March 8, 2015
Andrew Cortez

Chapter 3 - Views from Above
Some of the most memorable experiences on my journey have been from above the cities I have visited. 

My first and favorite view from above was on top of St. Paul's Cathedral.  At the base of the tower, the guard made sure I did not have any heart problems or conditions that would affect me in my climb of the 528 steps to the upper gallery which looks over the city of London.  After the first set of 259 steps I made it to the whispering gallery which runs on the interior of the dome where you can look down on the cathedral floor.  After 378 steps from the floor I reached the Stone Gallery which is on the exterior of the dome and has a high wall with openings to view 360 degrees of London.  The path around the dome was 10 feet wide to made it easy to circulate with the many people trying to get the best view.  Finally after climbing the remaining 150 steps I was rewarded by making it to the highest point of the Cathedral called the Golden Gallery.  At this point the corridor and staircase narrowed to about 2 feet wide which made it difficult to maneuver through the people to get to the outside gallery.  Finally after pushing through the crowd I was amazed by the view at 280 feet above London.  While my legs were shaking trying to hold on from the wind passing by, I took a panoramic shot of London which included the River Thames, Tate Modern, and Tower Bridge. 

 St Pauls - 1

View from St. Paul's Cathedral, London, England

St Pauls - 2 

View from St. Paul's Cathedral, London, England

 One of my day trips from London was to check out Bath, England.  I made it to Alexandra Park which is just to the south of the city center.  I hiked through this small town of steep roads with houses that sat in this lush forest of trees and plants.  I made it up the hill and took in the view of Bath Abbey and St. John's Presbytery.

 Bath - 1

View from Alexandra Park in Bath, England

Bath - 2 

View from Alexandra Park in Bath, England

 Another weekend trip took me to Barcelona, Spain.  There were a few different spots to get views from the city, including Sagrada familia, and Park Guell.  At Sagrada Familia, visitors take the elevator to the top instead of climbing steps.  They limit the number of people that can go to the top at one time, which is in contrast to St. Paul's Cathedral.  It was nice to look out at the city of Barcelona without wall to wall crowds.  I took in the fresh breezes and bright blue skies looking down on the city center, and the ocean. 

Sagrada Familia - 2

View from Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain 

Sagrada Familia - 1

View from Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain 

 I also hiked up Park Guell where I looked down on the neighborhoods and some of the colorful graffiti of the city. 

Park Guell - 1

View from Park Guell, Barcelona Spain

Park Guell - 2

View from Park Guell, Barcelona Spain 

This weekend I made it to Edinburgh, Scotland.  The city has many different elevation changes such as Coltums Hill, Arthur's Seat, and Edinburgh Castle.  My favorite was Arthur's Seat which was an existing active volcano.  The hike up the steep path to the summit took about an hour, but I was rewarded with amazing views at 822 feet above the city. 

Arthurs Seat - 3

View from Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh, Scotland 

Arthurs Seat - 2

View from Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh, Scotland

Although most of the day it was cloudy and foggy and Edinburgh, I did get some great shots of the sunset behind the clouds. 

Arthurs Seat - 1

View from Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh, Scotland 

Edinburgh Castle sits atop a hill in the center of the city. After climbing to the top of the Castle, it is clear why this was a good location to set up a fortress in the iron age.

Edinburgh Castle - 1

View from Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland 

Edinburgh Castle - 2

View from Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland 

In Berkshire, England, the skyline is dominated by Windsor Castle.  The walk from the train station was a gradual increase in slope until reaching the summit of Windsor Castle, which is currently a Royal family residence. 

Windsor - 1

View from Windsor Castle, Berkshire, England 

Another great view of London is to the east in Greenwich, England. Greenwich is home to the Prime Meridian and the Royal Observatory.  It sits atop a hill that rises from the River Thames and allows great views of the Docklands and the 02 Arena. 

Greenwich - 1

View from Royal Observatory, Greenwich, England

Greenwich - 2

02 Arena View from Royal Observatory, Greenwich, England

Check out the rest of my photos of my Journey Through London at

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Tagged @HKSXchange, Andrew Cortez, Dallas, HKS London

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