Yes, you've guessed it, I've done it yet again! Cathedral climbing seems to be a new thing in my life and I didn't realise just how
painful fun it can be! For those who follow me on Instagram (a new toy for me), you will know that the train tickets were ordered and I was counting down the hours for when we would hop on the train back to my home town. So, you know the drill - cup of tea and a McVities chocolate digestive in hand and let me take you on another journey to old London town.
The iconic dome of St Paul's Cathedral is so beautiful and can be seen from all over the City. I have visited it so many times, but the highest I've ever been is to the Whispering Gallery and that was when I was about ten years old! So, feeling brave with my two teens and their friend, we started our ascent! Photos are not allowed inside the Cathedral so I will have to describe our experience. The first climb is along very shallow, wide, windy stairs taking you up to the gallery. These were more modern than expected and never ending - no rest breaks here! These take you 30 metres up (257 steps!). The first thing you have to do is sit at the side to get your breath and then listen to messages being said from the other side of the dome. These were a little confusing as there were so many! But to be a little closer to the dome's ceiling brought so many happy memories back to me.
Then a little door invited us to go to the next level. This time the stairs were narrower and stone - another 119 steps taking us to 53 metres from the Cathedral floor! This time we could go out onto the balcony and look at the City from this height (and take photos!!). Here we could see the Millennium Bridge leading us to the Tate Modern with the Strata Tower (the Razor) in the distance.
Moving around you can't miss the London Eye as the Thames bends round to Westminster from Charing Cross Station.
And then the newer buildings gradually popping up with the Isle of Dogs in the distance, Canary Wharf and Greenwich (regular readers will know Greenwich as my 'happy' place). There's the 'Cheesegrater', the 'Walkie Talkie', the 'Guerkin'. So many nicknames!!
With water consumed and legs beginning to feel every movement, we took the plunge and decided to climb the last set of stairs to the top! 152 more steps to climb making us 85 metres from the Cathedral floor. Want to see?...
You can just make out the spiral staircase that we had climbed. It hurt! I mean really hurt!! But there was one photo I just had to take. So many photos are taken of the Cathedral looking up with it's two towers and then the central dome, but I wanted this shot...
By now we were in pain but this view down the dome to the west front with the tiny London red buses was worth it!! Another climb, another Cathedral!
After more refreshments, we made our descent, slowly, painfully, but we got back down to the ground and made our way towards the Millennium Bridge. Near to the Bridge and looking back towards the Cathedral you come across the National Fire Fighters Memorial. This was originally depicting the fire personnel during the Second World War but is now a memorial to all fire fighters.
Ok, are you still with me? Let's take a walk over the Millennium Bridge.
This shot was taken from the South Bank looking back at St Paul's. The bridge is full of wonderful sights but my favourite part is when you see the city etched on the side to give you some idea of what you are seeing.
Both up and down the river.
There are artists on the bridge too. This one I could have spoken to for hours! His art is to paint on blots on the landscape... namely chewing gum left on the floor. Ben Wilson is a bit of a celebrity and the link here is really worth a read as to why he does this. As he paints the chewing gum, he is not defacing the bridge, and his work is so intricate and so much better to look at than the faceless, awful gum that is left behind. As we walked along, we could see more and more of his work (the photo has an overlay of a close up of what he was currently working on).
On the other side we took a quick look at the Globe Theatre...
... and the Tate Modern.
On we went to the South Bank to take in some of the vibrancy of this great place. Wherever you look there is something to see. The suited man after a paddle in the Thames...
The smoking trumpeter, yes when he played there was smoke coming out!
The happy juggler!
The pink double decker bus selling frozen yoghurt!
Such a wonderful, colourful place and great for teenagers!!
But here was the main reason why we had come to the South Bank. Miss Teen loves street art and wanted to see the skate park and the graffiti tunnel. Unfortunately we couldn't find the tunnel but we found the skate park! (the first shot was taken by Miss Teen - she loved this place!)
So, we started to head home, albeit slowly with the amount of walking and climbing we had done. How I wish we could have jumped on this boat!
A pit stop at Green Park was needed, an ice cream while sitting on a bench.
And then a visit to the Palace...
I think the Police Woman was telling a joke and the Soldier just wasn't getting it...
I love the little details that surround Buckingham Place.
And of course, lanterns! I love lanterns!!
The Mall with it's red tarmac looked pretty empty compared with the crowds that were surrounding this place.
With Queen Victoria looking out across London.
So, after a very long and tiring day, it was time to turn our back on my home town.
We will be back soon to follow the dolphin lamps.
And so, as I sit here (unable to stand up!), I do hope you have enjoyed your painless trip along this little part of the River Thames.
Have a wonderful weekend and week.
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