Saturday, June 2, 2012

Saturday in Southport

It's been a busy week.  Since my last post last weekend, about going to Liverpool, we've been to London for 2 days, spent Wednesday as a boys day/girls day out (Mom and I went into town shopping and had lunch, and Brian and Steven went with Marion to look at properties for his business), and we spent the night in York with Mom and Marion.

Monday, Brian, Steven and I left for London via the rail system.  I'd never traveled by train before, and it was quite interesting.  We got to see a lot of countryside, and city areas, as we traveled the 2+ hr ride to London via Liverpool.  Our hotel was interesting, too - very small room with 3 twin beds, and a bathroom "closet" whose size rivaled that of a cruise ship bathroom (very tiny, for those of you that have never seen or heard of the size of bathrooms on cruise ships).  We took a cab over to the Westminster Abbey area, and took a lot of photos of various things there. 

We ended up going on the bus tour through London, stopping to see lots of different sites, and taking a ton of pictures, all of which are posted on my Facebook.  On Tuesday, we did the tour at St Paul's Cathedral.  Let me tell you - that was an absolutely breathtaking experience that nearly brought me to tears from the beauty and the magnitude of what I was seeing.  Unfortunately, photographs inside aren't permitted, so I wasn't able to take photos of the things that moved me in such a way I just really can't explain my feelings about it. 

At the Cathedral, you have the opportunity to climb to a point that is at the top of the rotunda, which is very close to the very top of the actual cathedral.  This climb involves approximately 530 steps, mostly on spiral staircases.  See - the cathedral is 365 feet high to the highest point at the top of the cross.  It's 257 steps to the first level, called the Whispering Gallery, then another 99 steps to the Stone Gallery, then another 174 steps to the Golden Gallery. 

We (well, Brian and I) had not planned to walk to the top, but Steven did, and we didn't want him alone in a foreign country, and he darted ahead of us. we go, up the stairs.  The first 257 weren't bad - they were solid wooden stairs like you'd have at home, except they were in a sprial staircase.  The Whispering Gallery is interesting, but my fear of heights got me moving onto the next level (the gallery is basically a ring around the cathedral dome, with a railing to keep you from falling, but I have my weirdness about stuff like that and just couldn't stay far enough away from the edge). 

The next set of steps was mostly spiral metal stairs, the kind that you can see through and that was out in the open, which sparks my fear of heights.  And you had to climb through this really narrow stone set of stairs (only about 10 or so steps), that  had no handrails to hold onto, and I ended up sort of crawling up those and out into the Stone Gallery.  This area is basically a circle around the outside of the dome, so we got to get a good view of the city from there.

The last set of steps was also the spiral metal ones, out in the open inside the building, and just before you got outside, there was a hole in the floor (covered by glass of course), that showed how high you were - you could see all the way down to the cathedral floor through this window in the floor.  When you went out to the Golden Gallery, it was another ring outside the dome, at the very top, probably about 300 feet from the ground.  Yep, I was terrified being up there, but it was so neat to be able to see all that we saw from there.  Of course, Steven had the camera, and he had already passed this point and started his descent, so I wasn't sure what photos he had taken.  (he only took about 5 photos, one of course a self-portrait).

We also did the tour through the Tower of London on Tuesday, then headed back to Southport.  I also discovered at the drug store, that you can buy a codeine/tylenol product over the counter with no prescription.  I needed this, as I was having some pains from my back due to all the walking, and other assorted pains.  But codeine, over the counter?

Wednesday Mom and I window shopped and had lunch at Sal's (the Italian restaurant they frequent), and just had a lazy day all around.  Thursday we left for York for an overnight trip with Mom and Marion, and I'll blog about that later.  I'm about blogged out at the moment, plus I need to get ready to go into town here in a bit.

I hope everyone has had a wonderful week, and will have a wonderful weekend. 

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