Monday, July 28, 2008

London in the Morning: St. Paul's Cathedral

The next morning I jumped out of bed ready to explore. This was to be our only full day in London, and I wanted to make the most of it. My primary target was St. Paul's Cathedral. I had missed going to it during my last trip to the city and was determined to get a glimpse of its famous dome. I was also inspired by my reading of Brunelleschi's Dome to see as many of the great dome's as I could on my trip.

Since we had a guided sightseeing that afternoon, I made sure to get to the cathedral right as it opened. What I didn't know is that the entrance to the dome opened an hour after the cathedral proper, but killing time in a cathedral as large and historically significant as St. Paul's is no problem at all!

I really enjoyed meandering around the nooks and crannies of the nave and the crypt as there were many tombs and memorials to historical figures that I am quite familiar with. Everybody knows Aurthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington and Lord Nelson, both of whom are buried in the crypt, but who knows the name Cuthbert Collingwood, Nelson's second in command at the Battle of Trafalgar? There were also a host of Majors and Generals from the Napoleonic wars that I recognized from my reading of the Sharpe series of historical novels.

When the viewing gallery finally opened, I started the long, long climb to the very top. While it was a great many stairs indeed, the views of London were more than worth it. The Thames, the Tate, Tower Bridge, The London Eye, every landmark of the city and then some was laid out before me. The vista really took my breath away, as cliche as that sounds. I kinda kicked myself for not coming the last time I'd been in London, but better late than never.

This is the only picture I could sneak of the inside of the cathedral and dome, they didn't allow photography inside, to my dismay.

While this is a pretty nice panorama, as always it just doesn't fully capture the reality, but then what photograph does?

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