I was on day two in the same clothes and was starting to feel a little sick to my stomach.
Like I mentioned in my post about getting there, I did get some sleep on the overnight flight but it wasn't quality rest. A cold sweaty fatigue was setting in.
We took the DLR- Docklands Light Rail - to our hotel and quickly slipped into a nice deep sleep nap for a couple hours.
--As a side note, I was a little disappointed at first when I heard the location of the hotel. Plans had changed a bit for work and it ended up being farther out than the more central hotel we had previously booked. It ended up giving me a broader picture of greater London, though.
As a "Call the Midwife" fan, I was happy to see the Poplar train stop and see first-hand how the area had been redeveloped.--
Back on the train and 20 minutes later we were at St. Paul's Cathedral.
The present church dates back to the late 17th Century and is dedicated to the Apostle Paul, as was the original church founded on this site in AD 604.
Six - Zero - Four, people. Just three numbers.
Man this city is old.
**I never got a great shot of the exterior, so here's one I'm borrowing from the internet.**
The church was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, the renowned architect who painted London's skyline with spires from the dozens of churches and buildings he designed and rebuilt.
**Photography indoors was not allowed so both of the following photos were borrowed as well.**
Maybe you recognize this from watching Princess Diana and Prince Charles' wedding?
Funeral services for Lord Nelson and Winston Churchill were also held here.
We climbed 4,263 (ok not really) spiraling steps into the dome but the view was worth it. (Again, not our view per se but cameras were a no-no.)
St. Paul's cathedral was not draped in darkening stained glass but instead was bright and light. The science of the architecture during the Age of Enlightenment was beautifully reflected in the columns and arches. A couple hundred years after the cathedral was built, Queen Victoria, who wasn't a fan of Wren and preferred a more ornate style, requested some gold and stained glass. So one wing is pretty blingy, you could say.
After we descended all the way to the crypt -- a large floor that included the tomb of London's naval hero Sir Nelson, we decided to climb more steps. This time they were on the outside of the dome.
100% WORTH IT.
The time for tours ended so we decided to have dinner and then come back for the evensong service in the cathedral.
We had a delightful meal at Strada, an Italian restaurant right across the road. Our wine, a salice, was a refreshing discovery and service was excellent.
After staying a while for the boys choir and evensong service, we started back toward the train and enjoyed our surroundings.
Check out the names of these establishments:
We walked along the Thames toward the Tower Bridge so we could get more up close and personal with it. The view that morning from the Tower of London was great, but there was more to see.
The blue is killing me.
Like the blue doors in the Tower, the blue beams of the bridge were such an joyful surprise.
Look at the archway! This is the architectural equivalent of polka-dotted underpants under a sophisticated dress.
"I see London, I see France. I see Bridgie's underpants!"
(I miiight have stayed up a little too late writing this post...)
Even this humble fishing boat was painted in the happy blue. (Carolina blue? Nah...)
After over 10 miles on our feet, Day One of our Anniversary Trip to London came to a close.
I know I didn't do it justice, but some things in life just aren't meant to described.
Experiencing London is an event in life that I know I'm fortunate to have had, though, so I want to bring everyone along with me as I go back on this trip in my memory.