A visit to the Palace of Westminster

parliament-across-thames

Every once a year or so I take a train trip to London. I’m not a great tourist, but I like visiting London – even if only to make me glad I don’t actually live there. Sometimes I end up walking aimlessly around, so this year I targeted a few things to do.

First up was Watkins – an esoteric bookshop on Cecil Road. But, after making the trip, I didn’t feel like spending much time there. I was mostly glad to see some new titles by Sri Chinmoy in the downstairs section, and that was about it. Then I went to the London Eye to get a nice view of London in the sun, but, unfortunately, it was closed for maintenance. The walk by the Thames did compensate quite a bit though.

After ticking off my list of two items to do (one partial success, one failure) I wondered into Parliament Square. I once went to the House of Lords for a function relating to the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run. But, I’ve never been in the House of Commons so thought it would be good to go in. Since I’ve given up politics for my New Years Resolution, I thought I could make an exception to see politicians in the flesh. But, the gallery was full, and I didn’t feel like waiting.

I never really knew, but Westminster Abbey is just across the road. Rich in English and World History, I thought I ought to go at least once in this lifetime, and so I overcame my Yorkshire heritage, and spent £20 to enter.

It was impressive architecture and an even more impressive list of famous names – from the romantic poets to great kings and queens, but I was a little dissappointed. If Westminster Abbey is the spiritual heart of the nation, I somehow expected to find a room of silence and quiet – a sanctuary for meditation and prayer in the bustle of the capital’s heart. But, if there was such a place, I couldn’t find it. No refuge from packs of tourists and the chatter of audio guides. Perhaps one day, in the future.

thames-parliament

Parliament across the River Thames

Houses of Parliament. Westminster Bridge

Houses of Parliament.

London Eye

London Eye and Millennium Bridge

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