Wandering near BlackFriars 

So today I just picked a tube stop and explored the area about it. Well of course I had an idea what to expect but as always, there was plenty to see. After exiting the Underground, the first thing to catch my eye was the BlackFriars Pub …. it’s always a good idea to know the whereabouts of a likely pub.

I walked up to the handy street corner map to get my bearings, remembering that whatever way I was facing would be the way the map was oriented. ( I learned that lesson the hard, footsore way.)

After perusing the map, I decided that the Millenium footbridge would be my destination. This is the bridge that the “DeathEaters” destroyed in the Harry Potter movie.

I am frequently lost with some British names and this church was no exception. It is named “Saint Andrews by the Wardrobe”

I am familiar with “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” and it’s religious parallels but I don’t remember there being an Andrew in it. Okay I am just kidding. I do know that royalty have some traditional position regarding their wardrobe but I don’t quite understand how that ties back to a church… I’ll have to research that one.

I was enjoying my walk and discovered that I was at the bridge quite soon. I followed the crowds onto the bridge and indulged in a few photos of the river when I noticed that a lot of folks were taking pictures of something behind me. I turned around and gawped!

How I missed St Paul’s cathedral being right there, I have no idea, but there it most definitely was. I generally let serendipity rule my travels but this time I decided to explore on the other side of the bridge first and work my way back to the cathedral. I think my best photo of the Millenium bridge came from the south side of the river.

On the south side there is a nice river walk and the Tate Modern museum. There is another Tate museum in London which I know that I walked past one day or another but I’m not quite sure which day and neighborhood that was. What caught my eye, though, was the Globe theater.

This, of course, is a reconstruction of the theater where so many of Shakespeare’s plays were performed. There were no hours being offered as the season had started already and folks were queuing up for the next performance. Romeo & Juliet was one of the 2 plays alternating at the theater for the next few weeks as well as Nell Gwynn. After poking around and seeing as much as I could, I knew I would have to kick myself if I didn’t see a play there so I moved up to the ticket line. Well of course, Romeo & Juliet were sold out for the whole run, but I was able to get a decent seat for Nell Gwynn on Tuesday … so more details in a few days on that.

After some meandering on the river walk I headed back across the bridge and up the street to St Paul’s. Since I planned to take the stairs up to the dome, I did stop and have some lunch first. 

The use of cameras was banned in the church so I can only provide exterior shots. The place is HUGE! I got a headset and wandered about listening to the history of the place and the details of both the mosaics and paintings. Its a functioning church so the tourism works around the times that services are held although anyone may stay for the service. There is a section behind the Nave that was destroyed by a bomb in WW II and was reconstructed to be a memorial to the Americans who died during WW II on British soil … mostly airmen. In the crypt of St Paul’s is the final resting place of both Lord Wellington & Admiral Nelson.

I did walk up the stairs to the dome but only the first level was open so I stopped there -some 250 stairs. That level is also called the whispering chamber as someone whispering near the wall on one side may be heard by someone else on the opposite side. I was disappointed not to be able to go up the other 2 levels but glad that I had at least got to go up in the dome at all. it was especially good to be closer to the painted ceiling of the dome.

Eventually I decided that I had absorbed all the church history & architecture that I could and then headed back to the Underground and my hotel in Paddington.

After cleaning up I decided that my feet were tired but there were 2 Greek restaurants on a neighboring street. I walked out and perused menus outside each – whoever came out with the idea of posting menus outside of restaurants deserves to be knighted! The menus of the 2 were not so terribly different but I couldn’t help but notice that one of them was completely empty and the other was packed! Of course I went into the o e that was packed.  They were squeezing folks in every where. I was relegated to a back corner and happy to get it…. and oh look, they trusted me close to the alcohol!

I had a lamb and green bean casserole that was devine! The owner of the restaurant waited on me since I was close to where she was overseeing things and her service was exceptional. Since they had folks waiting for seats, I was not encouraged to linger so back to the hotel for a nightcap from my new favorite bartender Gaston.

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