This is an attempt to push forward the previous blogs written but never published... ;-p
Day 30 April 2005 - London
After making elaborate plans on the previous day for visiting London, we started with zest on the clear Saturday morning. After shelling out considerable pounds for the network card and all day London train tickets, we were aboard the train to waterloo. The train went to Waterloo and we were lucky to catch forty winks en route.
After disembarking at Waterloo and armed with the tube map, we turned to the underground tube to help us reach London Bridge station. As luck would have it, I got into the tube and the door closed behind me, separating me from my colleagues traveling with me. A scene cut right out from Dil Chahta Hai, placing me in Aamir’s place and my colleagues collectively as Priety Zinta(though they weren’t as scared!!). Luckily, the London Bridge station was a stone’s throw away and my friends reached there by the next tube in ten minutes. After a brief joyous reunion, we walked towards the legendary monument “The London Bridge”.
After a short walk through the streets of London, the historic bridge appeared before our eyes, proudly standing, connecting the two banks of the famous Thames. Standing on the worldly renowned bridge in the world’s one of the most famous cities made me feel like a famous person myself. After admiring the majestic viaduct for considerable time, we saw the HMS Belfast, the warship permanently moored on Thames. HMS Belfast boasting of being the best warship of its times, awed us too. The newly built City Hall is one of the best buildings on the bank of Thames. (Seems they spent around a million to select the unique name -'City Hall'...lol)
Next, the Tower of London beckoned us to witness the centuries of histories inscribed in the walls by prisoners and the artifacts, including the weaponry, barrels of gunpowder, life size models of he royal steeds and knights in their complete regalia. The Jewel tower had the world’s biggest diamond Cullinan and India’s own Kohinoor diamond studded in the Victorian crown. The live video of coronation Queen Elizabeth II kept our eyes glues to the screen to see the sheer majesty of her majesty’s elaborate ritual and to see the wealth looted from the world in centuries bygone.
The Bloody Tower made us shudder at the kind of torture, the prisoners had to undergo. The guide in the tower of London had us reeling in laughter with the English sense of humor whilst he explained the gore history of the very place we were standing. After hearing about the treasons, tortures, convictions, murders and executions in the Tower of London, our hungry tummies took us to the roadside shop where we had to eat and be content with some tomato and cheese put between two pieces of bread, they call it lunch…huh.
Thereafter, we went on the refreshing and splendid cruise on River Thames on board ‘The millennium of Peace”. The crew was very kind to explain the buildings and places we could see on our cruise on the banks of the majestic river Thames. The buildings ranged from interesting hotels (including ‘The Grapes’, where Dickens completed Oliver Twist) to HSBC and Citibank headquarters, various docks, floating pubs, Mayflower pub et al. En route, we were awed by Greenwich which gives us the GMT. We turned from there towards Westminster. This route also held us spellbound as we looked on the wonders of this ancient center of trade.
The London Eye, the biggest ferry wheel in the world, the brainchild of British Airways left us gaping. The view of London from London eye capsule was remarkable. Big Ben, the parliament, with its clock tower and gold crowning stood proud and gallant right next to the Westminster Bridge. An old man playing on his bagpiper in the traditional Scottish frock enthralled us for sometime.
After having a small meal at McD’s, we were back on our way to 'Reading'. A lot of London remains to be seen. That’ll be another day….