The first full day of London. My feet hurt.
Woke up at 4:30. I guess Laura wasn't very happy about that. I wasn't really either but I figured I wouldn't be able to sleep any more. Breakfast didn't start until 7:30 so we took an early morning walk around Southwark and took in the view of St. Paul Cathedral across the Thames. Very neo-classical looking from afar with a massive dome. London does things big.
Wheatabix for breakfast! Classic England. Also had some tea and followed it up with a particularly awful cup of instant coffee. I can partially be blamed for the foul flavor due to my exuberant scooping of the "coffee" powder. I probably should have scaled back my application...
Following breakfast we h (teaded into the thick throng of London's rush-hour. People everywhere and of every conceivable description all seemingly heading toward some mythic office on the north side of the river. Because the north side was also our destination (St. Paul Cathedral) the going was slow. Once at the cathedral Laura complained about the entrance fee (11 pounds) but she acquiesced to my desire to see one the most important sights in London.
St. Paul Cathedral was certainly impressive. Up and down many staircases. Ridiculously ornate chapels and shrines and monuments littered the main and lower floors. At the eastern end of the cathedral was a rather touching tribute to the American service-people who died while stationed in the United Kingdom during World War 2. The Whispering Gallery was every bit as impressive as people claim. I could hear Laura speaking to me along the wall from quite a distance. Were it not for the presence of numerous other people I probably would've committed an act of blasphemy by putting on a "voice-of-god" display. From the roof of the dome were incredible views over the whole of the city of London.
After St. Paul we hopped the Millennium pedestrian bridge across the Thames to the Tate Modern museum. Laura's more of a visual art fan than I am but I did my best to enjoy some of the more esoteric pieces and I did genuinely enjoy many of the sculptures. However, after three hours of standing around looking at hyperpretentious drawings of hamburgers and distorted penises I just couldn't remain excited. Thankfully, Laura was also starting to weary of the Tate Modern.
Lunch was enjoyed at "The Anchor". We shared Fish and Chips which were fried in beef fat - apparently the English tradition. It was good but the tartar sauce was particularly terrible and basically tasted like Miracle Whip with three minuscule chunks of dill pickle. Not quite up to SeaJ's standards I must say (though the fries were better).
The last sight-seeing stop of the day was the Tower of London. We crossed the Tower Bridge but decided to forgo actually touring it as the price was too high for what seemed like a fairly average sight. The facade of the bridge is impressive enough - seeing the inside wasn't too high on our priority list. In the London Tower we climbed hundreds upon hundreds of stairs and saw really impressive architecture. However, the Royal Jewels were easily the most impressive thing on display at the Tower. Some of the diamonds were absolutely insane in size. Of note - DeBeers obviously paid for some of the installation because the product placement was sometimes over the top (including a mention about how great Debeers' human-rights record is - ha!).
Some beer and then bed with sore feet.