Europe, Day 2

19-Mar-2011 11:43, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 4.5, 24.978mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 125
 

It was already 10 AM local time when I was woken by a housekeeping call though I had the Do not Disturb sign on the door. After a shower and calling home, I bought a day pass for the bus – it cost me 6.5 pounds, but gave me the freedom to travel a lot. My first stop was the Tower of London. The fort is so MASSIVE that it dwarfs any other forts I have seen. The sheer size of the walls blows one’s imagination away. A description of the entrance aptly described the feelings one gets – The visitors would walk down this path to enter the castle and it left no doubt in their minds the power of the King of England! It is unimaginable how man could build such structures even with today’s technology. Yes, I have seen heights, dazzling lights and colors, but these buildings and the sheer size of the stones are beyond comprehension – why would a human being want such a place to live? I guess such was the fear in which they lived in the past, I couldn’t think of any other strong reason.

19-Mar-2011 12:52, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 3.5, 13.761mm, 0.02 sec, ISO 800
 

The London Bridge was – you guessed it – teeming with tourists. After some photos, I took a walk across the bridge. On its other side, I bought some fine Twinings-Assam tea. The London Bridge is where the Kohinoor diamond is kept or is it the Tower of London? Anyway, I didn’t buy tickets to go inside – at 55 pounds for an adult, I saved the visit for a future one with the family.

The red double-decker buses are everywhere on London streets. This time I stopped at St. Paul’s Cathedral. Another structure of gigantic proportions. The inside is so spectacular and this I can imagine as a place worthy of dwelling for a God. The St. Peter’s church and this cathedral are two of the most astounding religious buildings I have been to. The inside is beyond one’s imagination. I lighted a candle and prayed for my wishes.

The Great Burger place was excellent with the vegetarian burger. It was a nice change to have a filling with vegetables, instead of the drier pattie I usually find in the US. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The latte was excellent as well and both came in under ten pounds. The Londoners don’t expect a tip and they are delighted if you do. But the service has always been great except for my experience so far at the Strands, I should say. I would visit the GBP again in the future.

19-Mar-2011 13:36, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 3.2, 9.784mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 1600
 
Back at the hotel, the news was all about the Coalition’s bombing of Libya. I couldn’t find any sports channel as I badly wanted to catch news of the India-West Indies world cup match. I caught a brief nap. The afternoon, I took the bus to Victoria station from where I walked to the Buckingham Palace. Another place not fit for mortals but God. I can’t say it is beautiful – that is simply not the right word for it. It is larger than life and I couldn’t fathom a human being or a set of human beings living in such grandeur. The statue of Queen Victoria outside the palace itself is over bearing. All these buildings and the sheer size leaves no doubt in the visitors mind as to the strength of the British Empire. After all, they ruled the world, or most of it, in the past – why even a century back. The amount of money they should have gotten as income to the Empire is incalculable? It makes the billions of dollars the richest men of the current world possess seem like change to the kings of the past. Not that money is such a desirable object, but it comes in handy for comparisons as to where the Kings stood and where the richest men stand in today’s world. Of course, I like today’s world where I could criticize the President and not fear for my life or my family’s than the richness granted by a king and the fear that is incumbent for speaking up.
20-Mar-2011 16:56, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 3.2, 10.775mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 400
 
For dinner, I found Sagar – A Vegetarian restaurant near the hotel off its side streets close to a theater. The food was excellent and not that expensive. They have some attractive lunch choices for extremely reasonable prices. After dinner, I strolled on the streets back of the hotel. The Covent Garden is a place that needs some good amount time for its exploration. It is filled with restaurants and shopping. There was live entertainment in the Covent Garden mall(?) and few people were cheering and tapping to the singing. The singer was extremely good but he deserved more attention. All along I passed rather loud and surprisingly boisterous crowds – no wonder, Londoners are known for merry making.

It was time to get back and prepare for Monday. I had to plan getting up around 4’ish EST to start early for London. I had to leave for Nottingham in the afternoon and didn’t want to lug my luggage to work. The Front Desk said it costs ten pounds an hour to check out late, I said forget it. After the way the Marriott and Hiltons treat a frequent visitor to their hotels, the Strands is a notch behind.

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