Feel London. Touch the walls of Saint Paul’s Cathedral, sit in the seat that Charles Dickens frequented at the Cheshire Cheese pub and run your fingers over the old and new architecture mashed together in the City of London. Textures allow this place to come alive and radiate not only a history of London, but the true makeup of its people.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
St. Paul’s Cathedral is an iconic symbol of the city of London. Despite many tries by Germany to crumble the church during World War II, the walls stood strong because of the extreme precautions and efforts the people took to protect it. The cathedral is a symbol of hope that radiates through the building and is felt by simply standing near its walls.
The outer layer rough walls are spotted with small craters that serve as remnants of the past war. Recently, the outer walls were cleaned to expose the naked scars left on the church from shrapnel. London wants to make clear that this church went through battle and suffering like everyone else did at that time, but it is one of the few that remains standing.
Londoners made sure that it would never crumble. In fact, during the war, volunteers strapped themselves to the top of the church to extinguish incoming bombs that may damage the structure.
Running my hands over the wounds in the side of the cathedral allowed me to understand why Londoners, past and present, look at the building in a loving way.
Cheshire Cheese pub
The Cheshire Cheese pub is a pretty cool place. Charles Dickens, Mark Twain and Samuel Johnson frequented the pub.
I sat in the seat that Charles Dickens often drank. I ran my fingers over the wood that witnessed the beginnings of creative writings important to our culture. The hard seat seemed barely comfortable enough to pour out a classic novel.
I touched the wall that the original draft of The Tale of Two Cities hung proudly. How remarkable— one of the greatest books of all time is not being preserved in a museum, but a pub!
Pubs are where it all starts in London, they are the community meeting place and observe much of what is happening here.
Since I have been here we have eaten in several pubs and seen the activity that goes on there. Throughout the weekdays, working people—usually men dressed in fine suits—eat and drink, socializing with friends there.
They are not like American bars. No one appears drunk and sloppy. The interior is cozy, warm and classy. People do not come to get wasted or be loud. Yes, most of them carry a beer, but it seems more like a beverage here and less like a device for mischief.