Monday, July 29, 2013

England {day 7}

Our last full day in England started out with a wonderful visit to St. Paul's Cathedral.
that's me way down on the bottom
I LOVED St. Paul's. My favorite church we saw in London, hands down. We couldn't take pictures inside, but if you haven't been there, just trust me that it is breathtakingly beautiful. Really just stunning. The vibrant color of the ceiling mosaics and the vastness of the dome particularly impressed me. Unlike Westminster, where you cannot walk without stepping on graves, St. Paul's has a separate crypt in the lower level. I so wish we could have taken pictures there because the two biggest tombs are the Duke of Wellington's and Horatio Nelson's, and a picture of Thomas with either of them would have been priceless. After our visit to the crypt, we climbed the dome. Thomas is extremely afraid of heights and I told him he did not have to go with me, but he decided to do it anyway. There are three levels to which you can climb, and we did all of them. St. Paul's website shows just how high we went. The first level, The Whispering Gallery, is inside so we have no pictures of that, but the other two levels were outside. The second level, The Stone Gallery, has tall enough and thick enough barriers that Thomas was fine there.
beautiful views of London
The Golden Gallery, the very highest level, had no such barriers, just a much smaller fence and an extremely narrow walkway around the dome. Thomas was terrified out of his wits (I was a little scared too, but compared to Thomas, it is barely worth mentioning).
Poor Thomas. I told him he didn't have to come.
and a view from the very top.
 I wish we could have taken a guided tour of St. Paul's, but we got there at the wrong time for that. Otherwise it was an entirely successful visit. Our next plans, however, were decidedly unsuccessful. I spent a ton of time at home before we left planning each day of our trip, everywhere we wanted to go and everything we wanted to see so nothing would be left out. Up until this point, we had followed it almost exactly. After St. Paul's we were supposed to go on an Oscar Wilde walking tour, but we lingered at the cathedral too long and didn't make it in time. So that was too bad, but not a huge deal. The next item on our agenda was a tour of Parliament, so we went straight there instead, only to discover that they had already sold all the tickets for the day. When researching for the trip, I had seen no information anywhere that suggested they only had a limited number of tickets. I was SUPER bummed, especially because they only give tours on Saturdays so there was no way we could try and go the next day before our train left or anything.
Thomas outside Parliament just before getting our bad news
So that is definitely on the list of things to do next time. Instead, we ended up going to Abbey Road to take a picture of me crossing the street.
Recently I had a conversation with someone who had never heard of Abbey Road, so just in case anyone else is similarly ignorant, Abbey Road is the name of a Beatles album, and on the cover there is a very famous picture of them crossing the street there. This picture, in fact:
And here I am, crossing the very same street:
There's no stop sign or stoplight or anything here, so it took quite a while to get a break in traffic AND a picture with no one else crossing the street.
me in front of Abbey Road Studios
Then we went to the British Museum. Thomas definitely could have spent an entire week just in this museum.
the Mausoleum of Halikarnassos exhibit
Thomas and the Rosetta Stone
the Lewis Chessmen
That evening, we had dinner with Kevin, the one other PhD student in the world who is also studying the County of Tripoli. Thomas met him through some academic website. Kevin goes to Oxford but was out of town the day we were there so he met up with us in London instead. We had some yummy Chinese food while they talked and I offered nothing whatsoever to the conversation. He seemed very nice, and it was great that they finally got to meet.

We spent the rest of the night relaxing in our flat and resting our extremely tired feet. We ate snacks and watched TV and enjoyed being together just the two of us for one last night.

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