Friday, July 17, 2009

500 stairs

After I last posted I started to walk because it wasn't yet raining,
and there certainly is a lot to see. I dropped off bags at the
station so I was not carting around the full 10 kg. I went to the
Wellington arch and buckingham palace, I watched 2 sentries change,
and then wandered in the park near by. There was a wide variety of
waterfowl there, from Canada geese to regular geese, from ducks and
ducklings to gigantic pelicans. One pelican stood as high as my
elbow, and stood still for people to pat it.

I walked to picadilly circus then to trafalgar square, then to st
Paul's cathedral. The walking started at noon and I was at st paul's
by 3:30. Since evensong starts at 5:00, they close the dome lookout at
4:15 to allow people to exit by 4:30.

There were stairs to get to the whispering gallery, the inside walking
space in the dome, and more stairs to get to an outer walk about, and
even more stairs to get to the highest lookout site. There seriously
were close to 500 stairs. Some had no rails, some had low ceilings,
shiny from being polished by all who accidentally rub their head on
the ceiling. Some stairs were a metal grid that let you see right
down to the bottom. They were all spirals and made me feel a bit woozy
from walking in circles and also being so high up.

After climbing down, I explored the crypt, much more polished than the
st. G's crypt, and on a much grander scale. Then it was 4:30 and
evensong was starting. The place really cleared out when it was
announced that church would be starting soon. Since we had paid to get
in we were first in line to sit in the quire. There are 2 sets of
choir stalls, one for the choir, and one beside it for the congregation.

The boys have a vacation from daily evensong for the summer, so it was
the mens choir singing tonight. There were 12 of them, and they sang
in 6 part harmony. The countertenors ( men who sing high) were
amazing. Actually the whole group was great. Even the priest sang
well! There was no organ or hymns, but no sermon either. I'm amazed
at the length of the echo that exists there.

After st Paul's I got a sandwich and walked down to the Southwark
bridge which is where the riverside walkway is. I followed that back
toward Westminster. It started to rain on that leg of my journey so I
walked under trees, but eventually settled on getting soaked but
seeing what I came to see. I got groceries for supper/breakfast then
retrieved my baggage from the station and learned how to use the
underground. I got out to Heathrow, and to my hotel by 10 pm. I ate
and showered and did laundry in the sink, and now I am not tired... Or
I don't realize yet how tired I am.

Tomorrow I might explore around the hotel before going to the airport,
if jet lag doesn't get me first.

Next post will most likely be from Jordan, with Clare.

Sent from my iPod

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