Click here if you missed Day 15.
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We were nearing the end of our vacation and there were still quite a few places in our itinerary. On top of the list was Westminster Abbey. We’ve tried to visit a couple of times but the  line was always too long, and it was closed a few days before and after the Royal Wedding. So on this morning, 2 days before we fly back to Manila, we woke up early yet again and headed to the city for our last attempt.

It was raining. For the first time since we arrived in the UK, we got to use our brand new umbrella. We had to buy a “wind-proof” one as per my brother-in-law’s recommendation. Nothing special actually. And we got it from SM Department Store.

As usual, the line outside Westminster Abbey was very long. Probably much longer now with the renewed interest in the church after the wedding of the decade.

We decided not to waste so much time lining up to get inside the church, and to just snap a few photos outside before going to our next stop.

We then rushed back into the street and walked towards the nearest tube station. Before we got to the station, we spotted a cab with a huge decal of a Philippine tourism campaign. Cook!

Our next stop was St. Paul’s Cathedral. I was interested to see it because it was designed by famed architect Sir Christopher Wren who is popular for his spectacular domes.

Before we went inside, we made a toilet stop and was delighted to find an automated public toilet similar to what we saw in Belfast, only a bit smaller.

We first explored the gardens. It was drizzling though so we didn’t stay long outside.

 The architecture was amazing, though not as elaborate as the Westminster Abbey.

Photography wasn’t allowed inside so we didn’t have photos. We just went around to explore the interiors. We found out that we could climb up the dome. There was a warning though, that there are more than 500 steps to get to the top gallery. One can choose to go up 259 steps to the first level. Once you decide to go further, there is no turning back as the stairs would be too narrow for two people to pass through. I got worried because not only was it going to be a steep climb. I was afraid it might be too tight and I might get claustrophobic. However, Ariel and my in-laws urged me to go so I did. And I was glad because it was amazing up there. We could see almost all of London.

 The view was breathtaking. We could see the river Thames and its popular bridges.

We spent some time enjoying the view and taking photos before heading back down.

Then we crossed the street to an Italian Restaurant for a pizza and pasta lunch. We were amazed that most patrons (including an old couple at the next table) ordered a pizza per person. We thought the size was big enough for sharing. We ordered two pizzas and one pasta dish to be shared among the four of us. We had leftovers as the serving was quite big.

Our next stop was the Natural History Museum. This was the only museum we visited in the UK. As with many museums in the city, admission was free. We didn’t have a lot of time so we focused on the dinosaur exhibits.

 Finally, we took the tube to our last stop. Abbey Road. When we were planning for the trip, I asked Ariel if he had anything to add to the itinerary I planned. His only wish was to see Abbey Road. He wanted a photo crossing the pedestrian lane that the Beatles made popular in one of their album covers.

At first, I was embarrassed to stand there and take photos of Ariel crossing the street. But I did it anyway, since it was his only request. After a while, tourists started pouring in and did exactly what we did. I didn’t realize there are still many Beatles fans out there.

After our photo op, we just headed back to my brother-in-law’s place for a home-cooked dinner.
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Click here for the final installment of our UK trip.

Written by Alby Laran

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