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London Diary

The last 3 days went off in a flurry. I guess it was a little ambitious to see London in 3-4 days, but I still have another 3 days after I come back.

On the first day, after a really late start, we went walking around the Thames river along the South Bank. It’s a really relaxed place with street performers, skateboarders, heaps of tourists and generally people who didn’t seem like they had much to do! Spent a good 4-5 hours walking around and then headed back home.

The next day, drove down to the beautiful Windsor Castle. Located right on the river Thames, it’s quite an idyllic spot. A bridge crosses from Windsor to Eton, home to the famous and expensive school for the rich and famous here in England. The weather has been beautiful – misty and cloudy in the morning but sunny during the day. So, I guess I have been lucky. And now I understand the preoccupation with the weather. You can’t but help be obssessed with it. Everything depends on the weather! What you do, where you go and how you feel 🙂

We took a walk around the palace grounds, the royal chambers and then around Windsor town. The hall where Camilla and Charles wed are just outside the grounds. We sat for a while and had coffee and lunch at one of the many cafes dotting the area.

Yesterday, I met up with Jag and Sunrayz and spent most of the time roaming around and getting a flavour of the real London. We must have walked everywhere – Covent Gardens (a most charming place), Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square, Oxford Street etc.

Westminster Abbey

Unfortunately, my camera developed technical problems. Jag and Sunrayz both helped me locate a place where it could be fixed but the bottomline was grim – it would cost a bomb to repair so I would be better off buying a new one. So that’s the bad news.

Anyways, around lunch time we were all beginning to get a little hungry when Jag offered to take us to a place about half hour away called Oriental City somewhere near Wembley. A really interesting place too. It’s like a food court with more than a dozen stalls around it. Each stall offers about 100 items (at least it seemed that way) and you can eat anything from anywhere. There’s Korean, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian and even South Indian! A real foodie’s delight I’d say. I had fried singapore noodles with shredded roast duck, chicken dumplings and then some nice green tea.

After a long lunch, Jag dropped us at Notting Hill and we walked around the Portabella market. Sunrayz was determined to show me the bookshop where Hugh Grant was filmed in the movie Notting Hill. And we finally found it!

Travel Bookshop

I hadn’t been on a bus yet so we caught a double decker to Victoria station. Sunrayz took her leave and I waited for a bus to Victoria station. Little did I know that my real London adventure was yet to begin…

About half an hour later, the bus arrived and deposited me at Waterloo. At the station, I find out that the trains going south have been cancelled/delayed and none of the boards displayed the station where I needed to head to get to my friend’s house. Apparently, there had been a fatality somewhere near Wimbledon station. (I thought that if trains were cancelled due to fatalities in Mumbai, there would be cancellations everyday, what with several deaths on the lines being a regular affair).

Anyway, after about 15 minutes I called my friend. They were heading to Heathrow and advised me to get there instead. So I headed to the underground and took a train north to a station called Paddington (no direct trains to the airport). From Paddington, I boarded a train and realised it was the wrong one and was going nowhere near the airport!

I got down at the next stop and came back to Paddington. This time, I asked someone wearing an orange coat and he pointed vaguely in the direction ahead.

I found platform 6 where I was relieved to see Heathrow Express (I can well imagine what Potter felt like to find Hogwart!). About 20 minutes later, I finally reached Heathrow and was extremely relieved to find friend and her hubby.

In the space of one day in London, I experienced all forms of public transport possible. And it was a good thing too since I have very little time left! I must thank Jag and Sunrayz who spent nearly the whole day with me and showed me around. I had the most wonderful time.

I am off to Barcelona in a few hours and am looking forward to my 2 days there!

A few photos (taken with cameras borrowed from – sis, Jag, Sunrayz)

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