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Jul 30, 2013

Visit to London: A Dream Come True

Adv. Parvathy P. Menon
image We were travelling eagerly to see and experience the English land, the seat of British Empire. On a fine afternoon in May we arrived at the London Heathrow Airport. Without much delay we were out with emigration clearance. It is the world’s busiest airport, and in every split of a second we could see a fleet of planes landing and taking off. It was a very a very interesting sight for us!

Caption: Parvathy Prakash, Latha Prakash, Prakash Kollat on the banks of river Thames 

The arrangement at the airport for emigration was very quick and enterprising. We felt proud to be at London. Since the time I started studying British History, it was a dream for me to visit London. 

The city is known as the ‘rain city’ because of the cold currents from the North Atlantic Ocean and we did not miss experiencing the same as it was drizzling with chilly icy wind. We really could not withstand the cold or rather the warm clothes we bought from India did not actually serve the purpose. We stayed at hotel 'Thistle Heathrow' near the airport and we were able to watch the landing and waiting of the flight one after another every minute.

London, the capital city of UK is the most popular city of Europe with ancient building, narrow roads with green trees, situated in the banks of river Thames. It showcases incredible wealth of history, culture and exciting attractions. The river splits the city into North and South with central London in its interior, considered to be Eleanor Cross near the JN Trafalgar Square and Whitehall. The city is the place of Government of UK around the palace of Westminster’s,. Govt Departments along Whitehall, with Prime ministers’ residence at 10 Downing Street and the British Parliament on the banks of river Themes. The river was flowing with bubbling joy and it seemed like she was well protected with due care.

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Next day morning, we were at Buckingham Palace, the residence of Queen having apparently 700 rooms. There was a massive crowd to witness the Change of Guards. The guards were dressed in traditional royal form with woolen Cap and a small hand fan in red color. Even though a huge crowd was there to witness the parade, the police were very pious and directive. We felt that human values were protected in true spirit. 

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It was a fantastic experience at the front gate of the Palace although we came to know through our tour guide that Her Majesty does not stay in the Palace during weekends as the crowd annoys her peacefulness. I wonder if she meant Indians.

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Other famous landmarks include the London eye, introduced in memory of celebration of the start of 21stCentury by the British Airways. After having snacks in the chilly wind we waited in a queue for half an hour to enter the weirdly oval shaped huge ring, the London Eye. It offered a panoramic view of the city and sights such as the Tube, (underground railways of London), Westminster Bridge, the Victoria Embankment, the Big Ben (now known as Big Bent for the tilt in the tower which they recently discovered), the House of Commons and the County Hall, etc.

It was very interesting to note that everybody was in queue, obedient without giving others a chance to complaint. People from different civilization behave in one culture, ie London. Near the Kew Garden the people rest and enjoy the very rare sun light peeping through shade trees.

In our younger age, we all might have heard the nursery rhyme that the London “Bridge is falling down, falling down…!” Many of us might have wondered to see what that means. So finally we were in the London Tower Bridge of 800 years old. The middle part can be lifted whenever its required and that part was in four pillars like Tower. The beautifully maintained bridge has two line traffic including Tram service. Both the sides are having walkways and people can easily cross the bridge like the flow of the river.

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The Trafalgar Square is where people gather before or after events such as football, cricket or any other important political event. Thanks to the British to provide good open space in the midst of the city, which we can not think of in Kerala.

London is the home of numerous museums, galleries, libraries, sporting events and other cultural institutions, including the British Museum, Madame Tussaud's wax museum, National Gallery,  British Library and 40 West end theatres. The famous Shakespearian Opera house, the Globe, is situated in the heart of the city of London where, the great plays like The Tempest, Othello, Antony & Cleopatra, Macbeth, Julius Ceaser were played. Still the dramas are being played.

The London had the oldest underground railway known as the Tube. On July 6, 2005 London was awarded with the  2012 summer Olympics, thus making London the first city to stage the Olympic Games three times. The Greenwich Royal observatory, the home of Greenwich Mean Time and the Prime Meridian line is the one worth to visit.

The city has its own unique contributions to arts, commerce, entertainments, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, professional services, tourism and transport. It is amazing to see that in spite of having such narrow roads, their traffic regulation is well disciplined and organized, be it public bus, cars, electric trams or motor bikes. The country’s discipline even extended to keeping streets clean void of all kinds of posters and pictures of politicians unlike India where their heroic photoshopped posters fill up streets and even trees. I must say that the citizens of UK are law abiding citizens in the true sense and spirit.

The history of the English Church, formed by the King Henry II, allows the British people to have polygamy. It’s interesting to know the history behind the origin of the Church of England and how King Henry the II formulated the same and went against the Catholic church concept.

Large areas are utilized for agricultural development. Wheat, flowers, fresh vegetables, cattle and milk are their main products and 60% of food grains are from U.K only. It is a soothing sight of greenery all along the interior part of London with yellow flower beds of mustard farms spread across. It is really worth a sight. Definitely, we suggest one must visit this country to know the difference of our land with the UK.