Friday, November 4, 2011

St. Paul's Cathedral ~ London Millenium Footbridge ~ London Eye ~ Big Ben ~ House of Parliament ~ London England

Another glorious day in London, England.  We walked for so many miles and still didn't see everything, but what we did see made it an incredible day.  Part of another London walk included several other sights that you may see by clicking here, but today we will see even more. This walk begins at St. Paul's Cathedral, the most beautiful cathedral that we had been looking forward to seeing on this visit.

St. Paul's Cathedral, London, England
St. Paul's Cathedral was originally built in 604 but the fourth one on this site was destroyed by fire and this is the fifth one that is there now and it was built between 1675-1711.  It was impossible for me to get one picture to show this incredible church as it is in the shape of a cross and the dome, standing at over 111 meters (365 ft) and highest in the world, sits over the intersection of the arms.  Beneath the dome, a symbol for unity, is where the daily services are held. 

St. Paul's Cathedral, South Churchyard entrance, London, England
No cameras are allowed inside St. Paul's Cathedral but it would have been great to get some photos.  The beautiful mosaics that line the walls and ceilings of St. Paul's Cathedral were added 1896-1904 and one could sit there for hours to enjoy these pieces of art.  The whole interior of the church is a work of art.  I would recommend allowing several hours in your day to be able to appreciate all there is to see in this church. A handheld audio with photos is included in the entrance fee and it gives plenty of information and history. They also have a cafeteria for lunch or a coffee break. 

London Millenium Footbridge
This steel suspension bridge was the first pedestrian bridge built to cross the River Thames in over a century but it wasn't without its' struggles. It first opened in June 2000 with 80,000 to 100,000 people crossing it on the first day. The effect of that many people crossing the bridge caused some movement that wasn't expected and the bridge, locally called the "wobbly bridge' was closed within two days. It was reopened two years later after a solution had been found and it was pretty neat to see.  For those who wish to learn more about this engineering feat, click here.

London, England's cityscape
I don't wish to mislead anyone into thinking that there has been nothing modern built in London because there sure has. Keith took this photo from 528 steps up high in the Golden Gallery of St. Paul's Cathedral, it didn't sound like a place I wanted to go to. The view is of the financial district, including the Swiss Re building, more commonly called "the gherkin" (as in pickle).  As we wandered along the River Thames after leaving St. Paul's Cathedral, we counted several cranes that were in the process of building new structures.  We had also seen many ongoing projects that may be due to the upcoming Olympics in 2012.
the London Eye, England
This was originally called the Millenium Wheel when it was opened in 2000 as it was seen as time turning into a new millenium.  It is now called the London Eye and takes 3.5 million people on a ride every year.  It carries 800 passengers per revolution and takes 30 minutes to complete the circle going slow enough that it allows people to disembark without it stopping.  The view is 360 degrees for 40 km (25 mi) but that wasn't enough to convince me I should go for a ride.  I enjoy looking from down here, thanks!

Parliament Buildings, London, England
The Parliament Buildings are beautfiul and sit along the River Thames just beside the Westminster Bridge. Tours are offered for visitors to see the interior and the workings of the parliament buildings.  Westminster Hall is officially a royal palace that was begun in 1097 by the son of William the Conquerer and another building for viewing is the Jewel Tower, built in 1365, and one of the two remaining sections of the medieval royal palace of Westminster.

Big Ben, London, England
Big Ben was one of those sights that I was anxious to visit and it was exciting to see that big clock tower looming largely ahead as we walked up the street.  The great bell in the clock tower is where the nickname Big Ben comes from and it stands in the largest four faced clock in the world.  The tower is 393 steps to the top and 96 meters high but only open to locals who can arrange the visit with their MP.

Sunset across the River Thames in London, England
As our London day came to an end and we walked along the River Thames in a very busy and entertaining part of the city, we saw this beautiful sunset happening.  I was taking photos every few steps to make sure I was not going to miss this incredible photo, one that I feel could be my favorite.  We are looking at the Westminster Bridge crossing the River Thames, and the Parliament Buildings with Big Ben standing tall overlooking it all.  A very special memory on a very special day.


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