A chronicle of movement aimed at synchronizing thoughts and keyboards with said movement.


St. Pauli Boy

The Tate Modern, as seen from THE SKY.

The steps spun along a curve that maintained angular velocity as it rose. For the first 150 or so steps winding around the dome at St. Paul's Cathedral (out of the eventual 530), the climb moves gently, meandering around a long and gradual ascent that conveyed us to a ring around the altar and main seating area. Directly under the painting on the ceiling of the dome, vertigo began to ensue.

And what else could we do? We are young and powerful and with futures that will only go upward, not the least concerned with the possibilities to the contrary. So we might as well chase it.
We hiked, onward and upward, as the astronauts say. Do they say that? They should. At least until they come back to earth. Then they should say, "see you next time, space."

But anyway, we moved back toward space. The next phase brought us to the first outdoor deck, 2/3 of the way up the Cathedral. We were now at a height that rendered impossible any sort of weight applied to the outer railing. I am one of those people whose disposition tends away from plummeting to death down the side of St. Paul's Cathedral. Perhaps you are a guard-rail leaner. They are made of steel, a substance I trust categorically.

Anyway, the picture that started this great ramble is from that level, of the Tate Modern (art) museum, a converted power plant whose front meets the Millenium Bridge, known as The Wobbly Bridge to the British. As part of an incredibly embarrassing celebration of the year 2000, the British avoided Y2K fear through wasteful and ill-conceived construction. The Bridge, on the third day of use, wobbled under the weight of its pedestrians. It was closed down for a year and a half so that 5 million GBP could go into it to make sure it no longer wobbles. The name stuck, though. It Wonders of Architecture brother, in Greenwich, the Millenium Dome, looks like one of those big plastic things with the holes you fill with pens, pencils or other long, sharp things. Asparagus? They're still trying to figure out what they should put in the Millenium Dome.

After that level, we embarked on the final ascent. Due to a rather inconvenient fear of heights, the tight steel staircase, which appeared to be capable of falling at a sneeze or breeze, was not the most fun.

Nor was the final walkway to the outside, which brought us to this circular platform around the top of the dome, wrapped around a circle around 12 meters in diameter. As one of the tallest non-skyscrapers in London, it was very scary and resulted in my being glued to the wall. Not these people, though:

The one looking irritated is Dave. He's irritated because he's one thousand feet in the air.

Then you get this view. And any agony, fear or trapping shatters. Crashes to earth. But not literally. That'd be dangerous from this height.

Top: The Erotic Gherkin; Bottom: Tower Bridge
If you ever get the chance to go to St. Paul's, do it. Do it if you're Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Spanish. Whatever. We don't get the chance to see such intricacy so often, such minute enormity. Hooray!


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