Friday, April 23, 2010

Day 1 - London sunny & crisp

Well we made it to London and got a cab to Shefali's (that she kindly organised for us). Shefali lives near the Tate Gallery & Millenium Bridge so after a quick breakfast at a place called 'Leon' we made our way to St Paul's Cathedral where low & behold they were just starting their St George's Day parade! We thought it was to welcome us to London but no it was for the St George's Day. (btw Happy St George's Day George!) So we watched the 3 different marching music bands and the medieval knights and went directly into St Paul's Cathedral. The church is really lovely with beautiful stainglass & paintings & sculptures. We decided to go to the first level & walk the 257 steps to the Whispering Gallery of St Paul's to admire the beauty of the Church & the paintings from above (no photo's allowed :(. Then we decide we would go up the next level of the Church and walk the extra 119 steps to go outside to view the church from outside. It was lovely and the day was clear and sunny! We took some photo's (of course) and then decided why not do the last bit and go all the way to the very top of the outside of church dome! Of course being in Europe and old the only way up is the circular staircases! Makes you feel very dizzy going round & round the staircase! So after many stops & breathing (!) we walking the extra 142 steps to the very top! We were very relieved to make it up especially Lynda! But it was well worth it as the view was wonderful. We do not need to go to the London Eye because this was a better view! After some more photo's of the beautiful view and a big breather, we made our way back down (so much easier going back down) to have a well earned drink (note to ourselves make sure we bring water with us just in case we climb more stairs!) & something to eat. We also looked at the many crypts at St Paul's too. Once recovered we went for a long walk along Fleet Street to the Courtauld Gallery visiting the Temple church (the one mentioned in the Da Vinci Code book) along the way which had the Knights Templar crypts, it was quite an interesting church too. The Courtauld Gallery is a private collection of impressionsim (both post & pre) paintings. A great collection of works of art. Then we decided we were tired of walking so we caught our first double decker red bus to see Westminister Abbey. Well we got to Wesminister Abbey and Michelle you guessed it, it had just closed! So still have not been in that church. We plan to go to see it tomorrow! As that was closed we decided to go see Parliament House and Big Ben. After many photo's of getting the red bus behind us whilst taking a photo of Big Ben we walked to see no.10 Downing Street and the Horseguards. Behind the Horseguards we ventured to St James Park where the lake & fountains looked marvellous with the late sunshine and Lynda got to see her first or many squirrels. So cute but I am sure quite a nuisance to Londonites too! We then decided we would venture back to see Admiral Nelsons statue and visit the National Art Gallery. Once in the Gallery and after visiting a select few rooms we knew it was time we had to go back because we could hardly keep our eyes open. We rang Shefali to let her know that we had 'hit a brick wall' from being so tired, as we had planned to go out for dinner with her being our first night & all. So we decided to have a quick dinner near where she lived, place called Cafe Au Rouge, then left & fell straight to sleep - 8pm Friday night London time but it was really for us 5am Saturday morning Melbourne time! So we were up for a very long time! Looking forward to another sunny London day on Saturday where we are going to meet up with Michelle's daughter Lauren at Harrods for lunch and then finish off by going to see our first London play, Private Lives tonight! (written by Tonia)

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