It's a strange experience going to visit and view cathedrals as a tourist. All over the world, Churches and Cathedrals are open to, and thrive on, visits from tourists. Concurrently, they remain primary houses of worship for their immediate communities and many others. I experience the same contrary emotions each time I visit a church or cathedral; a desire to see and absorb the art and architecture of the building and the quick dilution of that desire that comes with the first glimpse of a man crying quietly during confession or woman sitting in the pews staring reflectively down at the altar or off into her own mindscape. The quick clicks of hungry cameras and the ambient noise of hushed conversation seems abrasively loud and my own presence intrusive. I'm not sure if the patrons notice or care about the excess activity, considering they are probably there with bigger issues to address. More likely, this is just a self-conscious observation.
Maybe I need to adjust the purpose of my visit. Leave the tourists and join the soul searchers in the pews.
The silver lining of the "tourists in a house of worship" conundrum: Snack stands right outside the doors when you leave.