Monday, 8 October 2018

Touring Oxford, the education hub of United Kingdom

    
Oxford, the epitome of a learning center.


We set for Oxford, the education hub of United Kingdom the next day.  Oxford is accessible by train or by bus from the center of London. In fact, there are various day trips organized by professional tour agents. They pick from central London and after the completion of the trip drop at the same place. The trip might cost you $52 per person excluding lunch. Touring the city bustling with International students was really fun. Moreover, summer is the best time to visit places of interest in Europe.


                 
Oxford has more cycles than any other vehicles


While entering Oxford, my eyes caught series of the cycle by the roadside which the students use to move around. In fact, there is no single university, but a group of colleges under the same University. We opted for a walking tour and passed around the famous Trinity College, Keble College, Balliol College, Wadham College and many more.



                      
Trinity college ( collected) 

   
Read the notice near the entrance 


The Trinity College: The holy college of Trinity founded by Sir Thomas Pope in 1555 is the target for many International as well as students based in the UK. The college was an all-male one till 1979 and then became a co-educational one. Various movies were filmed over here including the Brideshead Revisited, Last Enchantments, Lewis and Endeavour.  It’s a medium-sized college over a spacious site in the city and enjoys harmonious relation with the student and teacher.  The college is located in the main entrance of Broad Street and at a stone throw distance from Bodleian Library.

                      
Keble College 


Keble College: This College was established in 1870, as a monument to John Keble. The original teaching of the college was theological but the college reflects a wide range of subjects presently that reflects the diversity of degrees. After the Second World War, the trends of the college were towards science subjects. The college has four squads- Pusey, Haywards, Liddon, and Newman. The brick complex was designed by Butterfield.  The college has approximately 425 undergraduate and 246 graduate students. The college offers a supportive environment that enables not only academic excellence but also supports music, sports, and drama.

                            

Balliol College:  This College was founded in 1263, and it’s one of the constituent colleges of Oxford University of England. The college alumni have three former prime ministers. Noble laureates, numerous philosophical and literary figures once highlighted the benches of the famous college. In 1979, the college accepted the admission of women in its premises. We saw the front quadrangle and garden quadrangle. We were taken through the dining hall, the long stretch if tables and chairs where the genius was once seated to have meal and chit chat with fellow students.


Spotted the Mathematics department

We passed through the famous museum road and various departments that were scattered all over the city. Students who are regular visitors are quite versant with the buildings. We saw both professors and students used cycles for communication. 





                 
Bus to Oxford city tour 

There are regular tours for tourists over buses that read ‘Oxford tour’. In fact, the city was vivacious with students, tourists, and teachers. We were lucky to see some students dressed in graduation gowns.

                  
Skeleton of Dinosaur





The museum of natural history has much to explore 


Oxford Museum of Natural history:  We entered the Oxford Museum of Natural history where we were taken through an invaluable specimen of 4.5 million years of the history of the earth. I was just amazed to see the skeleton of dinosaur towering over my head, the label read ‘Iguandon’ and ‘T- Rex’. These must have been enormous creatures that dominated the world in pre-historic times.  I posed with my grinning face over the closely similar ‘T–rex’ supposing it could have been my sister once upon a time. The first dinosaur that was described by scientists were Oxfordshire’s Megalosaurus. We experienced the evolutionary history of fish, birds, reptiles, mammals and even more.  We were taken aback by the display of whale striking from the walls. We went to see the British bird display on the first floor. 

Dinosaur head to imagination 

We got an opportunity to see how the minerals were formed beneath the earth surface, stratified in the quarries.  The paleontology section had wonderful collections of fossils around the world. The area is a rich source of marine fossils starting from the late Jurassic to the middle ages. There was the presence of 20 touchable specimens that included animal skulls, fossils, and snakeskin.
It was an exciting tour to experience the remains of various prehistoric species.

          
Bodleian library, the greatest collection

The Bodleian Library: Libraries of Oxford are amongst the most celebrated ones in the world. Some of them are known to be from during the middle ages. The Bodleian Library group were attached to faculties, and it’s been a legal deposit over 400 years. It has a deposit of over 12 million items. Situated in Broad Street, it has a collection of books, newspapers, journals, magazines, maps, prints, drawings and manuscripts. There is a special occasion to be a reader of the library. The venue is open for various exhibitions and other events.  Only the people who are affiliated to a college, department of Oxford University receive membership for Bodleian Library.  Reader’s cards are not available to anybody.

 
Radcliffe camera 

Radcliffe camera: The Radcliffe Camera is a dome-shaped building of Oxford University, which was designed by James Gibbs and built in neoclassical style during 1737- 49. The word camera comes from the Latin word denoting ‘room’. It’s house to the Radcliffe library. The building was named after Radcliffe, who’s the most successful physician of England. The easiest way of accessing Radcliffe Square is from High street, besides the St. Mary Virgin church. Spending a few pounds, it’s possible to climb the tower to a platform above Radcliffe square.

               
Bridge of sighs, Oxford 


Bridge of sighs: the bridge is a link between the old and new quadrangles of the Hartford College. The architect of the structure was Sir Thomas Jackson.  It’s supposed to have similarity with the Bridge of sighs of Venice.

                        
St Mary Virgin church 

 Church of St Mary virgin:  This is situated on the northern side of the high street.  The best part of this church is that it allows a north view straight to the Radcliffe.

                  
Something interesting

The ghost tour of Oxford: As I passed the city, a hoarding attracted me which read’ guided ghost tour’. Well, for some people who are adventurous enough, this can be a golden opportunity. Well, the tour costs 12£ per person and it starts at 6:30 in the evening. A guide wearing a mask will take you through the nooks and corners of the city which are believed to be haunted. The tours generally start from the gate of Trinity College in Broad Street. Well, you will be taken through the dark chapters of history that reins in the walls of the colleges. These are the stories of agony, horror, torment as well as terror. 

 
Iconic buildings standing tall for years 


If you are lucky you might be a shadowy figure while whizzing past (although it’s a matter of belief). Well, I feel this is just a marketing gimmick and a policy to attract tourists. But, all you see if what you believe. So, if you have an open mind and heart, you will definitely love to explore the opportunity of meeting some English ghosts.

       
Some souvenirs as memento

The souvenir shop:  You will come across numerous souvenir shops across Oxford. You may shop various displays that include fridge magnets and oxford accessories.  You may buy glasses and mugs with printed oxford icons, as well as buy hoodies, keyrings, pens, spinner bell, mugs, and T-shirts.




Thursday, 27 September 2018

The quick triple layer snack- power packed yummy deal!

  
The three-layer power-packed meal  



Being a mom is no joke, truly! Sometimes it feels hectic with loads of responsibility and dearth of energy to fulfill it. It was a tough day for me traveling almost 90 km. and back at home to cook something yummy for my kids. I had an innovative idea and implemented that with ease. The snack was just a triple layered one; carbohydrate, vitamins, and protein-packed meal. It’s wholesome and tasty. Well, now my kids demand it almost every day. Well, with some boiled potatoes and some cooked veggies, anybody can make this yummy meal.
Preparation: For 3-4 people
Ingredients:
(For the first layer)
3-4 medium sized boiled potatoes, de-skinned and mashed.
(For the second layer)
A ½ floret of broccoli (medium sized),
2 medium-sized onions chopped,
1 medium sized tomato chopped,
1 medium-sized bell pepper chopped,
½ cup of sweet corn,
(For the third layer)
3-4 eggs
Salt,
Garlic paste,
Soya sauce (3 teaspoons),
Three slices of cheddar cheese,
Oil for cooking,
1 teaspoon of mixed herbs.
Equipment required:
Microwave
Procedure:
1.       Put all the chopped vegetable- onion, bell pepper, tomatoes to a container and cook them with the slightest oil. Add garlic paste and the toss all the vegetable nicely. Add soya sauce to the mixture and leave. Keep the cooked vegetable aside.

2.        Take the eggs in a bowl and prepare a batter. Add salt and herbs to it.

         For the first layer:
1.       Take a bowl and layer with the mashed potatoes for the bottom layer. Add one slice of cheddar cheese and then microwave for 2-3 minutes till the cheese melts.

For the second layer:
2.       Place the second layer with a ladle of cooked veggies. Add another slice of cheddar cheese and then microwave for 2-3 minutes till the cheese melts.
For the third layer:
3.       Take the battered egg and put some herbs to it. Place over the layer of veggies and then microwave for 5-6 minutes.
The egg layer will settle and then it’s ready to be served.  The meal should be scooped and put in a plate to enjoy. The three layers become distinct. Trust me, the taste is simply heavenly. Simple ingredients put together to form a delicious wholesome meal.








Jewels of London that allure the tourists ( part 5)

                   
Hop on - hop off buses are a  great way touring London 



London is a place of varied culture and preserved heritage. Starting with the Romans of the historic age and ending with the modern immigrant, London has been the best place to settle. The city embraces people from various diversities and made a place for each community. The beauty of London lies in the eyes of the beholder; yes, but she has some iconic landmarks that call tourist from beyond boundaries.  I was almost completing the tour of the city, and the last day I accomplished a walking tour and saw some famous landmarks without which my tour would have been an absolute zero.

                  
Piccadilly Circus when bustling with tourists 

Piccadilly Circus: We strolled across Piccadilly Circus to have some views of the place and I felt like this place is so known to me, courtesy the media. Eventually, the word circus refers to animals, acrobats, and tents but there was nothing that sort. The word circus is being derived from the Latin to mean circle. This is around the junction with a famous statue at the center and surrounded by videos and neon signs.  The British lexicon Piccadilly Circus is used to refer to a place that means exceptionally busy. 

                      
The iconic angel stands amidst the busy crossing 




The word Piccadilly has been into existence since 1600 as ‘piccadills’ or a type of fancy neck collar used to be available.  There’s mention of the place in various novels including many of Charles Dickens.  The place has six illuminated screens which are switched off at regular intervals.
                                        
A screen that is the trademark of Piccadilly square 




 The famous screens are of Coca-Cola, TDK, Mac Donald, Hyundai, Samsung, and LG.  The place is accessible from other attractions like Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square, National portrait gallery, National Gallery, and St. Martins in the fields.

                  
Strolling along one of the busiest streets of United Kingdom

Oxford Street:  Next, we started strolling along Oxford-street. Oxford Street is one of the busiest places of London which is home to almost 300 shopping centers. I was basically wooed to see the brands flashing, hoardings and yes, I was lucky to avail the special summer discounts for some brands. The famous brands that jostle space are – Selfridges, John Lewis, BHS, House of Fraser, Debenhams, Marks & Spencer and many more. We were told that Oxford Street gets specially decked up for Christmas. This is the major road of the city of Westminster situated in the west end of London. 

                     
Where brands jostle space 


The road runs from Tottenham court road to Marble Arch. Almost half a million visitors come here every day to satiate their shopping spree. 
                                             
                                        
Great landmarks that denote the city's opulence 


There is no dearth of restaurants and cinema complex in Oxford Street. It’s a thrill to walk among the busiest streets of the UK.

           
Trafalgar Square visited by tourists

Trafalgar Square: We whizz passed the Trafalgar square while on the Big Bus tour. Then took some time to explore the iconic place of the Queen’s city. This is a public square situated in central London, which was formerly known as Charing Cross.  The iconic structure was built to commemorate the battle of Trafalgar where the British naval won victory against France and Spain in the Napoleonic War. The famous place is surrounded by galleries, museums, historic buildings, and cultural spaces. This place is famous as any political party holds their rallies and demonstrations. The Mayor supports this democratic tradition. The main attractions here are Nelson’s column, fountains, statues, and the fourth plinth. The statues in the display are General Sir Charles James Napier, General Sir Henry Havelock, and King George VI. It was fun to loiter across Trafalgar square. We had a great photography session. Nice to capture great moments at great places.

                                   
St. Pauls Cathedral, media's favorite 

St Paul’s Cathedral: We came across St. Pauls Cathedral, the awesome dome-shaped religious center which marks an iconic structure across the skyline of London. There is a collection of awe-inspiring history once you step inside the cathedral. This was mostly viewed when royal marriage and other State events were telecasted. Oh yes, how can I forget the fairy tale marriage of Charles and Diana?  The entry fees to the cathedral are £18 per person.
                                 
Inside St. Paul's Cathedral ( collected)



 It is accessible by bus from various corners of the city. The attraction is covered in the city tour plan of Big Bus, Original tour and other hops on - hop off city tours.  St Pauls is an Anglican church and the seat of the bishop of London. They offer free guided tours on arrival. The audio guide is available in eight different languages.

In one word, London can woe any visitor with her charm and elegance. The more you see the more you feel short of words describing her opulence. A quiet stroll near the tower bridge, a panoramic view of the city from the Shards or might be a cruise along the Thames River is not enough to realize the magnificence of the Queen’s city. She has a rich history, a great future and presently the bull’s eye of travelers and International students. Yes, London has a wide array of options for any cosmopolitan crowd and you will simply love the varied culture she offers.

The next day, we decided to visit Oxford, the education hub of the United Kingdom. 

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. 

Touring Oxford, the education hub of United Kingdom

     Oxford, the epitome of a learning center. We set for Oxford, the education hub of United Kingdom the next day.  Oxford is a...