“Never did sun more beautifully steep / In his first splendor, valley, rock, or hill; / Ne’er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep! / The river glideth at his own sweet will: / Dear God! The very houses seem asleep; / And all that mighty heart is lying still!” (Upon Westminster Bridge- William Wordsworth)
Visiting London in winter is bliss. Yes, you don’t see much open at 8am in the morning or open after 5pm in the evening. Also since it is the festive season, most museums and palaces are closed. And it is cold. But look at the other side – it is not crowded at all!
And on one such morning, Alphina and I hired a Barclays cycle from a docking station right next to our hotel and rode into the mist. Right after Christmas, the chilly wind scarring our tropical-climate-accustomed faces. But the ride was magical to me. To pass signs that read Westminster Abbey, Vincent Square, etc., on a bicycle, at 7 in the morning, with no one on the streets. Nothing can beat this. Perhaps this ride is the main reason why I’ve fallen in love with London. As I rode the streets thickly layered, I recalled a poem by William Wordsworth, ‘Upon Westminster Bridge’. A poem I had read long back. But the picture of the poet standing on the bridge and looking at the Westminster Abbey and Parliament buildings had vividly formed itself in my head. And in this picture, the mighty Thames ran!
We passed the Tower of London and at that moment, my heart began pounding. To know that I was going to cycle where Wordsworth had once stood, take in the exact same things that he had once and also in addition, stare at the wondrous London Eye on the other side (which he didn’t!) gave me the jitters! Then imagine what the real cycle ride would have done?!
What better than the poem to describe what calm we felt! An experience for which I will never stop thanking God!
Location: Westminster Bridge, London.