favourite areas were Henry VII's Lady Chapel and Poet's corner. Many of the great's of English literature are buried or commemorated here, some I hadn't even heard of. Lord Byron's said : "But there is that within me which shall tire. Torture and Time, and breathe when I expire." Dylan Thomas': "Time held me green and dying. Though I sang in my chains like the sea." It was interesting to note that The Tomb of the Unknown Warrior was the only tombstone that was not to be walked upon.
It wasn't in the least bit creepy to walk amongst so many tombs, in fact I felt incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to walk amongst the spirits of such revered historical figures and England's glorious past. Too bad there's no photography inside. From here we decided to try and make it to the Cabinet War Rooms before they closed for the day as it was getting late. We checked the map and decide to walk there, it wasn't too far from where we were. Of course Glynis had to pose for a picture next to a London telephone booth before we started to seriously march in the right direction. Again, our vouchers came in good use here and we took the self
It was lovely to finally get to Trafalgar Square, kick off my shoes, sit by a fountain, people watch, and of course take more pictures. The great square with Nelson's Column flanked by the four majestic brass lions made a good pit stop. After watching a few tourists (I assume) attempt to climb lions, Ashok thought he wanted a picture up there too. Once he was done, I thought what could be better than taking a picture sitting astride a mighty lion.
We then walked up past the National Gallery (I was hoping I would have time to visit later) to Covent Garden. I loved the atmosphere here, the air was just electric, a buzzing hive of energy with the people milling about and the streets performers. Everyone just seemed to gravitate towards this area. There were so many bars, restaurants, shops, it was amazing. We were exhausted though, it had been a really long day, so we took the tube back to our home away from home. It was nice to see Bunga and Sanjiv at the end of a long day in a strange city and recap our days activities over a nice dinner.
Steps walked: 17007