Saying Goodbye to Big Ben, I entered Westminster Tube Station. I went to Bond Street by the Jubilee Line, and there I changed trains to the Central Line and got off at St. Paul’s Station. (This is part 2 of My Travel to London. Part 1 is here: http://wp.me/p16bjt-uP ) When I went outside of the station, St. Paul’s Cathedral towered behind me. I was too close to the church to see the famous dome.
I had bought a ticket online beforehand. Online ticket is £13 and £2 cheaper than the gate price. According to the ticket, I was supposed to enter from its west gate and did not need to stand in line waiting to buy tickets. But I did not see any lines outside. Actually, there were few people around the building. I climbed up the stairs and opened the door. It was quiet inside from apart soft murmurs. I saw several people in dim light. No one was queuing there. I showed my e-ticket to a receptionist and got a real ticket. Then I started walking slowly and quietly.
I felt it was strange to be standing in the famous place as tombs for legendary British people like Sir Winston Churchill, and as a celebration place for the 80th birthday and the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II, or for the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana. Actually it was not comfortable for me to walk on gravestones at the crypt. I was overwhelmed by the cathedral’s solemnity, magnificence, elaborateness and, air of substance, and felt stifled. I had a little giddy feeling and went out.
The outside world was bustling with cars, buses and people. I started walking on Ludgate Hill, and headed to Temple Church on Fleet Street. The church’s open time is different every day. When I visited on March 19, they opened from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for visitors. I had heard that it would be very difficult to find the church, but I found it soon. It was a little bit earlier than 11 o’clock. So, I visited Twinings Strand Shop Museum nearby. There were a lot of kinds of teas in the narrow shop. I bought their newly herbal teas: Butter Mint Sensation and Raspberry and Dragon Fruit Sensation. Don’t you think both of them sound interesting?
After leaving Twinings, I dropped by a Tesco along the street and bought a plastic bottle of energy drink. Then I went to Temple Church. As you know, this place is very famous for an important setting in the film: Da Vinci Code. I waited for their opening time, sitting on a bench near the building and drinking. 11 o’clock! I walked to the door and tried to open the door. But it didn’t open. While I was wondering whether it was a bit earlier, someone came out of the door. I glided in past the opening door. It was brighter inside than I had imagined. A woman at the door welcomed me gently. The entrance fee was £4.
There were many children inside. All of them were sketching something in the church. It seemed to be an educational trip from their school. The kids were doing their work without uttering a word. I just heard scratches of their pencils on paper and my own footstep. I was surrounded by peculiar silence. I felt as if time had stopped or suspended in the place. I was looking up the ceiling for a while, probably opening my mouth, from a bench inside. I was able to relax there. I thanked the receptionist and tried to leave. But I couldn’t open the door again. “Excuse me, but I don’t know how to open the door…” I said sheepishly to her. She smiled and replied, “You turn the knob clockwise.” Of course…
While walking, I came to the side of the Themes: Victoria Embankment. I passed under Blackfriars Bridge and walked to the Millennium Bridge. I was going to Southwark via the bridge. At last I was able to see the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral from the bridge when I looked back. I was very happy to see the figure and thought, “Yes, I’m in London!”
I’ll write about Southwark area next time…