A little sleepin due to a very big day on tour yesterday....no workable internet...so I headed off into the deceptive sunshine to be belted by a viciously cold wind....Well guarded, I caught the train to St Paul's Station and walked the short distance to the Cathedral itself. Yet again, I was overawed by the enormity and construction of the building, its exquisite artwork, and the fact that, like Westminster Abbey, St Paul's was not just a religious and architectural landmark, it was a busy working church. I accessed an audio tour and made my way through the Cathedral Floor which included the Nave, Quire, High Altar and an amazing view of the intricate mosaics depicting a variety of Biblical scenes...then... there it was.....beckoning me... Inside The Dome, 257 steps up from the Cathedral Floor, is the Whispering Gallery. Supposedly a whiper spoken against one wall of the Gallery can be heard 32 metres away on the other side of the Dome....The exhuberant youths from many visiting schools were testing this fact and, as you can imagine ....it was impossible to tell whether it holds true!....
I did defy the rules very discreetly, and snapped a few quick pics from my hip, (videos, mobile phones and cameras prohibited inside the Church!!) of the Great Dome and my view down into the Cathedral...I couldn't resist the need to record my presence in this enthralling encounter.
Another 119 steps up a narrow, winding staircase, is the Stone Gallery and a further 152 steps...(yes, I counted them all just to make sure!) is the Golden Gallery...By the time I reached the top, I didn't know whether my legs were trembling from the strenuous climb or whether I was reacting to the sheer beauty and incredibility of being there at the very top... witness to the spectacular panoramic views across London.....Awesome....and perfect timing because within minutes, the skies had opened up and we scurried back into the warmth to wind our way, slowly and carefully, down to the level beneath the ground known as The Crypt....the Cathedral's burial chamber which holds the tombs and memorials of many important figures from British history including Sir Christopher Wren, St Paul's creator.
Before exploring The Crypt, I rewarded my depleting self with a nourishing lunch of hearty soup and wholesome bread from the Cathedral's cafe. It was a perfect way to reflect on what I had just experienced and to spend some time soaking up the ambience and doing a spot of people watching...!!
In indecision, I messaged Evie....on the other side of the world in Geelong...hopeful she was still awake (..and she was...trying madly to finish her "Y-Worry Rag" account for the month of April so that our BIL wouldn't growl at her!!) and asked her which live theatre production I should go to....Her choice was Chicago...so Chicago it was!!! I made my way to Leicester Square, where many famous people have an imprint of their hands on plaques embeded in the footpath... and bought a half price ticket ....yes....half price.....for the live show 8pm that night!! I was so excited...and if you have a really close look at the ticket you will see that my seat was AA14.....in the.VERY FRONT row and the seat was badged with my favorite number....It was a very good sign!
Having already purchased my ticket to the London Eye I made my way there via Trafalgar Square. As there are elections being held this week, the Square was filled with a large, passionate group of young people supporting 'Nick', had gathered and were making their views heard by all who passed by. My Eye ticket treated me to a 3D presentation of what inspired its creation...'to be able to fly like a bird' and informed us that it was one of a number of projects built to commemorate the coming of the third millennium. It took its first passengers in the year 2000. I was ushered on board very quickly and treated to another spectacular panoramic view of London. Tucked up in the warm glass capsule of the observation wheel, 135 metres above the hustle and bustle of London in the throes of a Bank public holiday, I was able to identify the many landmarks I had visited or strolled past during my short exciting stay.
I took a brisk walk across the footbridge to the Southbank side of The Thames where I settled in to a little riverside winebar/cafe Gemma had been to, called Giraffe. Antipasto brushetta and a couple of vinos were sufficient to warm and mellow me.... so I sat....reflecting once again...loving the warmth and the buzz of this very popular spot....until the time came when I had to extract myself from this comfortable cocoon.... WOW was I abruptly and rudely brought back to the VERY REAL London weather!! My map showed a brief walk to the Tube station however I was fraught with Fransense at a very bad time....there were too many streets...not enough signs...or, ones that pointed the wrong way...limited poeple to ask directions.....and a biting, bitter wind of the intensity I could hardly bare.....I knew instinctively that all my digits had turned yellow/white and that if I didn't find Waterloo Station QUICKLY.....they would start to break off...one by one...!!! (As I sit here writing this I can almost see my fingers going yellow at the memory of that 10 - 15 minutes of time...which felt more like an hour of confusion and numbness.....trying to get to Waterloo Station!)
It wasn't just a regular Tube Station...oh no!....it presented almost like a city when I eventually found my way inside. However, it was warm and the power walking I did helped thaw me and distract me from the fact that time was running short and I still didn't really know where the Cambridge Theatre was (somewhere between Leicester Square and Covent Garden Stations) I battened down all hatches to keep the wind out and frantically asked everyone who looked like a Londoner, for directions....On my arrival, a lovely Canadian couple ahead of me in the queue, asked me if I was alright....I briefly filled them in on my hour of challenges and consequently had them in fits of laughter....not at me but certainly with me...as I had calmed down simply by sharing with them. Armed with a well earned glass of Champagne...(Iwished you had been with me Evie or Mum....and I sipped on some of the bubbles for you, Lynnie!)...I spent the next 2 1/2 hours enthralled at the athleticism, choreography, skill, fun, frivolity-loving the spunky dancers... and the sheer pleasure of spending my last night in London being entertained by a Classical, Musical, Live, Theatrical, Classy Production!!