London Dreams- Feb 2009


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May 25th 2009
Published: May 25th 2009
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We always thought that whenever we go to London, it will be my official visit & Sonu's personal along with me.IN fact not only London but also all visits abroad.But you know what, so far its been the opposite. Its always been her official visit & my personal visit.This time was no diffrent.After transitioning from Asia Rates to EMEA Rates in late 2008,Sonu has streamlined the Options piece of EMEA Rates in very short span time.To add to team's knowledge, Management at JPM thought it would be worthwhile to send 2 key people from Mumbai to London for training with Middle office.Ofcourse Sonu was part of that.

After making sure that all shraddha rituals for Baba are done, we left for London on Feb 14th.What could have been a better B'day gift than this to Sonu? Though her ticket was booked thru Office travel desk, luckily our efforts in time paid off & I not only got my UK visa done in time but also got confirmed tickets on the same flight as Sonu ie Kingfisher IT 007 slated for departure at 1.30 pm On Feb 14th.Kingfisher claims to be the only 5 Star airlines in the world & to tell you the truth, that claim is not false.We got the taste of their 5 star service on our 9 hr journey from Mumbai to London. Food, ambiance, IN flight & airport service & ofcourse the staff was a pleasent experience.I never can digest airlines food but here I ate happily both thr times.Departure & arrival was on time. We landed at Heathrow at around 6. 30 pm.

After claiming our baggage, only thing that we were worried was whether the taxi driver (which was booked for Sonu's travel) will allow me to travel from Airport to apartment with her..But that went smoothly. He didnt asked a single question as to who am I & how come I am travelling with her.This time in London, they have booked a plush Central London Apartment called "Merlin" at 30,Queen Street, few blocks away from Bank of England, St.Paul & Tower Bridge Thames Riverwalk as well as Millenium Bridge.It was still Winter so sunset was early.By the time our taxi hit the road, it was dark.We safely reached the apartments by 8.30 pm.

We have heard from our colleagues that Merlin offers one of the best apartment service in London for business & leisure. And at first impression, they lived upto our expectations.It was a spacious 1 BHK with a gallary.First thing that we did after reaching the apartment, is to unwind & get fresh.Though SOnu stay was for 2 weeks there, I had return flight after a week.WHich means that we had 8 days to enjoy our stay together in London. We didnt wanted to waste time & so went to sleep early i/o spend time talking. We were a bit tired from the travel as well.

Next day plan was to get up early & visit a few key attractions. But who would not sleep tight, if you have the best of comforts in the bed.SO ofcourse we got up a bit late but somehow still managed to leave the apartments by 10.30 am.Since next day SOnu was required to report at London Wall office & it was not far awy, we decied that I will show her the way to office & then we would go to Madame Tussads.On the way, we first visited St. Paul Cathedral.It is around 400 years old Church & most famous for its wonderful architecture & interiors.Being Sunday, that day they had some prayers going on & hence some part of the
cathedral was closed for public. But whatever was accessible still offered us good enough view of why its considered to be one of the must see attractions of London.London Wall office is stone throw away from St.Paul & I have been there few times in the past but somehow I still struggled to locate it at first go.But finally I got it. SOnu understood the route which was important for her as she has to follow that from next day onwards.Closest most famous landmark to 125 London Wall office is Museum of London.As the name suggest, this museum carries information abt city of London & the famous events that took place as
it emerged from a Roman colony to be one of the top Finance Center of the world.In fact, its here that I came to know why the area where its situated is called London Wall. When Romans inhibited the city back in 4-5th Century, they settled on the banks of Thames & to secure themselves they actually build a wall around the area of their settlment. SOme remains of that wall are still intact in the premises of Museum Of London.The wall couldnt the taste of time & was demolished somewhere in 16th century but some of the buildings in this area, carry interesting facts of this historical structure on the walls of their ground floor xteriors.Sonu being a pakka Mumbaite, got the flavour the place quicker than me & was not that keen in reading all the history potrayed
there.May be the fact that Britishers ruled India for 150 years was on back of her mind, & resultant unrest kept her interest away.The moment I realised that, I decided to make a move from there to Madame Tussads.

I havent travelled by London Tube that extensively in my past visits here so it took a while for me to get comfortable with various lines that form part of London Tube transport.This apart being Sunday, like Mumbai most of the the maintainance work takes place on weekends & as a result many lines are partially/fully closed.We have to actually walk till Mooregate station to catch the train for Baker Street. We reached Madame Tussads at around 1.30 pm & as usual there was fairly long queue.They have museums in atleast 5-6 other cities in the world. I have been at their New York museum in 2004.But London is where it all started & is considered to be the best. How fortunate Iam to be here with Sonu who is equally excited to take pictures with some the most famous people around the world.It took a while for our turn at the ticket counter.We purchased a Combo of London
eye & Madame Tussads for 35 pounds.(saved us atlest 5 pounds/person).As you enter, you are treated as a celebrity walking the red carpet with numerous photograpsher's cameras blinking to catch a glimpse of you.The red carpet ushers you onto the first hall, which hosts some of the most populer celebrities namely Arnold Schwarzeneggar, Tom Cruise,Julia Roberts, Drew Barrymore,Brad Pitt,Jim Carrey, Angelina Jolie, Will Smith, Jennifer Aniston,John Trovolta among many others.Ofcousrse we took snaps with all of them & they obliged as well ;-) Ones with Jim Carrey, Tom Cruise , Arnold & my fav Jennifer Aniston were
particurly wonderful.Next hall hosts Bollywood stars..AMitabh, Ash, Salman Khan run shoulders with their counterparts in Hollywood like Shaun Connery,Audrey Hepburn, John Wayne etc.What we enjoyed was the funny poses that we came up with for each of them.The photos will testify for this.Next on were sports stars like Mohammad Ali, Lara, Tiger Woods,Beckham, Shane Warne & some key political figuers like Gandhi, Benazir Bhutto, Dalai Lama.Ofcousre there is special section of British Monarchy with replicas of rulling King & queen along with their ancestors standing a few feet away from them. Scientist like Newton,
Einstein, Gallilio also have their space in one area.Latest US president has already won many hearts across the world & it would be a surprise not to see Barack Obama at his Oval office.One can Madame Tussads who is mother of this museum on your way out.Me & Sonu thouroly enjoyed our 2 -3 hours of fame & chance to rub the shoulders with the most famous in the world.Truly a experince to cherish.The experience cudnt end better than a mini London City ride in mini replicas of famous London Black cabs.We signed off from the museum but not before suggesting Sachin Tendulkar as the next person whose statue we would
like to see next time we visit here.Band opposite exit doors, a German person runs a mobile burger shop, selling all types of burgers for 3 pounds.This is the best choice that we have there to meet our hunger.SOnu & Me opted for a veg & Chicken burger respectively followed by a Caffe Mocha at a nearby cafe.It was getting dark now so we decided to go to one of the most happening places in London at night ie Picadilly Circus.We asked for direction to a local Indian Gujju. utility shop owner. He
suggested route 13 from Baker Street to go to Picadilly.Its him who told us that the daily travel card is generally valid for travel in tube as well as buses for that day.Bus arrived shortly & we were on our way to Picadilly.On the way we passed thru Oxford Street which is the famous shoping street in London.Picadilly was crowded as usual.SOnu was quick to point out that its the Times Square of London.Indeed it is.Both of us are really fortunate to have visited both the places!!Its crazy place..there is buzz at this junction.The famous cupid fountain where numerous Hindi movies have bee shot, neon lightings..it was fantastic ;-) I also knew the nearest McDOnalds there which later tuened out to be our adda of this visit!!Sonu enjoyed window shopping at several souveniers shops which are located there before we entered MAcendol for our dinner.It was warm inside as we settle at their basement sitting area.We ate, we discued all the wonderful moments of the day sitting there, enjoying our meal.It was fabulous Day 1 of our London visit.

Next day on Monday was Sonu's first day in London Wall.We both got up early & made it a point that she is at office by 9 am.Since it was day 1, I accompanied her to office.I came back after making sure that she is inn & can return home in evening.I came back at the apartment, got bath, ate breakfast & started my tour.With Sonu full day in office, I had 5 full days till weekend starts. A avid traveller, I have already identified few places that I wanted to visit in next 5 days.On Monday I started off with whats nearest.Past Cannon Street Station, we come at a junction where stands the famous London Monument.This
structure is erected some hundreds of years ago to remember all those who lost their lives in the famous fire of London of year 1667.Exact location where ment is erected also has some importance to the origin of the fire but I dont remember that now.As we walk past monument we reach London Bridge.It is one of the 7-8 bridges that they have over Thames connecting east & west ends of the city.As you reach the middle one can see the Tower Bridge & world War 2 ship parked in Thames few meters away from the bridge.It was at Thistle Tower Hotel that I was put up when I visited London on my maidan voyage abroad in May
2004.I inquired abt the daily travel card, which was to serve as my license to travel the length & breadth of London City over next week.From London Bridge, I picked up Northen Line to reach Oval.Its here that we have the Oval Cricket Ground.Sunil Gavaskar one of his most memorable innings here in 1971 India Tour of England for 221 runs.This home to Surray County doesnt have any stadium tours & only has a small shop. I did some window shopping before catching return tube to Mansion House for some food.I decided to follow this practice in coming days which also saved some money for me which would otherwise have been spent on outside food. Since we were carring home food, it made sense to ect at home i/o outside.Post lunch, destination was Canary Wharf. Its the latest commercial area developed in London as late as in 2001, similer to our Nariman Point.It houses some major banking giants there, namely Citibank, Barclays Bank & Credit Suisse.Wharf is just 10 mins walk from the tube station as you come out.Near the wharf, they have wonderful boardwalk with many shops around.being winter, there were very few people there. But I can imagine how crowded it must be in summer.I sat on one of the benches there enjoying the cool breeze , distant views of Central London skyline.I saw some cruise liners pass by in Thames.Must say that Mayor of London, who is executive in charge of London City Transport, have made optimum use of all natural resources to offer multiple choices to London residents to travel across the city.River transport is one of the most developed & commonly used mode of transport here.By the time, I left I have already made my mind that I will return here with Sonu on the weekends.There was still an hour or so before Sonu returns home from office so I decided to go to Oxford Street to spend time.This is one area which is always crowded like Picadilly with almost all major commercial brands shops here.Its similer to Orchard Roda of Singapore.I walked till Tottenham Road Station & then from there picked up central line to get down at St.Paul.Reached home few mins before SOnu came, but not before capturing St Paul in some unique angles in my camera.

Back home, Sonu had a fairly good day at office,met many of the MO guys.We both shared our days with each other before getting into bed at night.Next day I didnt accomapained her to office as she was now familier with route to & from office.My day 2 places were Wembly Park & Thames Riverwalk along with Lords.Means were fixed already.Dailps y travel card & lunch at home.Follow the most effiCient way to travel given the resources.Wembly is the International centre of Soccer matches & live concerts in London.Its located in Zone 3 so my travel card which was only for Zone 1 & 2, would need journey extention.I
changed for Metropolitan Line at Baker Street to reach Wembly Park.While changing trains at Baker Street, came across a interesting information snippet which talks abt Baker Street is one of the oldest Underground stations build in World in year 1860.While in transit to Wembly I noticed that all major public places like Airport, Stadiums are located on outer sides of London to aviod overcrowding in Central London.One can notice that apart from the stadium there is nothing to see in that area.There is a huge passage directly connected with the station which takes you directly to ticket counters.Its deliberately built to accomodate huge number of people.There are stadium tours available there but I was not interested in those.I took a few rounds at the stadium, visited the stadium shop, before returning home for lunch.POst lunch, I picked up Jubilee Line to get down at St.John Woods Station to reach Lords Cricket Ground.I took wrong direction in the beginning but ultimately reach the grounds, albeit thru a long cut.I was hoping to catch up on one of the tours there but shud have searched on internet beforehand.I reached there by 3 pm & the last tour starts at 2 pm. There was no point spending 8 pounds just to visit the museum.So I saw whatever I could see from outside after making up my mind to return there on weekends for the tour.Every Indian will be pleased to see a big photo of Rahul Dravid hanging from one of the stands along with many others who have created some history at this venue.London Zoo is near to Lords but I decided to drop it from my list.From Lords, I went back to Mansion House & went for a Thames Walk Riverwalk towards Tower Bridge.I cross Thames from Millenium Bridge.From there its abt 20-25 mins walk. I remembered by walks in these lanes in 2004.That time I was not as familier with london as Iam now.Thames was heavily used for transport till man developed modern means of transport like plane & trains.Pieces of history can be found at many places as you pass from the riverwalk.Its a romantic experience to walk past Thames on its boardwalk but unfortunately that time I was alone!!I walked over the Tower Bridge to come at Tower of London.Walking past there I reached Tower Hill & from there I came back at the apartments from London Bridge.Sonu came a bit late that day due to some deliverables.

Next day after sonu left for office, I sat down to decide menu for that day.It took me a while to freeze on Bank of England Museum in first session & then Thames River walk towards Westminster post lunch.Bank of England is central Bank of England & has long history of 200 years plus.The square where its located ie Threadneddle street is one of the classic plazas in London with buildings such as London Stock Exchange,Mayors House, HO of Natwest Bank in surrounding areas.I first went thru the actual bank gate thinking that its the museum but it turned out to be at the back end.BOE like many other museums in London is
free for entry. This is one of ways the government encourges education among its young generation.The exhibits inside are also arranged in a very interesting manner to encourage curiosity & questions in the mind of those who see it.Exhibits walks you the journey of the bank from its inception till its modern day avtar.It has some pieces of furniture as old as age of the bank along with explanation of how inflation works in economy.However among so many things showcased there what I liked the most is a 13 kg Gold bar from the times of Gold Standards which were money standards observed globally till 1930's.One can actually lift it & feel it thru a narrow window.It was good food for thought & knowledge & now it was time for some food for body. I explored the surrounding areas & returned home for lunch.Post lunch I marched towards Westminster on Thames Riverwalk.From SOuthWalk Bridge which was few meters away from our apartments, you can cross the Thames & then start walking towards Westminster.This riverwalk is fun to walk b'use of carnival like environment that you see here.HOrse Rides, Street Performers, candy floss, Musicians ..all of them occupy this path entertaining visitors & passersby.That day I saw Charlie Chaplin,Columbus & few others characters performing on the streets.You get some fantastic views of Parliamentary area as you approach Westminster Bridge.I captured many of those in my camera.Thanx to Amey & his creativity on photos, That also encouraged me to try different things on photos.I contniue walking in same direction till I reached Vauxhall Bridge.Idea was to come towards Westminster from Victoria but there somewhere I misjudged the directions & went the other way.All that extra walk was tiring for sure!!On the way I came across a Cost Cutter shop, where I picked up some snax & milk for home.After atleast an extra hour of exhertion I finally reached Victoria Station.Its one of the main train stations in London & Area around is also full of buzz.Right outside you have a mini version of Big Ben in front of Victoria Opera House building.Road from Victoria to Wsetminster Abbey is fully commercial & has shops on both side s of the road with all global brands.By now, my legs were paining.so I rested for a while on a nearby bench before resuming my walk towards apartment.That day I havnt got Daily Travel card so I was not keen on taking tube.I kept walking, capturing splendour of Westminster area from various angles on the lenses of my camera.Near the river it was windy & I was tired.The last stage of walk from Westminster Bridge to apartment was particurly tiring & i was fully
exchausted by the time I reached the apartment.

Next day on Thursday,I decided to go with Travel Card going by all the hardships that I went thru the day before.On the cards I had Museums.Natural History & Transport Museum & Covent gardens. I first went to South Kesington for Natural History Museum. I never knew that it was holiday season for kids there & they will turn out in such a huge number at the museums.The rush was so much that they actually deactivte the ticket check machines placed at the entranec of the station.Queue has almost reached the station platform.In spite of that I decided to take my chances. Mumbaite can always find shortcuts.I tried as well but
didnt worked.Instead of wasting time waiting in the queue I decided to move towards Transport Museum but not before a peek a boo chance at nearby Victoria & Albert Museum. I have been there in my last visit but being a art museum there are always new shows put up here.The Bhau Daji Lad Museum that we have in Mumbai in the premises of Jijamata Udyan is inspired from this one.Its intersting to note at the entrance at this museum where on the foundation stone its mentioned that this museum was sponsered by King of India & Empress of India in some year in 1800's.Covent Garden was not far away from Kensington.few yards away from Covent Garden station, is London Transport Museum.Fortunately there was less rush here that day. My turn came quickly.This museum is a excelent example of showcasing evolution of Transport of a city.It has actual relicas of modes of transport used in London right from Omnibus to the Tube with chronological events that lead to this evolution over last 200 years.Thames was the only principal mode of transport in 1700's.Its even today but definitely other sophisticated modes have taken over.Its very good learning experience to be here.I never realised how time went by.By 3.30 I left Covent garden for
museums on Kesington again hoping that rush will be less by now.And indeed it was.I have been Science museum last time so this time I focussed on Museum of Natural History.Entry to both these museums is free.Inside its a huge victorian style building that house various sections of this musem right from Know the Earth to Dinosours.There is a big skelton of Dinosour as you enter the museum.As time was less I have to be selctive.So i stick to Know The earth section.

Iam very much fascinated by Volcanos & this section carried a lot of information on them.It was approaching closing time so whatever time was left after going thru Volcano section I had a quick cursory look at other areas.These museums are so big that even a day to spend here qualitatively is a big ask.So much of treasure!! By the time I came out of there, I was tired.So I decided to retire back to the apartments.I cooked some fast food for myself and I was eating it. Sonu came in.What a pleasent surprise.We have been trying to make this happen for last 3 days but didnt worked.An evening out with her around the
Thames was always on our wish list while being there. And that day it materialised.She got freshen up & then we stepped out to explore the surrounding areas till Tower Bridge.One by one, I became her guide & took her to Monument, London Bridge, Tower Hill, Tower Bridge followed by the romantic Thames River walk back home.Tower Bridge by the night is the place to be.Brightly lit up, it looks wonderful with Tower of London in the background.No wonder we clicked atleast a dozen snaps here.After Sunday this was first day when we spent some time together & it was fun!What can be a better idea than to have coffie to
relax. We had at Macandol opposite Cannon Street station.

On Friday again after Sonu left for office,I ventured out for another joy ride.Today's agenda was Imperial War Museum, British Museum & meeting sonu at lunch at office to decide plans for the evening.Imperial War museum is located at Lambeth Street,in fact 15 mins walk from the station there in Bakerloo Line.I changed to Bakerloo Line at Embankment & reached the museum by around 11 am. As I enter the museum I realised that time I had before I have to leave for lunch is too less to explore an interesting place like that.This place has all the war arms & amjunition on exhibition there right from first world war
rockets & guns to latest state of the art computer driven weapons along with some very interesting facts abt all of those.I had hardly explored the ground floor of this 3 storey museum, when time turned 12.15 pm & I have promised Sonu to meet at 12.30 pm.15 mins to reach London Wall was impossible.WHat also made it difficult is we didnt had a any mobiles to connect to each other.I hurried thru, chamging lines & somehow managed to reach London Wall by 12.45 pm.Fortunately Sonu was waiting at the reception.I had promised her to take to Barbican for some Indian food joints.The silk street market is full of people on weekdays at lunch time with people from nearby places gathering there for a quick bite at variety of food joints right from Japanese, Indian to Burger joints.We ate at a joint named Curry & Rice.Sonu even took a plate of Samosas as parcel to eat in the evening. I dropped her back to office but not before promising to meet back at 7 pm at the podium.From St Paul then I then picked up the tube for Holborn for British Museum.Its famous for its exhibits potraying cultures of various of countries around the world.This time theme was Iran Monarchy.Ofcouse there are many permanant exhibits for Greek, Roman & Asian cultural & art history.Being school holidays, this museum was equally crowded that afternoon.I visited most of the section..spent a bit more on Indian
art section. Though I was in British Museum, my mind was wavering in Imperial War Museum only. I had couple of hours till I was due to meet Sonu.So I went back to Lambeth North.I focussed on two main areas of my interst ie complex political developments & conflicts that led to first & second world war.They have two rides named a first World War Bunker Experience & 2 nd WW London Bombarding Experience. in both these they have made an attempt to make you feel how it must have been to be on war front in WW 1 & Ruthless bombarding on London in WW 2 with able guides walking you thru that.I was impressed by the manner in which they have put togther those facts to make it interesting for visitors to wait & read it.I never realised when its time for them to close te gates for the museum.This time I was in no hurry so from there I again went back to London Wall waiting for Sonu to come out at the podium.

I have to wait for few mins but then she came out, ready to start our weekend.Meeting Cyrus Bomanji there was a pleasant surprise.He is one of our batch mates from first batch of IB A & C back in 2004. Now he works on Rates MO in London Wall.Being naturally talkative, he started sharing his work experiences.Its always a joy to talk to him.Clean soul.He accomapaned us till Bank Station & from there we picked up tube to get down at Westminster.SOnu has fixed meeting with Abhishek - my cousin brother who currently works in London, at London Eye at 8 pm.I knew that London Eye closes at around 8.15 pm so we almost rushed so as not to miss the last ride & fortunately we made it.As we were standing in the queue, I saw abhishek searching for us. I waved my hand & requested him to wait till we come back from our London Eye ride.I have been here in my first visit but exploring the same place with your loved one is a different experience altogether.An experience to cherish with.We boarded one of the several cubes along with few others & quickly secured ourselves a good corner to see London at night over the Thames.What a beautiful city it is!Higher you get better the views it offers!We clicked many snaps in all different modes & poses.Holding hands together in that cold night was simply wonderful experience!It took us almost 30 mins to complere the circle & come back down at street level.Since Abhishek was waiting we hurried but not before buying some unique cards as London Eye souveniers to add to our collection.Abhishek was sitting in a cormer talking on phone to his friend.As he saw us he concluded his call & wished us welcome to London.Its been almost a week but ofcourse we were meeting for the first time.For him it after 18 months that he was meeting someone from home.So he was as happy as we both were to meet him.The conversation that kicked off there started getting interesting as walk.Abhishek came across as a very balanced & matured individual with some great attitude.he made us feel that we are talking to some old lost friend.It was pleasant to realise how our wavelength matched, our thoughts alike.If anything made our conversation interesting & enjoyable it was this being on the same page & same point of view.After wondering on Baker Street & Picadilly, we finally settled down at our reguler adda of Macandol nearby.Breaks didnt cause any
breaks in our conversation.We all were so into various topics that we discussed that they needed a fire alarm to remind us that it time for the last tube.It was simply one of the most enjoyable conversation that we both had in long long time.And what a joy it was!We parted at Picadilly but not before he giving his extra mobile to SOnu to stay in touch till she is in London.We both came back to apartments but one thing was sure.Abhishek has impressed both of us.Its a wonderful feeling meeting your close relatives, brothers/sisters at foreign locations.We never meet in Mumbai but we did met in London.Sonu enjoyed this
feeling when she spent 2 days at Washington DC with Amey in 2007.Now I also felt it.Very very good wonderful weekend in London.

Next 2 days we had huge plans.Nothing to be spared before i leave on Sunday evening!On getting up we prepared for ourselves some nice tea.Sipping it, we clicked some cute snaps together in the apartment.After loading ourselves fully, we left the apartment at around 9 am.B'use of ongoing maintainance at weekends, closest station for us was Bank Station.From Bank, we purchased two Daily pass..one for me & one for Sonu.First stop was Canary Warf.I have been here few days back & wanted to take Sonu here.Canary Wharf station has a beautiful garden atop at ground level.That sunny day it offered beautiful landscape
for some nice pics.After spending some time exploring the area surrounded by skysrcappers we started walking towards the wharf.From the wharf,we picked up the London Cruise for Greenwitch Village.We were 10-12 mins ahead of next trip.So we sat on the wharg waiting room chatting.The cruise arrived on time.These cruise operate at atleast 60-80 km/hr speed.No sooner we started to enjoy the travel, we reached Greenwitch Wharf.It took hardly 10-15 mins.The reason to be here was to visit the Zero GMT line,where time begins.Zero GMT is located on top of a small hill which must be 100 -200 feet from ground.There is a
observatory on top of that hill which used to be occupied by scuentists sponsered by Royal family.After climbing the hill for 15-20 mins we reache dthe gates of the observatory.Initially we went the wrong way but then someone told us the correct way.What a excitement we had after reaching there.I always wanted to visit this place.While clicking the snaps, I noticed there is a paid machine which after you inputting some data abt you will give a certificate stating that you have been at zero GMT on that date & time.Its interesting set of information that you will see in the museum.We saw many of them till the time we had patience.Outside the main gate there, it offers fantastic views of Canary Wharf area & the luch green grounds below.Nice & sunny weather,fresh air & green grounds around,its simply wonderful!Now we started feeling hungry now.We didnt know where to go so we justed started walking whereever we felt we will find some place to eat & it was not far.It was good little plaze with many small stalls.One of those was Indian but surprisingly it was run by some south Asian lady.She was selling rice & Samosas.We bought for us some samosas.In the meantime, Sonu also secured a place for us.Samosas,Coffie in nice english
weather..what a combo.That was the best of the day so far!It was post noon by now.Next on cards was Museum of London so we picked up tube for Bank station again.We merrily went there but only to realise that museum is closed on weekends.It was a disappointment but left it behind.Area surrounding Bank of England is no less picturesque.WIth Mayor's house at one end,BOE on the other along with Natwest BankHQ on another side, it must be one of the most photographed places in London.From there we went towards Green park, nearest station to Buckingham palace.Sonu was very keen to be there.From Green Park, its around 10-15 mins walk.But very pleasant walk I must say thru the James park.As usual, it was crowded.We joined the crowds.Since morning, this was the only place where we clicked so many snaps.Trafalguar Square is hardly 10 mins walk from there but at our leasurely pace it took more than that.On way, Sonu was quick to capture expressions of two gurads at the nearby sub ordinate palaces.The road approaching palace is painted in red or its red sand.Its catches your attention.The gate thru which typically people enter is decorated beautifully with minute sculpture.Sonu was quick to take pics here.A left turn from that gate, takes you
to the Trafalguar Square.The crowd here was no less here.Place like this calls for more pics.We both went to nearby MuSeum, used it to freshen up.From there,next stop was Oxford Circus.One of the happening places at night in London.We did some window shopping there before retiring to home by 9-9.30 pm.

Next Day was my last day in London so we wanted to cover up all that we wanted before we return to apartments.We ensured that all packing is done for me & then we left home by 9 am, after treating ourselves for some good breakfast.First stop was Covent Garden.Its historical market place for londonites.All gather here for their household shopping on a lazy sunday like that day.We reached a bit early but that was ok.It was less crowded so we can have good look around the place.I showed Sonu the Transport Museum that I visited a few days back.Sonu picked up a cute frock for Arya from a shop here.This market dates
back to 18 century,similer to our crowford market & still has the old structure in place in testimony of the time that has passed.Like many other public attractions Covent garden also has many street shows happening thruout the day. We got a chance to enjoy one while we spend time sipping a hot cup of Capuchino from nearby Starbucks outlet.Leistre Square is few blocks away from Covent Garden.We followed the street signs & in no time reached Leisture Square.This is the place where most London Premiers of International films happen. I could relate to Odion Theatre which hosts premiers of most James Bond
Movie premiers in London since 1962's Dr.No.There is a beautiful garden at the center & all the movie halls around it with stone statue of British Legand Charlie Chaplin.Picadilly is another few blocks from Leisture Square.& how can we miss that place.We clicked a few souvenier photos there & purchased a few gift articles for self & friends there.Now we were feeling hungry but wanted to be at some new Mac.& soon we found one at Leisture Square.After a leisurely lunch, penultimate stop was Waterloo station from where Sonu was to pick up train for B'mouth visit in coming week.I showed her the place around so that it
becomes easy for her on Wednesday next.From there we crossed the bridge & reached at the base of London Eye.River Walk was one of the things that we wanted to do together.And it was last but not the least.We enjoyed it thourghly.We were so engrossed into it & we overshoot target time by good 15 mins almost.Last task was to pick up my bag from the apartment & pick up Heathrow Express for airport.It was a bit of hurry.Sonu came to wish me bye bye (for a week).I hurried up but that haste paid off & I reached airport well in time for my flight.Fortunately the rush at check in counters was less & I managed to get thru
quickly.From London to Mumbai, the 8 hr odd flight was smooth & I reached Mumbai as per scheduled time at 11 am next day.

This was our second third international holiday together after Singapore & Tokyo.Tokyo still is nunber one but London comes close second in terms of enjoyment.When I first went out in 2005 after our marriage, we had decided that she will accompany me wherever I go on office tours.But in actual life its turning out to be opposite. So far each time she has taken me & each time its been fantastic ;-)


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