Westminster Cathedral review
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Westminster Cathedral is the nuttiest church in London. It's covered in classical columns, checkerboard walls, stained glass windows, Roman mosaics, stripes and spirals, stone statues of saints and angels and birds... and that's just out the front! I don't know who submitted the architectural plans, but they were clearly drunk. I bet they had a lot of explaining to do when they turned up at the Pearly Gates.
When you step inside the front door it gets even better, because it magically transforms into a dark and gloomy cavern with a ceiling like no other in London -- it looks like the inside of a chimney. It looks like the inside of a railway tunnel. Imagine the interior of St. Paul's, but with soot in place of gold. The entire roof is coloured in nothing but old smoke and charcoal, like a night sky with no stars. The stars are hanging fifteen feet off the floor, on iron chandeliers.
The columns up the side of the aisles are all brightly coloured marble, with those swirling shapes you sometimes see when petrol falls on water. It's when you look inside the chapels that you'll finally find the gold. I'm looking at one right now that has a golden mosaic all over the ceiling, and a lonely old codger slumped over on a seat, catching a few zzz's on the solid stone wall. I can see another old lady checking out her horoscopes in a national newspaper. Obviously God isn't working for her, so she's using astrology as a back-up. God couldn't help so she's trying Mystic Meg instead. If Mystic Meg doesn't work then she'll give Russell Grant a go. After that she'll start buying packs of magical crystals from QVC.
I've decided to light a candle just for the hell of it -- just because I like the light. Some people light them as an offering to God, but I just want to burn something. I'm not making a wish, though -- forget that. I can see some pious types doing that across the other side of the nave, crossing their foreheads and saying a quick little prayer with their finger on their lips, but I'd feel like a phoney. Lighting a candle and saying a prayer in this place is just the adult version of blowing out the candles on your birthday cake.
Because Westminster Cathedral is still relatively new, they haven't accumulated much in the way of history. So don't come here expecting to see a lot of historic old tombs inside, because there aren't any. But what they have instead is a 273 feet bell tower with an observation platform at the top. And the best thing about it is this: there are no stairs! They've actually installed a lift for lazy people like me.
Try and find the dome of St. Paul's without looking at the placard -- that should be relatively easy. Nelson's Column shouldn't be too difficult, either (just follow The Mall). The giant arch of Wembley Stadium is a little bit harder. And if you can manage to spot the Natural History Museum and the V&A Museum without any help, then you're an absolute genius (even I struggled with those).
Perched on top of the bell tower is a bronze crucifix that is supposed to contain a thin slither of the one True Cross -- the one that Jesus was crucified on. I don't believe in all of that nonsense, but what do I know? I'm just here for the view.
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