Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I've been everywhere man...

Day three in London proved to be just as amazing as day one and two. I got up bright and early again to get a good jump on my day. I wanted to get to St. Paul’s Cathedral before all the other tourists, so I jumped on an early metro which was more difficult than I imagined. It was packed full with people commuting to work. I think tomorrow morning I will just walk to my destination! Anyway, I got to St. Paul’s around 9, and there weren’t many people there so I took advantage of it. Pictures “weren’t allowed” so I don’t have many, but I spent a lot of time inside just taking in all it’s glory. It is an absolutely beautiful place – go if you ever find yourself in London!
St. Paul's Cathedral
Before I left I wanted to climb to the top of the dome… it’s been a tradition this semester so I thought I should keep it up. Not to mention the views were pretty cool to. 528 stairs later, I was at the top. It was pretty incredible. You could see forever even though it was cloudy. After spending some time up at the top, I worked my way down and headed to my next destination.
Made it to the top!
Westminster Abbey was calling my name. I went and was not quite as excited with the content of it like I was with St. Paul’s. It was beautiful, don’t get me wrong, but it was full of tombs you had to squeeze by… and when there are other tourists everywhere it gets a little nuts. I didn’t spend as much time here as I did at St. Paul’s, but it was a pretty beautiful place to be.
Westminster Abbey
Since I was at Westminster and by the pier already, I decided to take advantage of my pass for a boat tour down the Thames River. It was pretty cool to see everything from this perspective. It reminded me a lot of the Chicago boat tour I took a couple summers ago. We saw everything from the London Eye and Tower Bridge to Globe Theatre and the tallest building in Europe currently being built. It was pretty cool to see the transformation from the historical area with Parliament and Westminster Abbey to the modern business district we ended at. I really enjoyed the cruise.
Cool shot of the London Eye from the boat
I was feeling a bit famished so I made a stop for lunch – plenty of places to choose from at these big touristy areas – then headed to All Hallows Church. This is the oldest church in London… although it didn’t look like it. It definitely wasn’t as cool inside as the others I had seen that day. Don’t put this on your list of things to see if you only have a few days. It’s not really worth the trip – only to say you’ve been to the oldest church in London haha.
Right next to the church is the Tower of London, so this is where I went. I started walking with a guided tour, but then realized if I kept that up I would waste an hour just looking at things from the outside and listening to the guy talk… although he was pretty funny. So I grabbed a map and began exploring on my own; I like it better this way anyway! It was really cool, kind of like a giant stone city or playground you can explore. They have paths taking you in and out of towers and along the outer walls of the fortress, and along the way they showed different artifacts and what those particular towers were used for. Within the fortress was also an armory which was pretty cool to look at, but I think the best thing I saw at the Tower of London was the Crown Jewels. So… many… diamonds. Apparently they used to be kept at Westminster Abbey, but they kept getting stolen so they moved them here, and there is a guard outside of it like at Buckingham Palace!
Tower(s) of London
After the Tower of London I went to my next big destination – Tower Bridge of course! There is an exhibition my London Pass got me into that was pretty neat. You take a lift up to the walkways at the top of the bridge, watch a video about why it was built, walk across the walkways, watch a video about the construction of the bridge and even where the gears and everything are that run the bridge. I really enjoyed this stop.
Tower Bridge
As I was walking towards the metro stop I walked by city hall, which has gained the nickname “The Armadillo”… look at the picture and you’ll know why! I was able to go in and see a little bit of it, and it blew my mind. It was a very cool building, and it was a nice change to see this new modern work of art after seeing all the old historical buildings. Both are amazing of course, but it was a nice change of pace.
Coolest City Hall building you've ever seen right??
I hopped on the metro and headed towards the theater because guess what?? I got cheap tickets to see Wicked! I was so excited; I had heard all about this musical and was excited to finally see it for myself. It began at 7:30 and ended just before 10:30… it was so good that it didn’t feel like it was that long. I ended up sitting by a nice lady who started talking to me during intermission, and she found it pretty funny that I was from Kansas considering what we were watching. I just had to laugh along with her haha.
Cast from Wicked
After the musical and this long day full of walking, I was ready to be done for the day… ready to pass out again tonight! One more full day left here which is perfect for what I have left to see on my to-do list, then it’s off to Prague. It’s probably a good thing I will be going home in a week because I don’t think my legs could handle much more of this exploring I’ve been putting them through! But I am enjoying every minute of it!
Random shot of the day

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