Friday, January 18, 2008

London Chronicles

As promised, here are some select photos from a stop over at London. This was an absolutely touristy stop over in the city and the photos will reflect that

1. Buckingham Palace

Waited and waited for the queen to call us in for a cup of masala chai and some farsan, but that did not happen.

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Instead we were greeted by the sights of a bunch of guards going in and another coming out for the routine change of guard that draws in the crowds. Guess the guards got their dose of caffeine.

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2. London Eye

London ki aankh! The slowest ferris wheel I have ever been atop. For all of thirty minutes, people get into 'capsules' that take you high and above the ground allowing for really good views of the city all around.

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The light had been ordinary till then, and we weren't sure how that would affect what we will get to see. Instead we got some fantastic views of the Parliament and the Big Ben with the light peeping through the clouds as shown here.

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Here's another picture from a different height and angle. I love the detail that is evident in the bridge across the river.

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3. Westminster Abbey

A place for a lot of famous royal ceremonies, we missed out on seeing this from the inside because of a time clash and some unexpected closures. I didn't have too many good pictures of the outside. Here's a rare one.

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4. Tower Bridge

The fun part is that I always thought this was the London bridge whose fall was being reported to the fair lady. Oh, the things you find out when you step on the actual London bridge. My camera is lousy at night shots. While a little blurred, this is still a tolerable picture.

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5. Lords

My personal high point of the trip. There was a one and a half hour tour, most of which was spent in the pavilion and long room as seen in this picture. There was also a museum with the original Ashes urn. I felt like an enthusiastic kid in class, shooting my hand up to answer all the trivia questions that the tour guide was asking.

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Here's a view of the media center on the other side of the ground. Fairly modern structure for a ground so old. The view from the media center itself is fantastic, since it directly overlooks the pitch. The famous Lords slope is also very evident from there.

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Here's a magnificient view of the ground basking in daylight. A fantastic visit overall. Of course, it helps that my wife is also an ardent cricket fan :-)

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6. Sherlock Holmes Museum

A neat idea. They constructed a Victorian era house based on the description of Sherlock Holmes' house in all his stories, and better still, situated it on Baker Street. In the house, they had a bunch of wax figurines of characters from some of his stories. Shown here is the man with the twisted lip.

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7. Bath

A small town an hour and a half away from London, this is from the times when London was a Roman city. The focal point, not surprisingly is a bath, a natural hot water spring which was considered a sacred healing place by Romans. The bath itself wasn't anything major to write home about, but the structures were fairly nice.

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The actual bath shown below.

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8. St. Paul's Cathedral

One of London's most famous landmarks, this was a fantastic place to go see. Its marvelous to see such an old construction still retain its magnificience when surrounded by all things modern. The views from the top were also very nice. Unfortunately, there was no photography allowed inside the cathedral.

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RTD2 said...

Glad you added the commentary. Very nice pictures...
And in case you didn't know this, I love clouds! They make everything more interesting, including your pictures!

Radha said...

nice pictures!!
"Tower of London" and "Trafalgar Square" seem to be missing?

Parth said...

@RTD2: I accept your thanks on behalf of clouds all over the planet

@Radha: We skipped the tower of london based on suggestions by locals. The Trafalgar Square visit was made at night and the photos taken there are really not up there quality wise.

sd said...

Very nice pictures.... I will have to come back to your post again ...later.... right now I am very excited .... victory at WACA!! Who would have imagined!!!!!!!!!

Parth said...

@SD: I knew, I did. I watched practically all five days live and could see how we consistently outperformed them in the match. Sharma's working over of Ponting had to been seen to be believed. This will be one of my 'I watched it live' (as opposed to I was there) moments :-)

Shreemoyee said...

nice pictures, brought back some memories.

Vi said...

Lovely pictures! Shall we expect some India pictures as well?

Extempore said...

Masala chai and farsan, eh? Terribly rude of the old bird, I say! :D

A number of those typically Ahmedabadi Gujju ones also come to mind but I'll resist this time!

I love the Big Ben one with the god clouds. Just a suggestion - tried it in black and white? Might be interesting to see the effect, me thinks!

Pallavi said...

so being a cricket fan..did lords give you goosebumps?

Parth said...

@Shreemoyee: Thanks. Been to London before?

@Vi: Certainly, though we didn't tour much in India, so there aren't many.

@Extempore: No no, don't resist, though I have to confess I am more a Surati Gujju than an Ahmedabadi one. Rationally, it should be 50-50 since my Dad's side is from Surat and mom's side from Ahmedabad, but it is tilted a little in favor of the former. Where do your roots lie? I'll try your black and white suggestion

@Pallavi: Absolutely. As my wife joked later, the only thing we didn't do is a sashtaang namaskar on the ground :-)

Niranjan said...

Fantastico! Thanks for the snapshot tour of London. I, too, had thought the london bridge to be a structure resembling the picture of the tower bridge. Turns out, we are not the only ones :-)

Extempore said...

Well, Mum's family is from Billimora and Dad's from A'bad and being a nuclear family, we don't tend towards either. That's how we (my brother and I) turned out completely Bambaiya!

The Ahmedabadi vehwar is a concept we tend to make a lot of fun of though! Very little Gujju identity as such... which is in some ways, a very sad thing.

Abhishek Dhasmana said...

Nice! I never thought I would feel this way after seeing the Lords ground!

Actually, it all changed when I watched my first in-stadium match when Australia toured India last year. It's so different to watch it in Stadium (especially after the Chak De! & T20 euphoria)

Parth said...

@Niranjan: Perhaps they should just name it the London bridge and end the confusion :-)

@Extempore: I got to admit I am also a wee bit like you. Too much of a Bombayite. In fact, I don't look it either, as I have been told all my life.

@Abhishek: Lucky you. I am dying to see a match, any match of Sachin before he retires. The atmosphere in a stadium is quite something, isn't it?

Abhishek Dhasmana said...

yeah man, it was fantastic. One could hear the crowd roars from a long distance! the stadium was jam packed which meant that by the time match started there was no place to even move around (which was painful!) ...
an interesting episode was when I was near the stadium and roads were jammed as everyone was desparate to find parking, I looked out of my window and saw the driver in the other car ... our eyes briefly met, studied each other, followed by a pause and wait for who will blink first and then he lifted his hand, fists clenched and exclaimed, "Chak De!"

30in2005 said...

Next time you should try and do the hidden London route. It's such an amazing city to live in and it constantly surprises with the mix of modern and traditional blending (though not seamlessly). Glad you had a good time - sorry about the queen though!

Parth said...

@Abhishek: Good for you man! Hopefully I'll get to see something on my next trip. But watching Tendulkar score the century yesterday was bliss.

Parth said...

@30in2005: Definitely. This was supposed to be a very 'touristy' trip. The next one will be a more discover-the-real-city kind of trip.

Shreemoyee said...

yes, I did a Europe trip some years ago.

Jyothsna said...

Nice pictures, esp the "clouds" one. London is really a nice place to visit, can say that for the rest of the UK too.

Parth said...

@Jyothsna: Thanks. Seems like you have toured much of that place?

Jyothsna said...

Just london, Oxford and Edinburgh...and drove thru some countryside :)

Jyothsna said...

Btw, check out - loads of songs there.