Posted by: 2girls2europe | June 24, 2011

The House of Parliament Private Tour: Jessie’s Perspective

Dearest Readers,

So today, Gina and I woke up at 4:45 a.m. and did the following: went on a taxi to get to the metro to get to the train to get to the plane to get to the bus to get to the hostel. Planes, trains and automobiles ain’t got nothin’ on us. We used every form of transportation barring those on the water.
But I wanted to tell you all about the Parliament Trip in full detail, because it blew my mind. I dedicate this post to my Grandmother, Shirley Cadle, who planned this meeting.
So first of all, we went to the Peers Entrance (because we are peers to Lords of course), and met his Lordship. We tried to pretend like we fit in with all the classy people there (we did not). In order to meet him, we had to tell a policeman that we had an Appointment with Lord Griffiths of Burry Port. This is real life.
Lord Griffiths is the lead Minister at Wesley’s Chapel, basically the most important Methodist church in the world. He was an incredible host. This man has met the Queen and our President, and he took two hours of his day to show us around. Of course. I have the best Grandmother ever.
Anyway, he started out by showing us probably the most beautiful rooms I have ever seen full of murals of Britain succeeding in various wars and busts of the Monarchy. He even showed us where the Queen sits when she visits. (Yes, I was tempted to sit there myself, but thought better of it.) There are three carpets that tell you where you are in the House of Parliament: Green carpet for the House of Commons, Blue carpet for the Royal Section and Red carpet for the House of Lords.
Weird side note: You cannot stop moving on the blue carpet. Why? I couldn’t tell you. I wanted to try and see what would happen. What can they do? Push you?
Anywho, the House of Lords is an appointed branch. And on this visiting day, they were having an incredibly important debate: should the House of Lords be reformed so that members are voted in? We actually sat in on the debate. One speaker was so powerful. He basically said that the house members, of which he was one, had to realize that they were appointed with little legitimacy. It was really interesting and moving.
On the way to the debate, Lord Griffiths, he wanted me to call him Leslie, um … when you are a Lord, I will call you Lord. Anywho (there’s my made up word again), he introduced us to passersby like Margaret Thatcher’s main Minister and Tony Blair’s former Whip. Turns out, one leading physician we met went to Pittsburgh University for a stint … the world is small my friends.
Then, Lord Griffiths bought us drinks. Of course. Just having drinks in a room full of people who are the most important decision makers in the UK. Typical day, no?
Then we went to see the House of Commons debate about economics. He ended the tour by taking us through a gorgeous secret private chapel, and then he led us into a broom closet. Yes, a broom closet. A woman had spent the night there to make her vote count on the census, thus helping women gain the vote. It was magical.
As he said goodbye, he shared this tale: A few weeks ago he shook hands with President Obama, and his friends saw him on television and asked what he had said to Obama. He claims that this was the dialogue:
Obama: Hey Les, I didn’t expect to see you here!
Lord Griffiths: It’s always lovely to see you Mister President.
Obama: Just wait until I tell Michelle.
Hahaha. I cannot confirm or deny if this story is true, but how can you not love a Lord who tells tales such as these. He treated us truly as peers. And so we exited, our jaws on the ground. It was the most surreal experience thus far, and it was our favorite part of the trip!

Whaaa?

Now we are in Dublin, and tomorrow we are off to see some cliffs with our Hostel.
With love from Dublin!

——
Jessie

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Responses

  1. Jess,
    That is absolutely amazing!!! How fortunate you both are to have had that experience. How about the woman hiding in the broom closet???? Aw to be american and not have to do such things…
    Enjoy Ireland, you may be the tallest woman there!
    Stacie


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