Sunday, April 22, 2012

[L.E.P.A.K series: London] Chap 23: St Paul's Cathedral

And We're back in London yo! 

After a good night's rest in our super comfy hotel bed, we woke up to another early morning of exploration. We took a breezy morning walk to Waterloo station and rode the tube out to Bank (that's the name of the station and not an actual bank. hehe).

Upon exiting the station, we were greeted by our first sight of spring. 
Since it was towards the end of March, we were caught between winter and spring. It was chilly as ever throughout our entire trip but we eventually warmed ourselves towards this somewhat cold and gloomy city. 

 In fact, after five days, we bravely decided to dress more like a local and loose a few layers of clothes with only a layer of tights to warm our legs. Not bad at all! Either that or the weather did get a little less colder as the days passed by. But a girl can imagine, right?

Our first itinerary for the day was St Paul's Cathedral. 
We actually arrived at the back of the cathedral because that's where the closest tube exit was. It was a great choice actually because we then get to stroll along the side garden before finding ourselves in front of the cathedral.

There were little squirrels running around the garden. A really cute sight to behold and Mr Man here whom in my opinion looked very much like Jason Statham (LOL) was generously feeding the squirrels. Poor pigeon was longing for a crumb too, don't you think? Hehe. Mr Man looked very much like a regular guy on his way to work, who also makes it a point to stop by to feed his little buddies. Why? Because both Mr Man and the squirrels looked very much accustomed to each other and he even had them running up and down his body.

Squirrel!! Squeeee! 
A not-bad-shot from my three-year-old-compact camera don't you think? 

 But this was no winning shot.

It's this that is the winner! 
Thanks Cik Anai for this much-loved photo. :D

This little garden turned out to be quite a 'high-traffic' place with many people walking through it to get to the tube station, obviously on their way to work. Only us two silly gals were loitering around, all carefree and shameless taking photos of ourselves.

Like I said, carefree and shameless. In a good way. Hehe.

A side view of the cathedral. That's the awesome thing about free and easy travelling. If we were here on tour, we would have probably missed out on all these little morning wonders. Probably all we would have seen was...

 Finally, we found ourselves at the front of the cathedral. 

 However, we were there way ahead of schedule as doors only opened at 8.30am. So we headed out to a Marks & Spencer nearby and bought ourselves breakfast. Upon stepping in the aroma of freshly baked buns greeted us and soon after, we found ourselves staring at the sandwich aisle with our mouths open, undecided on what we want because... well, we wanted everything. Haha. 

 Call me crazy but it was also nice to be a part of the morning crowd there, many of which were there to grab a pack of sandwich before heading off to work. We on the other hand, stood lingering around with some extra time in our hands.

 There was a bank a few doors down and guess what? We stepped right in! You see, a few days ago while we were buying our tickets to Tower of London, Cik Anai's £20 note got rejected. Turns out, the note was... was... an old note! Hahaha. Nope, we did not get cheated on a fake note, just an old one. The lady there told us that we can change it in any banks. So that's how we ended up visiting a bank. Guess I can check that off my list "Visit a bank in a foreign country...Check!" 

Surprisingly the bank turned out to be less electronic-driven than those in Malaysia. No waiting number was taken and we actually lined up for our turn much like the good old days. As if I'm that old to talk about the good old days, but yeah, surprising nonetheless. Tellers were not sitting behind high counters either but normal height table tops.

With our breads in hand and new notes in Cik Anai's pocket, we continued our stroll to find a place to settle down and enjoy our breakfast.

Behold Breakfast! 
Classic Ham (from British farms so says the packaging), Cheese & Pickle on Malted Brown Bread for me and a more humble Classic Free Range Egg & Watercress on Malted Brown Bread for Cik Anai. And because we're hungry travellers, an extra hot cross raisin bun for each of us. Yummmmmy! 

Taste aside, you know what I love about these sandwich?

The Packaging! 
It tears right at the centre and...

Lo and behold, carries a sandwich on each side. Awesome possum if you ask me. This is not something found in Malaysia. Modest bank yet state-of-the-art sandwich pack. London, you amuses me.

Nature called after breakfast and this was what greeted us at the public toilet. Haha. No need for a Makcik to collect entrance fee. Just drop the right amount of coins into the gates and step right in. 50p is the fee, that's RM2.50 for a piss. Sigh.

Finally, we're all set to visit this sanctuary. Our rail card entitled us to a 2 for 1 promotion which saved us a bunch. That's the reason why we chose the regular travel card over the more popular Oyster Card. It entitles travellers to various 2 for 1 promotion at a lot of tourist attractions.

This is the gate of heaven. :)

The only clear shot that Cik Anai managed to sneakily capture inside the cathedral. Yup. The no camera allowed rule applies here. That is why this post which is supposed to be on St Paul's Cathedral had a very long 'introduction' to all that is around and outside of the cathedral because I have nothing to show of the inside. 

Yes. It was majestic and a tad more luxurious-looking than Notre Dame Cathedral. I guess having an entrance fee does amount to better funding, but luxurious does not necessarily outdo classic charm. The climb up to the Whispering Gallery was tiring, dizzy and memorable. The underground crypt was serene and eerie. The souvenir corner was busy and delightfully vibrant. All in all, St Paul's did offer a more all-rounded experience that stirred up a mix of emotions as oppose to Notre Dame. 

 It was two hours of serenity before we head out to catch a glimpse of the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. I'll leave that for the next post! ;)

1 comment:

poly cosm said...

Hi there, shocking as it may seem, i am Mr man, the squirrel guy.

You are exactly right, I stop off every day to feed my "buddies" and have done for over three years now.

I look forward to feeding them each day, and wouldnt dream of going to work without seeing them.

I enjoyed the blog, especially the bit about the sandwich pack vs bank bit.

There are quite a few pics of the little guys on my flickr page if you were interested

Justin "stratham" Ash