“A day spent without the sight and sound of beauty, the contemplation of mystery, or the search of truth or perfection is a poverty-stricken day; and a succession of such days is fatal to human life.” ~Lewis Mumford
Well, yesterday we went to St. Paul's Cathedral, which was quite the experience. All of my pictures are either in front of it or on top of it because there is no photography inside of it, but you can use your imagination. We split up into 4 groups and got a personal tour, which was really fantastic. The lady was so cute and showed us all the things that I always find interesting--the history, the details, the cool gee-whiz facts, etc.
First we went down the "Harry Potter Stairs" below one of the clock towers; apparently this particular staircase is used in several movies, including Harry Potter and Sherlock Holmes. I'm going to have to go back and watch these films again so I can find it and say that I've been there. ;)
There were so many wonderful and interesting things there, but my favorite was the American Memorial Chapel down at the East end. During the Blitz a bomb fell through this east end of the cathedral, and when it was rebuilt Eisenhower and the Prime Minister and other important people decided to dedicate the chapel to the members of the US forces based in Britain who gave their lives during WWII. There are three stain-glass windows with a section for each of the 50 states--Utah's is a beehive. It surprised me to see how proud the British are of this little chapel; although generally we joke back and forth about Great Britain and the US and this sort of rivalry you might call it, in this case they have quite an admiration for the US.
After the tour we hiked up the the 576 stairs to reach the top of St. Paul's.
The first stop is 259 steps up the dome into what they call The Whispering Gallery. Somehow the acoustics here are super special and if you whisper against the wall you can here it on the other side of the dome. It sounds crazy, but it really does work. Another 100 or so steps to the Stone Gallery, which is where I was able to finally take a picture.
The last stretch was the worst, not because it was long or hard, but because the Golden Gallery--the very VERY top--it so tiny. If we were in America they would never let anyone up there, it violates so many public codes and regulations, it's slightly terrifying to be up there in my opinion. The Golden Gallery runs around the highest point of the outer dome, and it really does have a wonderful view. The day was clear enough that we could actually see the view too, we were extremely fortunate.
St. Paul's is probably my favorite place so far, most especially because it combines art, religion, and even America and the war--a few of my favorite things. ;) I believe we are going back in a few weeks for Beethoven's 9th, which should be very exciting! :)