Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Jewels of London that allure the tourists (Part 4)



                         
360 view of the Queen's city from Shard 


The aim to visit London was to look at the Queen. Yes, I was excited to see the official residence of the Queen, Buckingham Palace. Looks like the gate, the balcony is so known to me although I saw that for the first time. We were so excited at the view of the historical palace. There is a tour conducted by travel companies that take you into the Staterooms as well as observe the change of guards. Change of guards is a colorful ceremony and you have to be present 45 minutes before the march takes place. The march starts exactly from 11 o’ clock in the morning. In fact, the time can change depending on weather, but it is generally informed to the visitors. The ceremony is beguiling to watch.

Buckingham Palace tour and change of guards:   Observing the change of guards is an enthralling affair. But, there is a long queue, entry ticket for the palace. It’s better if you can buy the tickets online. The State house of the palace is open to the public for two months, starting from 27th July till 30th September. 
                
Buckingham Palace gate 


After observing the change of guards, the visitors are taken inside the palace. You will definitely get goosebumps. There’s a lot to see and feel. Those moments when the British channel broadcasted special moments like Lady Diana’s interview, Queen’s interview and of course the family get together, are all here.

                    
Throne room @ Buckingham Palace ( collected)



 In fact, cameras were not allowed in general. All photographs in the blog are taken from special sources. The visitors are generally enchanted to see the throne room, ballroom and there are other State rooms of the Palace.
                             
Royal corridors ( collected)


 There are 19 staterooms out of which one is working, where the Queen meets her guests. There are priceless decorations inside the staterooms that include paintings by Rubens, Rembrandt, and Canaletto.


       
Historic chariot in vogue from King George VI


It’s enchanting to view the royal coach that is displayed in the royal mews. It’s fascinating to view the State Gold coach which was used from the time of King George VI. The rooms are just a combination of aristocracy and style. The coach is now used during official ceremonies like engagement, coronation, baptism, and weddings. It's a great chance to observe from a close distance. 

   
The Royal garden @Buckinghamm palace ( collected)

There is an arrangement where the visitors are taken to Doubletree Hilton or the Grosvenor house for afternoon tea. This arrangement is included in the ticket. Tea and snacks are served. You will be fascinated with the taste of scones, pastries, and sandwiches along with tea. It’s a great feeling to be royal among the royals in the royal garden.


                            
The breath-taking view of the city


360-degree view of London from Shard, the highest point of Western Europe: Afternoon I was off  for Shard, is the highest point of Western Europe. We bought tickets at the gate for the family to visit the observatory tower. In fact, Shard is the address to various restaurants and offices. A view of the city from here is truly breath-taking. You may cherish a dining experience and also enjoy the disco. Well, all you can do is experience is taste the world-class champagne available here. Various events and festivals occur here and tourists from around the globe desire to pay a visit here.

In fact, apart from the glass covered watchtower, there is another open sky deck from where you can see the Queen’s city. In fact, this was one of the best views I saw and took photos. I have seen cities like Paris and Dubai from the tallest manmade structures, but London is just ‘wow’. It’s a lifetime experience that will be framed in golden in my memories.


Friday, 31 August 2018

Jewels of London that allure tourists ( part 3)

                             
Bird's eye view of the city 

London is a vast city and it takes quite a long time to explore the famous landmarks. Well, if you have seven days in hand, that might not be enough to cover the famous landmarks. In order to see everything in details, you need to plan and choose your hotspots.

                   
Attractive entrance, a terrifying cliche 

London Dungeon: This is a tourist attraction, and was founded in 1976, situated along the South Bank of England. This was meant to recreate various gory and macabre through various historical events. It used to be a wax exhibition but after the mid ‘80’s and ‘90’s the shows became theatrical and shows on the great fire of London and Jack the Ripper was exhibited.

 
Capital punishment of prehistoric era
The London Dungeon will take you through 1000 years of history and the enactment of various historical events will take place. You have a chance to enjoy almost 18 shows and you a chance to experience history with a comedy twist; might be you can be enacted being the victim and get falsely executed. It’s fun after all. Tickets can be purchased online or even form the queue.
                                    
The Gallows 

 The place is open almost every day from 10am in the morning to 6 pm except on public holidays. You may book tickets online for the best possible discounts.  Standard tickets start from 21 pounds. 

                      
Plague show 


There are various shows like The Descent, The tyrant boat ride, The city gates, Guy Fawkes gunpowder plot, The torture chamber, The plague doctor, The great fire of London, Sweeney Todd, Mitre Square, Whitechapel labyrinth, Jack the Ripper, The courtroom, The great escape, Halloween and the Tavern. You can check the scary score and review of the shows before you decide to visit them.

             
Sweeney Todd show 
The London Dungeon is accessible by bus, metro, tube or even tram. Photography is restricted in certain cases due to the actor’s guidelines. But you can buy a special photo and preserve that as a souvenir. All images in this blog have been collected from special sources.

                  



The British Museum: The British Museum is located in Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury in London. You can get here by tube route, by bus or even by cycle. Be prepared for an entire search of any bag or rucksack you are carrying while entering the British Museum. 
                               
Egyptian Naukrits

It’s open from 10 am till 5:30 pm, except Fridays when it’s open till 8:30 pm in the evening. This is one of the famous landmarks which you won’t be charged while entering. The museum has ten distinct curatorial as well as a research department.

                                               
Ashurbanipal Assyria King  
 The collections are distinguished as- Africa, Ancient Egypt and Sudan, Asia, Britain Europe and prehistory, coins and medals, Greece and Rome, Middle East, portable antiques, prints, and drawings. 

                              
Ashoka Pillar
                                         
Clovis spear point Olduvai
The museum which is led by a trustee of 25 trustees and directors is an object of wonder.
The British Museum is simply the world history in miniature form.  
                                               
Head of Augustus



                                                  
Statue of Shiv Parvati

The human remains are preserved with care and respect. Founded in 1753, the British museum preserved two million years of human history.

                                       
Writing  tablet of Middle East 

       

You may opt for the audio guide, that will help you to understand the significance of the structures exhibited in the museum. 

Monday, 27 August 2018

Potato n cheese roll. Calories??? Some other time please…!!

                   
Potato and cheese roll- the yummy bite!



When weekends strike, I am always in a mood to innovate something. I am a foodie and in spite of repeated warnings on my intake of calories, I just give a damn to all these ideas. Well, I am sure there are friends who are foodies as well, and my recipe is dedicated to all of them. Well, there is no harm to work out or live on a salad diet the entire week, but if you love yummy snacks, your mouth will simply water at the idea of this.  So, let’s share it with all my foodie friends.

Serves:  3-4 persons

Ingredients:
1      7-8 medium sized potatoes deskinned and mashed,
2.    ½ cup of shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheese,
3.       ½ teaspoon of mixed herbs,
4      1 medium sized onions chopped,
       ½ Batter made of white flour and water,
6     1 cup of breadcrumbs,
7.       1 teaspoon of salt,
8.       ½ teaspoon of grated garlic,
9.       Oil for frying.


 Procedure:
1.       Boil the potatoes, deskin and them mash the entire content.
2.       Dash little oil in a small pan and add garlic, mixed herbs to it.  Cook till it emits smell and then remove it from the gas.
3.       Add with the mashed potato and make a nice dough; dough should be firm and care should be taken that there are no dumplings.
4.       Now use your hands to make the dough and flatten out the mashed potato.
5.       With the help of a spoon place the cheese mix inside the mashed dough and then roll to close.
6.       Dip the structure inside the batter and then roll on breadcrumbs.
7.       Heat oil and then release the dough inside the oil and make sure it deep fries. Ensure it obtains the golden brownish color.
8.       Remove and place on a serving plate. Soak the extra oil with a paper.
Try tearing the roll from the middle and you will see the mozzarella cheese pop up from inside. This is luscious and a real treat for the eyes. Enjoy this yummy snacks and make your weekends truly memorable.




Sunday, 12 August 2018

Jewels of London that calls tourists from around the world ( Part 2)

               
The Tower of London ( collected) 



London is a huge city to be explored. I was back on track the next day for touring the city. My Big bus ticket was valid for 48 hours and I boarded the vehicle from nearby Waterloo station. London has excellent connections with the suburbs. I wanted to see the historical sites of London that reflect Britain’s history. I decided to see the Tower of London. 


              
Entrance to the majestic Tower 


         

Tower of London: The Tower of London can be approached by bus or metro. You have to get down at Tower-hill station to reach the tower. It is open for public viewing from 9 am to 5:30 pm on weekdays. Anyway if you reach with family, it’s better to buy a family ticket worth 75£. You may opt for an audio guide which will take you through the castle. According to the guide, the tower dates back one thousand years when the Normans entered the land. Thereafter the tower was regarded as a fortress, home for the Royals and also the infamous place where prisoners were executed for reasons of treason. You can opt for a walking tour or a group tour where the English speaking guide will dramatically take you through the chapters of history and familiarize with the castle.

                    
Bed chamber of King Edwards 



 Never miss the separate buildings like the white tower, the salt tower, the bloody tower and the crown jewel section.  We explored through the stairs to see the bedchamber of Kind Edwards and then the armor. In fact, each and every room is equipped with writings which you can go through for better understanding.
              
Stories of executions during world war II

            


We saw the salt tower which was said to be developed in 1230 and named after Julius Caeser. The modern tower is a modification and construction had occurred at various ages.  We went through the history which reflected the brutal side of mankind; probably this is another side of the autocratic rule.
                                   


                 
The dark walls of the tower 
                                
Carnivores were kept in the Victorian era 


The white tower is the dome-shaped tower built by William the Conqueror. The building reflects Norman architecture. We saw the royal armor which was said to be used by Henry VII. It’s known as one of the strongest structure of medieval England.


                             
c
The chain used in the  armor 
The bloody tower is said to be the place where two minor brothers Edward V, 12 years and his brother 9 years old were kept imprisoned and later were murdered in a mysterious way.  The guide took us through the stories of torture at the lower Wakefield tower. 
                   
Queen Anne Boleyn executed here in 1530



 During the 15th and 16th century AD, prisoners were taken through a series of torture with instruments that gave them unbearable pain. Manacles, rack and scavenger’s daughter were used as torture instruments.

                                    
The means of torture 



 Looks like there was a tradition of delivering unbearable pain before the prisoners gave up with the names of conspirators. A method very close to the modern day third-degree torture.
                                
Story of torture 


 We saw the traitor’s gate, which had stories of treachery during the 12th century. We were taken around the place where Queen Anne along with other royals was executed.

                  
The traitor's gate tells stories of treachery during the 12th century 
We saw the Ravens at the tower. The guide told us that they are fed with meat and blood-soaked bird biscuits. There used to be a zoo during the Victorian age where royal beasts were displayed to the visitor. 
                  
Ravens are the guards of the tower

The Ravens are the only animals present till day, and it’s believed that if the ravens leave then the kingdom will fall. Visitors are instructed not to feed the Ravens. 

We moved towards the building where the crown jewels are kept secured. This is the most interesting place as the precious jewels, robes and crowns are preserved. We saw the  Kohinoor or the 'mountain of light's. In fact, we were not allowed any photography as a security measure. The guide took us through a bit of history as the Kohinoor, that originates from India passed hands before it came to Queen Elizabeth. 

             
Entrance to the crown jewels 


The main purpose of the visit 




The Yeoman warder guards the chamber of the precious stones, which are displayed as the Queen’s glory. The property of the Queen are enjoyed by her but looked after by the British Government who pays for royal family’s expenses till date.  

                      
Guarding the crown jewels  since ages 
               
We managed to take a snap with the Yeoman Warder. In fact, there is a tradition of the key ceremony which is a 700 years old tradition still followed in London.  We could get a nice view of the iconic tower bridge while we climbed the towers.

                     
With the Yeoman Warders 
          
 We took great pictures, shopped some souvenirs and then prepared to leave. Oh! the experience was like recapitulating history. 

Saturday, 11 August 2018

Jewels of London that allures tourist from around the world ( Part 1)

         
Skyline of London during dusk ( collected)


London is simply a magical land. Anybody visiting her for the first time will be in love with her for the cosmopolitan ambiance, the food, the landmarks, the public transportation system and the ‘jewels’ or the famous landmarks that the tourists are crazy to visit. Basically, you can take the tourist transport system like the Big bus or other means to go around the city. Ig bus gives an array of choice of places you can visit. You may choose to buy tickets online for the places you would love to see. In case you buy from the Big bus officials that might have a good deal for the day or be cheaper than the price displayed online. While touring London, you have to be very tactical and buy tickets which comes with discounted offers. Research is all yours, and you have to choose to form the array of options. I had literary 9 days to cover London. Initial two days were spent in touring the city from the terrace of Big Bus, and the rest days were spent in viewing the hotspots.

     

1.      Madam Tussaud’s museum:  Madam Tussaud’s museum is situated in Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5LR, UK. The museum is a multi-storeyed building which has several floors displayed with wax models of celebrities around the world. The brains behind this, Marie Tussauds, a French by birth learned the art of sculpting from her mother’s employee Dr. Phillippe Curtius. The first wax sculpture was of Francois Voltaire. Opened in 1835, the museum attracted each and every visitor in London who desires to pose with their favorite character or rub shoulder with the wax bodies. Each model was invited for a sitting, and then measurements were taken. Madan Tussaud was said to be imprisoned during the French revolution where she made death masks for the executed nobles. However, the museum underwent losses when hit by a bomb during World War II
Posing with my favorite Bollywood heroine 

Posing with the ' Queen of hearts'
                                                                          
   

Basically, you have to be sure to be standing in the long queue before entering the museum. After you get your entry you will be exposed to a wonderland where you can find each and every personality from any niche be it entertainment, royal family, politics or sports. I chose my favorite Bollywood and Hollywood heroes to pose with. I liked the chamber which demonstrated the method of making molds. 

Demonstrating on the molds
The Royals and popular figures in a line
                             











Never miss the 4 D show that will never fail to amuse you. The last attraction of the museum, London ride is an interesting one, which will take you virtually through the various ages and evolution of London. Visit the gift shop and buy some souvenirs for you to remember.

2.      


T     Thames river cruise viewing the tower bridge and other landmarks:
If you want to see London, buy a ride on the cruise along the Thames River. There are a regular cruise and the timings can be noted from the information online. We bought tickets online and the cruise started at the Tower Pier. Generally, the hop on, hop off cruise starts from the Tower Pier, Westminster Pier, Greenwich Pier and London Eye pier. 24 hours valid tickets are also available from the same counter.  I boarded the vessel, chose my seat and comfortable corner. 
                
Tower bridge standing tall 




There was ongoing commentary which enabled to understand the importance of the landmarks. I am very keen on photographing cityscapes and has some exclusive shots in my collection. The best part was to see the tower bridge open.
         
Viewing Shard, the highest point in Western Europe 

                         

 We enjoyed the panoramic view of important landmarks like Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Shakespeare globe, Shard, Gherkin, Houses of Parliament, London Eye, and the Millennium Footbridge. 
                
The cantilever bridge opens 



 It was a splendid experience floating over the weaving Thames River.  Something that sparked my mind was that London was old but a planned city since the Roman times as it was accessible by the water and road transport as well.


3.      Westminster Abbey and Big Ben: Westminster Abbey is one of the rated tourist spots of London. The iconic building has been the seat of the British monarchy and also the symbol of British politics that the world looks upon. There are regular tours that last for 3-4 hours, thereby explaining the importance of the Elizabeth tower, statue of kings reflecting over the Thames River and also the house of parliament. 
                             
Westminster Abbey as seen from the cruise 

            
           The iconic structure is important as it has seen important coronation ceremony starting from William the conquerer in 1066 and ending with Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. British monarchs were wedded here. 
                          
Inside of the Westminster Abbey ( collected)

                The world has seen the wedding of William and Kate in this iconic building in 2011.  You will simply feel like standing amidst the rich history of Britain since the time it was called Britannia.
       

               Big Ben: Big Ben is the nickname to the clock tower situated on the northern side of Westminster Abbey. Originally it was called the clock tower and it was renamed as Elizabeth tower in 2012.  The big ben is said the chime every hour and there is a quarter bell that chimes every fifteen minutes. Or visiting Beg ben, it requires a permission from the British parliamentary authorities and tickets are sold six months in advance.  

                    
Big Ben under renovation

Presently the Big Ben is undergoing repairs and the renovation is expected to be completed by 2021. We were not lucky to go inside the clock tower but just have a fair view from outside. 

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

London – the confluence of tradition and modernity

                               
London attracts millions of tourists every year 


London, the capital city of England and the United Kingdom, has been the bull’s eye of tourists for ages. It’s said that London is a friendly city and has embraced migrants for a long time. The city which is the headquarter of British politics, the epitome of Royalty, has faced terrorist attacks and threats in the recent past. Well, getting a visa for the UK either for work or tourism could be the toughest thing on earth, but when your intention is to see the beautiful city, the hazards are just a minute affair.


Planning the visit: While you plan to visit the city, the best thing is to know the geography of the city, especially how the public transport system connects places. There is ample scope for a visitor to use the train, bus, water transport and underground to reach the various places of interest. Well, when I was planning to visit, my friends intimated me about the high price of traveling intercity and suggested me some easy and economic measures to see the city. There are various tour companies that launched city tour buses, enabling easy travel of any newbie to the city. You may choose any hop- off buses like Big Bus, City tour or Original tour. Prices are competitive and depend on which plan you are buying.  

                              



Easy ways to see the  beautiful city 




You can get the bug bus map as soon as you get onto the bus, which will enable you to understand the sketch of the megacity.  Well, there are lot many options but not that all the places are covered or important. But a seven-day trip should be choosy and you should be skeptical about the money spent on any visit.  A deluxe ticket that includes a 3-day pass, 4 different routes, walking tours and return river cruise, with an additional night cruise will cost 125 £ for a family.
The other options are to purchase a travel card, Oyster card, and London pass. You can plan your visit to various places of interest with ease and in an economic way. Well, people’s choice differs, but some places that are a must visit according to me are discussed. Well, many Londoners have never seen the city in such details as a visitor does in just a week.
              
Understanding the geography of the city 

                        
1.                                                                                            Madam Tussaud’s wax museum: 
                                                           
It's not only wax museum, it's just a wonder 



2.                                                                                                     River cruise and the tower bridge:
           
The iconic tower bridge


3.                                                                                      Westminster Abbey and Big Ben:
                                                       
                                                             
West Minster Abbey from Thames cruise 
Big Ben, the iconic landmark presently undergoing renovation 


                 



4.                                                                                                                    Tower of London:
                                                               
The historic tower of London



5.                                                                                                                   London Dungeon:
                                                      
Dramatic sequence 




6.                                                                                                               British Museum:
                                                      
Knowing the rich past of the country


7.                                                                                                            London Eye: 
                                                                
All eyes on London eye

8.                                                                             
                                              Birdseye view from the Shard, the highest tower                                                                       


Shard, the highest tower 



Bird's eye view from the Shard 





9.                                                                                                             Buckingham Palace:
                                                         
                                                             
The official residence of the Queen
                           
                                                       
                                                                       

1                                                                                  Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly circus: 
                                                                
Hanging out at Trafalgar square doesn't attract  any extra cost


                         
Piccadilly Circus, the famous landmark

1                                                    .   Greenwich Observatory:
                                                      
Giggles when standing at meridian zero

  
These are the must-visits of the city. All the places of interest are generally covered by the Big bus tour except Greenwich.  St Paul’s Cathedral and Kensington Palace was covered within the Big Bus itinerary, but my time schedule didn’t permit a detailed visit inside.






Jewels of London that allure the tourists (Part 4)

                          360 view of the Queen's city from Shard  The aim to visit London was to look at the Queen. Yes...