Friday, January 22, 2016

St. Paul's Cathedral

When I saw St. Paul’s Cathedral for the first time I was intrigued by its well-known dome. I knew that you could climb stairs to the top of it to look out and see London for miles. What I thought was just a nice touch to a church turned out to have much more meaning. According to a guidebook about the cathedral, it is built in the shape of a cross. The dome is right above the meeting point of the arms of the cross. Worship takes place in the space underneath the dome. People from different walks of life come together near the altar to pray and celebrate the Eucharist. The current cathedral is the fifth one to have stood on the exact site of the first one that was built in AD 604. It was built sometime between 1675 and 1711. It’s amazing to think that a church built hundreds of years ago is still in authentic and pristine condition. The St. Paul’s Cathedral is a working church that is part of the Church of England and serves all people regardless of faith. 

My visit was very meaningful because I faced my reoccurring fear of heights by climbing up and down 1000 narrow and winding steps to reach the top of the cathedral. I had a beautiful view of London from up there. I loved that I was able to see things that I recognized within the city such as Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the Shard, and the London Eye. It really put the pieces of my journey through the city together.

This was my first time leaving the United States so it took a little bit of time to adjust to certain things. Britain is similar to the U.S. in some ways but still different. It was fun to step out of my comfort zone though! I thought driving my car got me to places fairly quickly in U.S. but I was amazed how quickly I could get across London by taking the tube. Although the tube was sometimes crowded and sometimes stations shut down, you could hop on another line and still get to a place faster than you could if you were stuck in a traffic jam. The currency is fairly similar but Britain uses more coins. In the U.S. the most valuable coin that is most often used is worth 25 cents but in Britain theirs is worth 2 pounds (which is more than 2 U.S. dollars!) In Britain a 1 “dollar bill” is unheard of because their equivalent is in the form of a coin too. It took some time to figure out what all of the coins looked like and how much they were worth. The most important thing I learned on this trip is that cultures may have noticeable differences but that doesn’t make one culture right and one wrong. Normal is based on what surrounds you and doesn't apply to everyone around the world. The differences make places unique! This trip has made me want to explore even more of the world and I look forward to experiencing places in the future that are even less similar to the U.S.

Blog post by: Bailey Rickels

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