The Parliament, the Big Ben and the Thames...
The Houses of the Parliament , also known as The Palace of Westminster, here seen from across the river Thames are the political center of the United Kingdom.
Although the current Gothic-style building dates from the mid-19th century, the site has been a royal palace since the 11th century.
There's not much else to do at the Parliament, of course, it is after all a government building. If you walk around the building, you will find some very impressive artwork and architecture, especially the royal entranceway for the rare visits the Queen might make to Parliament.
The two imposing towers, well known landmarks in London, are the clock tower, named after it’s thirteen ton bell called Big Ben, and Victoria tower, on which's flag pole the Union Jack flies when parliament is sitting. Well... I didn't feel like, but actually it is possible to visit the Houses of the Parliament...
Entry is through St. Stephen’s Entrance, where you can join a queue for the public galleries, known as Strangers Galleries. Debates in the commons take place on Mon. Tues. and Thurs. from 2-30 pm; Wed. & Fri. from 9-30 am.
The busiest and most interesting time to visit the House is during Prime Minister's Question Time. If you wish to attend Prime Minister's Question Time you must book a ticket through your MP or your embassy. Prime Minister’s Question Time is on Wed. from 12pm - 12-30pm.
The House of Lords sit on Mon. - Wed. From 2-30; On Thurs. From 3pm; If a sitting takes place on Friday it commences at 11am.
Both houses recess at Christmas, Easter and from August to mid October.
Wobbly Millennuim Bridge
London's Millennium Bridge is the first pedestrian river crossing over the Thames in central London for more than a century.
It is a 325m steel bridge linking the City of London at St. Paul's Cathedral with the Tate Modern Gallery at Bankside.
Shame it doesn't wobble anymore.
VT Holger's in Town meeting
Its always nice to meeting friends new and old at the great VT meets. This time around I was meeting Holger in the hope I could convince him to support Chelsea next season. Well my team in Germany is Bayern Munich, but I'll be keeping an eye on the German bundesliga division 2 for Borussia M'galdbach *winkygrin* Just joking Holger.
We started the evening off to see the illumantions of London and went to the Horniman at hays bar right opposite the famous HMS Belfast.
Familiarize yourself a little...
Familiarize yourself a little with UK's political structure.
The UK Parliament is composed of 2 Houses:
1) The House of Lords
* Also known as the Upper House (cannot refuse the passage of a bill, but can suspend one).
* Lord Chancellor presides over this House.
* Highest court of appeal in UK.
* 3 categories: More than 1000 hereditary peers sit in this house.
* i) Hereditary peers.
* ii) Life peers. (Largest group)
* iii) Spiritual peers. (26 members, all bishops of the Anglican Church)
2) The House of Commons
* In 1689, William III & Queen Mary signed the Bill of Rights.
* In 1701 Parliament drew up the rules of royal succession thereby controling sovereignty.
* In 1928, women gained the right to vote.
* When Members of Parliament vote, they leave the Chamber either by the 'Aye' corrider or the 'No' corridor. Outside, votes are counted by party 'whips'.
MPs assemble in House of Commons under the chairmanship of the Speaker. The Speaker is in control & chooses who to speak. Every member addresses the Speaker & never one another.
Not really anything to worry...
Not really anything to worry about cultural wise here. You have to pay to use public restrooms is all I can think of! While you're here, check out the Westminster Abbey. Dress is casual to normal I would say, and bundle up in the winter and spring because you'll get awfully cold if it rains.