After our Cape Town adventures, Feller and I headed off to London for about two weeks for some business related stuff. Not MY business, obviously, since I was still an unrepentant bum at this point and happy to just enjoy London with no agenda or any real plan. Which was great, but also meant that I didn’t DO very much. There were quite a few days of snoozing and drinking and not doing much else, which was okay! But sometimes I do feel like I should have more to show for this portion of the trip, like there should been Stuff! To Do! Everyday! But you know what?! I had a great time and did most of what I wanted to do, though I would have liked to make it to the Victoria & Albert Museum. They have two exhibits that I wish I could have seen, but OH WELL.
I spent an afternoon wandering down Oxford ST and Regent ST, stopping in Hamleys (I only visited one of it’s SIX FLOORS; that was a time suck I did NOT need) and my first REAL LIFE Lush. This same afternoon I spent an ungodly amount of time wandering around Forbidden Planet, this monstrously large comic book and sci-fi/fantasy store and HOLY GOD, IT WAS DELICIOUS. I was really glad I didn’t have any extra money because I could have spent IT ALL in that store. There was cool comic book memorabilia and Dr Who stuff and Star Wars stuff and an entire floor of BOOKS. Signed books, new books, comic books, Dr Who and Torchwood spin off books. It was amazing. AMAZING.
One day, Feller came with me to climb the St. Paul’s Cathedral dome. We wandered around the crypt and saw various famous British people’s tombs and sarcophagi, like Admiral Nelson and … someone else … Wellington, maybe? Some of the plaques were really beautiful and there was a lot of history down there, but the main attraction for me was the dome.
St. Paul’s has three levels to which one can climb: the Whispering Gallery, the Stone Gallery and the Golden Gallery at the very top. We decided to go all the way, which involved climbing up a total of 528 steps (and then climbing back DOWN those 528 steps).
The view was GLORIOUS. It was one of the few overcast days in London while we were there, but you can see so much from the Stone and especially the Golden Gallery that it didn’t matter. (The view from the Whispering Gallery is the INSIDE of the dome and allows one to see the amazing artwork up close, but they didn’t allow any pictures, so we only briefly paused there to make sure we only needed to climb an additional 271 steps to the very top rather than 376 to the Stone Gallery and 528 MORE to the Golden Gallery.)
The Golden Gallery viewing platform was TEENY TINY, and I have a touch of the Afraid of Heights, which made climbing the second half of holey metal steps interesting, so there was a lot of cringing behind my hands and making Feller take pictures because I couldn’t bear to hold my camera out over the ledge in order to get the shot I wanted. I can always just imagine fumbling my precious electronics and helplessly watching them plummet 528 steps down to the ground, so I can’t actually stand the thought of sticking my hand over the abyss. But he got some great pictures.
After that bit of fun was over, my legs were jelly. I was standing waiting while Feller used the toilet, and I kind of thought I was going to collapse. Apparently my legs aren’t so into the idea of climbing 528 up and then back down. WHO KNEW.
And, OH GOD, THE WALKING. SO MUCH WALKING. AND STANDING. AND BEING ON MY FEET. My poor little feets were just NOT prepared. It had been a VERY LONG TIME since I’d spent more than an hour or two on my feet, and HOLY COW. OUCHIES. I felt like a jackass complaining about my feet so much, but they HURT, and I couldn’t help myself. I’ll suffer through all kinds of pain, but you better believe Imma bitch about it. But I figure all that walking balanced out all that drinking and all that eating that we did.