STAIRS!  I have climbed over 2,000 stairs this trip. This is not an exaggeration. My calves are definitely in shape now. 

Today, I went with the Literary London class to Covent Gardens, Drury Theatre, St. Paul's Church and St. Paul's Cathedral. 

First, we shopped at Covent Gardens because this was a setting in the play "The Country Wife" which the class was studying. I didn't do much journalistic work here because everyone split up and went shopping. Covent Gardens Market had a lot of quirky, unique booths and shops. In one area, there were booths with handmade jewelry and in another hand painted photographs. It was fun looking around at the variety of goods. Cheap souvenir booths lined the street back-to-back and side by side. It was like a maze of shops. I was shopping around with Lauren and we found this one place where the owners made wire gifts right in front of us.

Covent Gardens was an interesting place. It mixed the historical aspect of the market with the new high-end shops and booths. People were also performing on the street. Some were playing violins, one was singing opera and one was performing a magic show. It was a pretty vibrant place.

After shopping for an hour we met back up with the group for lunch. We first found this pizza place, but it didn’t open for another 30 minutes. So Dr. Guidry guided us to the Drury Lane Theatre. 

We stood on the opposite side of the street from the theatre while Guidry explained the history behind the building. He told us how "The Country Wife" was first performed there in 1675. Also the theatre has burned down three different times so the one standing today is the fourth one. There are legends claiming ghosts haunt the theatre today. Next we visited St. Paul's Church that was built in 1633 and designed by Inigo Jones. This church became known as the actors' church and actors still attend services today. Christopher Wren, the designer of St. Paul's Cathedral was a student of Inigo. In contrasts to St. Paul's Cathedral, the church is simple in design. When it was built Inigo had a small budget which is reflected in the minimalism of the church. Inigo called the church the "Handsome Barn in England."  

By the time we made it back to the pizza restaurant, they were open. Finding a seat outside, we all ordered our food and enjoyed a relaxing lunch. In the courtyard across from our table a man was performing an acrobatic street show. He had four people lay down on the ground and then he walked on his hands all the way over them. We had Dinner and a show! 

Next, we made our way to St. Paul's Cathedral. As soon as we walked in we were handed an iPhone audio guide. It was pretty high tech with pictures and historical videos, plus the personal guide. Unfortunately, I couldn't take pictures inside, but it was breathtaking. St. Paul's Cathedral is famous for its domes and there is a good reason for that. Once I walked halfway down the nave, I found myself craning my neck staring in awe at the beautiful mosaic domes. Over 6 million pieces of painted glass made up the mosaics telling biblical stories. Murals reflecting St. Paul's life were painted above the dome by Sir James Thornhill. The detailed beauty was overwhelming. Finishing my tour of the cathedral’s main floor, I met up with Lauren and we began our suspension up 528 steps to the Golden Gallery- the highest dome in the cathedral with a 360 view of London. 

I don't know why architects were fascinated with spiral stairs, but I sure have climbed up a ton on this trip. Climbing up to the Golden Gallery I found myself dizzy multiple times. I had to take a few breaks on the way up to make my head stop spinning, plus this climb was a little challenging.

Luckily, there were a few stops on the way up to the Golden Gallery. First, we visited the Whispering Gallery that sits on the dome’s interior. I am sometimes afraid of heights so I cautiously looked over the railing where I could see the congregation of tourists admiring the cathedral. In the Whispering Gallery someone can whisper and be heard 100 meters away; pretty neat if you ask me! 

Our next detour point was the Stone Gallery. Here Lauren and I had a foggy 360 view of London. Our view was not only hindered by the clouds and fog but by the tall stone railing.

We climbed another 200 iron spiral stairs up to the Golden Gallery. I'm not a fan of stairs with gaps in them so I had a couple of mini panic attacks on the way up. I had to stop and pray and breath to calm myself down; however, I eventually made it to the top. 

Again the view was incredible. Through the fog I could see the major London landmarks like Big Ben, Tower Bridge, the London Eye and Millennium Bridge. It was extremely cramped at the Golden Gallery. I felt like I was in a herd of cattle being shuffled along in a little circle. The only difference was that I was 365 feet above the ground! We slowly made our way around the Golden Gallery stopping to take pictures and admire the skyline. After about ten minutes we made our descent back down.

Before heading home, Lauren, Jennifer and I toured the Museum of London. Exhibits showcased the Roman London with a modern twist. Artists paired ancient artifacts like a Roman wine vase with a 2013 wine bottle. We also saw the remnants of buildings from the great fire of London in 1666.

Finally, I climbed my last staircase of the day as I walked up to my dorm room at about 7 p.m. And by this time, my calf muscles were mooing! 
 


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    I'm Kasi Dickerson. Journalism is my passion. I'm a big family person, love to travel and I laugh all the time.

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