Monday, July 13, 2009

Blessing in Disguise

I live in the flat world of north Texas. My son has a second floor bedroom, but I don't go there. I was not prepared for our vacation.

After being in London for a few days, I've climbed several thousand stairs.

How so? To begin with, London is hilly with a river running through it, so stairs and inclines are everywhere. Underneath London there is a network of tunnels for several layers of trains. Scooting around London on these "tube" lines means up and down stairs to change altitude. (Is it altitude if you are underground?)
Using a bus means a climb to sit on the top deck. The tourist sites include steps - whether it's climbing the turrets of the Bloody Tower or the White Tower at the Tower of London, climbing down to and up from Churchill's bunkers, climbing the steps from street level to bridge across the Thames, or climbing the 530 steps to the top of St. Paul's Cathedral.
And in a moment of insanity, I descended halfway down from the top of St. Paul's only to go back to the top one more time to take a picture I missed the first time. Actually, it was to take a picture my son decided he wanted. He owes me, big time. It is a neat picture, though, a picture of the floor of the cathedral you could take through a peephole, and I'm glad we have it.

Every time we eat fast food we order our food on the ground floor and then eat at tables either upstairs or downstairs. And there are 44 stair steps from the hotel lobby to our third floor hotel room, which we climb at least three times a day.

I cannot adequately describe how intensely my legs and ankles and feet hurt after five days in London.

On our sixth day, we take a day trip to Stonehenge and the town of Salisbury. The nearly two hour train ride, sitting down, is pleasant. The climb to the second level of the bus is manageable. The leisurely stroll around the gentle slope of Stonehenge is pleasant.
We spend some time at Old Saren Castle, with some slopes to climb, but nothing difficult. Then we head back to the town of Salisbury, with the primary agenda to see the Salisbury Cathedral. It's peak is the tallest in England. There are 345 steps up to the base of the steeple.
When we arrive at the cathedral we discover that the tower can only be climbed as part of the guided tour, which is already full for the day. So I'm left on the ground with the common folk, impressed and awed, but a little disappointed that the climb will have to wait for another time.

Disappointed, that is, until I wake up the morning of day seven and, miracle of miracles, nothing hurts!


Ricky said...

Just had to put in a picture of my rear view, didn't you!

Sherry said...

It sounds like you had a great trip. I'm so glad for you. I love the pictures-even of Rick's behind :).

Wiley said...

It's 44 steps down to the ground floor from our room. And it was you who wanted to take that picture.

Life in the Fifties said...

I corrected my counting error, but there's no way I would have gone up to the top a second time without you! (Do you like the picture?)