Sunday, September 24, 2006

UK Trip! Wed Aug 30/06

We're up to Wednesday!

J* and I learned our lesson from the previous day and got up much earlier so we could be in town quicker. We had decided this would be our day to hang out with personal friends while in London (as opposed to people we both knew) and give ourselves a break from each other. However, it turned out that J*'s friend couldn't come - cancelled at the last minute in fact, which was really annoying - so she and I went into London together to meet my friend R under Waterloo Bridge (where they were having a book sale, got a paperback copy of Mapp & Lucia, yay!) and the three of us decided to spend the day together.

First we went to the Tate Modern. Interesting. They have something at the entrance, 'living bridge' or something like that, which is supposed to make you feel like you're on a real bridge. Um, there's a real bridge right outside, why not do that? Anyway, we wandered around there for a while, then across the Millennium Bridge to St Paul's Cathedral. The view from the bridge is interesting, since there's scaffolding all over the side of St Paul's right now so they've put up a tarp with a picture of St Paul's on it. Hrm.

So yes, St Paul's Cathedral. They don't let you take pictures in there, which is very annoying as it was absolutely breathtaking. It's one thing to paint in proper dimensions/trompe l'oeil on a flat canvas that you'll view from one perspective, it's another thing entirely to paint on a curved ceiling that is viewed from all over and still achieve that realism, really awe-inspiring. We wandered and sat for a while, then we climbed. 540 steps. I'm so proud of myself for doing that! I only had to stop a couple of times on the way up for a little breather. There are three levels, one is inside and the other two are outside, so I took pix from the outside stops. Very nice view - about as good as we would have had from the London Eye, but more fulfilling.

Okay, from there we walked along High Holborn/New Oxford (I think), past the courts, towards the National Gallery and Nelson's Column, and then over to St James Park, through to Green Park past Buckingham Palace, did some shopping at the BBC Shop (ooh, three seasons of Alexei Sayle's Stuff!) then out to Picadilly... and by this time we were getting pretty hungry, so we found a nice restaurant to sit in and relax with a really nice meal.

After dinner we walked back towards Waterloo Station - J* was going to go back to DK's house to let R and I have some time together, bless her - she didn't have to do that of course, we were all having a fantastic day together. So, of course, I broke out in hives. Gah. Every time I'm having a day that just seems perfect, something like that has to happen. But it's okay, J*'s seen it happen enough times that it doesn't freak her out, and it turns out R gets hives too so he was very calm about everything. We got J* on the train, I went into the washroom to splash water on myself and cool off, and R and I went outside and sat on a bench by the Thames for an hour or so, chatting and relaxing until I had to go back. That was really nice.

When I got back I realized that I was feeling slimmer in the waist - I think all the walking made me lose weight!

And, of course, some pictures of this fabulous day can be found on my Flickr page...

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