I had originally intended to visit Kew Gardens and then wander around Chiswick today, but since the weather will be a bit better tomorrow, I decided that today I’d visit St. Paul’s Cathedral and then get my shopping out of the way. So, after getting ready to face the day, I hopped on the Circle Line at Paddington and then changed to the Central Line at Notting Hill Gate, getting off at St. Paul’s station (how wonderfully convenient).
After walking through the gardens, I made my way in the main entrance, paid my £18, and slowly wandered through the cathedral. There isn’t any photography allowed inside the cathedral, so I couldn’t capture the beauty and grandeur of it, but I don’t think pictures would have done it justice anyway. It was breathtakingly beautiful, absolutely magnificent. Eventually, I made my way up the 259 steps to the Whispering Gallery, so called because of the acoustic properties first discovered there around 1878 by Lord Rayleigh (here’s a link – Whispering Gallery – if you’re curious, because I majored in the humanities and me trying to explain the sciency stuff would probably just confuse the heck out of you). As I’ve learned with the Tower of London and the Scott Monument, descending spiral staircases really aren’t my cup of tea, so I decided not to go on to the next two platforms higher up in the dome, instead, slowly and steadily making my way back down to the cathedral floor and then down into the crypts. There, I saw the tomb of Horatio Nelson…and visited the gift shop.
I then made my west to Twinings where I picked up all of the wonderful little tea goodies that I’d scoped out with C when we visited last month. I even spent enough that I got this cute little miniature vintage Twinings delivery lorry! With my tea what’s-it’s checked off my list, I popped into a café next door and headed down to a bench in the Victoria Embankment Gardens across from the Temple station…just as it started to rain. I ate my sandwich, sheltered under a tree, and then caught the Circle Line to South Kensington station where I switched to the Piccadilly Line to Knightsbridge…in order to go to Harrods, the other stop on my shopping list. And while it was raining when I caught the Tube at Temple, it was sunny when I got off at Knightsbridge (???). After navigating the crazy Saturday crowd and (hopefully) getting everything on my mental list, I made my way back down to the Piccadilly Line, back to South Kensington…and jumped on the wrong train. After getting off at the next station (Gloucester Road) and catching the right train back to Paddington, I stopped by Sainsbury’s for a few more groceries and finally made my way back to the flat with bags galore. I spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and fighting a losing battle with a headache and I think tonight will be an early night, since I hope to get moving somewhat early tomorrow so that I can get to Kew Gardens and then wander around Chiswick.