Tuesday, May 24, 2005

A trip to London, England

For a long time I wanted to visit this fascinating place. I finally got my chance last year. Amid doubts as to how to manage the trip with a 5 year old and a toddler, we bravely set out across the ocean.

We did a lot of research and equipped ourselves with a lot of information. We decided to rent a one bedroom apartment for the week, rather than stay at a hotel. With 2 kids, food was something we needed to worry about. We found a charming place in Hyde Park that suited us very well.

We used the Gatwick express to commute between the airport and Victoria, which is very convenient. We also bought Travel Cards that could be used on all tubes, buses and Dockland trains. The best part was, we got all of this from here, online and so, we didn’t have any problems when we landed there.

The hotels there don’t allow check in before 3 or 4 PM. So we left our luggage in the lobby and started our sightseeing bright and early.

The big bus tours are a convenient way to start the trip. The ticket is valid for 24 hours and we could get in and get out at any of the stops. They have guides (some recorded and some live) on the bus. The live ones give some interesting footnotes that make them more interesting.

We had no problems finding good food around the place. Indian restaurants are at every corner. My favorite one was Soho Spice in Soho (of course), they had a very limited menu but very tasty. A lot of them are Bangladeshi, so if you don’t like food steeped in garlic, you need to keep away from them. Veerasamy’s was also good, good ambience and excellent service.

I loved walking around the city. There is so much energy on the streets. Crowded streets, a lot of tourists, and a rich history make it very interesting.

The museums are awesome; my older one loved them. I liked the British Library, especially the Egyptian section there. Greenwich Village is a must. We took the Dockland light and walked under the Thames. That was one of my favorite spots around the river.

I loved the flea market there, found some good books. Loved the fact that I could pick a bunch of Enid Blyton and P.G. Wodehouse books without hunting high and low.

The wax museum was awesome. Took pictures next to Amitabh Bachchan. A pity we missed Aishwarya by a few months.

The London eye was wonderful. Being able to look at London from about 440 feet was great. We went around 4.30PM when the sun was slowly setting, got to take some great pictures.

The Tower of London was interesting. We saw the crown jewels, a lot of them should have rightfully belonged to India and Africa. Saw a bit of the Roman wall nearby.

We made a day trip to Salisbury to see Stonehenge. We took the train from Charing Cross and then a double decker bus ride to Stonehenge. Beautiful country, Salisbury! We even found an Indian restaurant there.

I was not impressed with the change of guards. It felt like much ado about nothing. There are so many elaborate customs and rituals that really amounts to nothing. I am sure we have quite a bit of that back home too.

At the end of the week, I knew one thing for sure. I wanted to come back. I am not sure why, but I felt at home in the narrow and bustling streets amidst crumbling buildings.


Ram.C said...

nice travelogue.....How big was the hole in your wallet when you visited Harrods?

Munimma said...

:-) We just "visited" Harrods. Saw the tribute to Diana there. It hurt to even look at the prices.

My shopping was limited to books mainly. And tea at Fortnum and Mason.

Even then, there was enough of a hole with the stay and food expenses

Balaji said...

nice, helpful post. saving the link in the hope that i'll need to use it later :)