Thursday, May 20, 2010

London - St. Paul's Cathedral

Day 3 in London!

We walked down to Oxford Street, but were generally disappointed in the shops (Primark is cheap crap, sorry Londoners, but it is). Mom headed off to see "The Lion King" and L and I headed off to see St. Paul's Cathedral (which Mom had seen on a previous visit to London). We'd seen St. Paul's the night before when we walked over the Millenium Bridge on the way out of the Globe:
L and I had also seen a really cool TV show on Discovery about the architecture of St. Paul's dome - the church was designed by Christopher Wren in the 17th century (click here for a Wiki entry). Whew, I tell ya, coming from a "new" country like Canada, it is boggling to be touching things that have been around for hundreds of years! My own city is barely 200 years old.

You aren't allowed to take any photos inside of St. Paul's, unlike 99% of museums and other historic sites in London, but we did the climb inside the dome (over 500 steps on little spiral staircases). From the Whispering Gallery, we looked down to an actual wedding taking place! It was like Princess Diana all over again. We were able to take pictures at the outside landings:
Looking down into the step constructs.
Looking back at the Millenium Bridge:
Looking down from the Golden Gallery, you can just see the edge of the dome at the bottom of the photo:
Looking into the hollow outer dome:
I didn't get any vertigo until we went down - I was wearing a long skirt and it billowed as I stepped down, and I coudn't see my feet. That made me dizzy.

We also went into the crypts (Nelson's tomb, William Blake, Lawrence of Arabia, and my favourite, William Ernest Henley ("Invictus" is one of my favourite poems). I was eeeevil and took a picture of Sir John A. MacDonald:
While I waited for L in the loo, I browsed the gift shop, where I bought a bracelet (which I wore today. After St. Paul's, we went back to Regent Street and Carnaby Street for some more shopping (L bought a fabulous purple/black/white striped jacket from Sherry's), and I bought this dress:
It's from Desigual, and I was first drawn in by their jackets, but I couldn't find one that I really loved. When I saw this dress, I gasped. It's all handmade and I absolutely love it. At 169 pounds ($259 Cdn/$243 US), this was the most expensive thing I bought on holiday, but I think it's worth it. I'll never find anything like this ever again.

I love the mod shape of it, and check out the back:
These photos don't do it justice (and my tights are teal, not blue).

Let's try some close-ups:
The front. You can see the subtleties of the fabrics more, the free-hand embroidery on the bottom panel, all the different buttons. You can't see the detail (that's orange with pink! the black side panel has a gold pinstripe! the purple satin lining! the irridescence!), but it's as close as I can get.

The back:
That's a green and a red zebra on the eye panel, and that "bubble" section is actually black faceted beads sewn on. And how about that thickly embroidered rooster??

A better look at the eye panel:
I love the zig-zag connecting stitch on all the panels. It's not perfect - it looks handmade. That's a good thing.

The stuff:
Simple (but cool) shoes and jewelry. The cuff is the "Tijou Cuff" bracelet and was inspired by the gates in the High Altar of St. Paul's, which are Baroque and were made around 1700 by Jean tijou, a French master ironworker. It was 22 pounds.

A close-up:
That's my favourite kind of souvenir: it's from a place I visited and is something I'll have forever.

By the way, yes, that's George Clooney's face I pasted over top of L's yesterday. Hee!

Dress (Desigual), tights (Hue), shoes (BCBGirls), cuff (St. Paul's Cathedral gift shop), earrings (don't remember).

14 comments:

  1. Glad you had a great trip and I agree with you about Primark - I hate the way it smells.

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  2. I JUST got clued into Desigual a few weeks ago and just adore their designs. That dress is fabooooo!

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  3. Crazy awesome dress! I love the eye on the back. Well worth the $ and a fantastic souvenir!

    (I would even deem that dress "flizerce," my word verification!)

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  4. That is one amazing dress! I love it! the cuff is so pretty, gotta love a great piece of jewelry that comes with great memories...

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  5. WOW that is an outstanding dress!
    We have a Desigual shop... but I have never been to it...

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  6. LOVE LOVE LOVE the dress...inpires me to make more funky dresses out of upholstery fabric!!

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  7. I'm so glad you had a great time in London! It's weird seeing all "my" sights, but with you in the picture! :-)

    We're off to London on Sunday - we've got a German student staying with us at the moment - perhaps I'll investigate doing the dome!

    fab dress too!

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  8. How very unusual and "you" the dress! I could look at it for hours and still not see all its colors, shapes and scenes!

    It stands in contrast to the sedate and grey of the cathedral, etc.

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  9. WOW, that dress is stunning! What a great souvenir to bring back!

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  10. Coolest dress ever, and I love the silver cuff. fabulous and so you.

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  11. Sneaky! You aren't evil, just patriotic!

    That is a dress that if not purchased, it would haunt you forever more. Truly amazing!

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  12. Jane, exactly! I gagged in the shoe department. Just gross.

    Sal, of course, now that I'm home, I've seen Desigual in a department store and in my local sample clearance shop! Not this dress, though.

    Kasmira, isn't that the best part? Nice!

    Alison, I know, I do too! I love having jewelry associated with trips.

    Thanks, Lorena! You have to go! They have coats like this.

    Wendy, you would look adorable in this.

    Thanks, Erin! You should totally do that!

    Tat, I bet it is. :) How cool - post if you go there.

    Rebecca, thank you!

    Audi, thanks! I adore it.

    Lesa, thank you!

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  13. Jen, yes! I did ask myself, "Will you regret it if you don't buy this?"

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Sheila