Sunday, November 08, 2009

The London Vacation

London turned out wonderful, I spent about a week of my time in London and I have fallen in love with the city, which I only realized some time later after leaving the city. I so want to go there again.


From UK Trip October 2009



From UK Trip October 2009


From UK Trip October 2009



The starbucks shops at almost ever 2 blocks - As I walked I would typically take a starbucks Chai tea latte to sip on (When in London, drink Tea) ; the Underground metro train system; the pretty efficient bus system, a spectacular night life which is live till 3 AM and also afterwards on the streets. The splendid British accent spoken English and a great mix of modern and historic architecture, London has just about everything you can want from a city. I explored the city by Tube/Underground and Bus using the oyster pay as u go card. I was arguing with my host, Ankur about San Francisco being equally multicultaral and lively but in retrospect London beats SF in those regards.


From UK Trip October 2009




The first two days were spent relaxing and coming in to the holiday mood. The only significant I and Ankur was going to Trafalgar square to see the "Diwali in London" festival which promised much more than what actually happened and was slightly disappointing and we decided to rather skip it and walk around river Thames all the way to Big Ben.


From UK Trip October 2009


At the middle of day2 I decided to head off to Edinburgh, which is mentioned in a future post.

Day 3: The old city of London Tour
Went around the main tourist attraction taking the http://www.newlondon-tours.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=13&Itemid=27 New Sandman's Old city tour. Interesting pieces of info from the tour: London bridge isn't as fancy as it seems like, Most of the building however old they look are pretty much just 100-300 years old reconstruction of the original once which seems to have gone down 3-4 times each. Heard stories about Knights templar, specially their banking system. Evening was spent was a Couch surfing meeting at the Irish pub O'neil followed by watching movie "Sin Nombre" in Prince Charles cinema (I totally loved the movie, almost everyone did although it had a slightly tragic ending, well it was not Bollywood movie after all :D)

From UK Trip October 2009



From UK Trip October 2009


From UK Trip October 2009





Day 4: Buckingham palace, Westminster Catheral and abbey, Big Ben and Ceilidh dancing

Went around Westminster city, Buckingham palace, Google London office - which to my surprise didn't look very remarkable from outside, however the interior decoration was pretty good and most ideas were based on London theme, Westminster cathedral (Free!), St Paul's, Westminster's abbey, Big Ben. Then took random train journeys to Notting Hill Gate, Ealing Broadway before coming to Camden Town to attend the Ceilidh dancing event at the Cecil's Sharp House on the Friday evening.






From UK Trip October 2009






From UK Trip October 2009

Ceilidh dancing was among the best things I did on the trip. If you are in UK you must try searching for Ceilidh dancing events, quite a few of them happen on the weekends in Scotland as well as London.

Day 5: St. Paul's Cathedral, London Bridge, Tower Bridge, Millennium bridge and Tate modern.

Another day of sight seeing, I decided to start by visiting St. Paul's cathedral which besides being famous for its splendidness and history also provides one of the best Panoramic views of the city from the top.
I dedicate the rest of the day to the bridges and walking around them and river Thames. Much as I remember I walked across about 5 bridges including, Tower bridge, London Bridge, Millennium bridge and two others. Also went to see the Tate modern which didn't make much sense to me with all the modern art exhibits but its free entry so you can always give it a shot. In the evening I joined the New Sandman group's Pub crawl during which I met quite a few interesting people many of which became Friends.


From UK Trip October 2009

From UK Trip October 2009


This night I heard one of the funniest thing ever that was at Leicester square, the police caught a guy and while hand cuffing he said "You are arresting me because you are pu**ies", I so wished someone had a camera phone recording it and uploaded it to you tube. People do get crazy after drinking :P

Then my struggle of finding a Bus to home began and I cursed the Underground system for closing down and not being available. Night buses and transport didn't really feel as easy as did day transport and felt quite a challenge to accomplish in some cases because of multiple bus stands at every place offering different bus services and hardly any routing mechanism.

Day 6: The Temple Church, Greenwich and East Ham

This was effectively the last day in London as I had to catch flight next morning. There was quite a lot to see still. I started with a visit to the Temple's church (which is typically close on Sunday but was open this time). The stories and photos within the temple are pretty fascinating as is the architecture of the Church. then I decided to head to Greenwich. I thought it was probably some small place from where the Longitude goes across but it was almost a different suburb of London. It is more like a small town in fact. So I spent about 3-4 hours walking and watching the sights around which included a long round trip walk through the Greenwich tunnel, a walk around river side watching Greenwich university and other buildings from across the river (Thames).


From UK Trip October 2009


Now I wanted to go to see the Meridian and I figured that was in side the Greenwich Public Park, quite a long walk and I just about made it to the observatory but it was closed. Still the longitude is marked outside the observatory for about 100 meters and you can easily get some good photos on the road within the park.



From UK Trip October 2009

My plans to go to Wimbledon didn't work out, as it was already pretty late and the folks I met at the park were going to get some South Indian meal and I decided to tag along. The whole evening from about 6 PM to about 12:30 AM was then spent just for the dinner at Chennai Dosas in East Ham. Reaching East ham on a Sunday evening turned out to be quite tough, as we spent about 2 hours 30 minutes to reach our destinations talking trains and buses and walking quite a lot. It came to me as a surprise that few Underground stations were closed as early as 7 PM on weekends. Anyhow with a combination of few buses, we figured our way out.

3 comments:

  1. Great posting! I love London too.

    One of my favorite musuems was made for people who love London: The Museum of London, which is about three or four blocks north of St. Paul's on the border of the Barbican.

    ReplyDelete
  2. @Lisa: Thanks!

    I actually started appreciating London more as I watched some movies recently reminding me of the city. Back there I got disappointed with lack of public transport during late night, I realize the Underground is just so amazing that night buses can't match the quality :)

    This time around, I could not visit Museums at all, just vising the famous landmarks, buildings took all the time. I will check out Museum of London next time for sure.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ha, yes, movies set in London always make me want to book a flight. I like the buses because of the view, but late at night, yeah, not so great.

    In my several trips to England, I've never made it to the Temple Church or Tower of London. Hmmm.

    You'll have another great time on your next trip.

    ReplyDelete