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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Day 899 --> and the UK Diaries

I am late, but here it is. My diaries.

Day 1:-
After a tiring morning shift at work, i managed to pack all my stuff at home, and leave for the airport. Since Scrooge is on a frquent flyer's list, we managed to complete the check-in, Security and even immigration is no time. We sit at the clipper lounge waiting for our flight to Manchaster via Munich. The flight, not surprisingly, was full yet relatively comfortable. We landed Munich on time and got a feeling of De-Ja Vu. Then we took another flight to Manchester and we were half way through. And thankfully, UK was nice and cold. A much needed relief from the scorching heat of Bombay. Then we took the train to a place called Oxenholme and then changed trains to reach Windermere. We were taken to our Apartment by the nice couple who we had rented it from. And although it was a cumbersome task taking the bags up stairs as, like most UK apartments, it had no lifts, it was worth it. The apartment was nothing short of a Luxury Suite and the view was fantastic. We rested for a while and then decided to take a stroll in the village exploring the place. Now, like most UK small towns, most of the shops were shut by 17:30. Scrooge shopped for some groceries as he didnt want to eat out, and as luck always has, i found an Indian Restaurant closeby where i did my dinner. We decided to call it a night by 10 PM.

Day 2:-
Woke up at 6:30 AM and felt extremely fresh and had a real good night's sleep. We got ready to take the Lake cruise . Decided to walk till the lake and then took the cruise till one of the town called Bowness and then went to a big, not to be missed, Motor Museum and then the famous Steam Engine Ride as well. We came back to Windermere in the evening and had a fantastic dinner at one of the local pubs. Again we called it a night by 10 AM.

Day 3:-
This was the we were waiting for. A day long, nearly 500+ Km bus tour to the following places. Beatrix Potter's Cottage, Rose Cottage (Where William Wordsworth wrote most of his famous Poems) and Hawkshead (Where Wordsworth Studied). Since the distances between these places was quite a lot, we spent a lot of time in the mini bus. The view of the places we travelled was fantastic. I will be uploading all the pictures on facebook in a few days so all of you can enjoy it. In between we also took about 45 minutes boat ride in one of the lakes and it was fantastic. After a great tour we came back to Windermere and then had a great dinner at one of the local Italian Joints. Next day we were to head to Edinburgh - Scotland.

Day 4:-
We bid adieu to Windermere and left for Oxenholme and then took a train to Edinburgh. Not surprisingly, it was cold and slightly windy. But it was enjoyable. After checking in to the apartment, we headed to Pizza Hut for a nice lunch. And since it was happy hours time, we paid nearly pittance for an amazing meal of Pizzas, Soft Drink and all you can eat salad. We took quite a lot of pictures and then decided to call it a night.

Day 5:-
Had to wake up early as we were going for a nice 540 KM long tour to Scottish Highlands and the famous Loch Ness. That the view and ambience was outstanding would be an understatement. Our first stop on the tour was a small farm where there was the famous Highland Cow - Hamish. We had a quick grub there before leaving for Fort Augustus to Loch Ness. We took a cruise at the lake and didnt have much luck finding the Loch Ness Monster but, we still managed to click one picture :).
On our way back we took a small halt at one of the local waterfalls and took some pictures there. If the day was interesting, so was the night. It was time for a Ghost Tour. It was a large group and we were taken to some real creepy yet famous Edinburgh underground Vaults where, besides hearing some creepy ghost tales and torture methods, we were super spooked out when the guide took us to a room where Covenants were held. And he dared us to enter inside a stoned circle. No one, except one guy, did because anyone who did, would have some kind of bad luck. Although it wont be fatal but it can be as bad as loosing a credit card, getting hurt, falling down, minor accidents etc.

Day 6:-
We went to the famous Edinburgh Castle and spent more than half a day inside. Saw many musuems inside the ever-crowded castle and just missed the 13:00 Canon Shot, even though it was right next to where we were eating. Got an amazing panoramic view of the Entire Edinburgh. We came home, relaxed then went out to an amazing Mexican Restaurant for dinner and then called it a night.

Day 7:-
Today we were off to the Capital - London. In terms of the number of people hustling and bustling, i didnt find London any different from Bombay. But in terms of Public Transportation, Navigation, Systems and in order of how things work on a day to day basis, London is miles and leagues ahead of Bombay, although i would still say it is atleast 40 years behind Munich.  In the evening we went out to Strada - An Italian Restaurant - Where we got a superb view of the famous London Bridge (The new one as the old one is now in Arizona -
My Maasi and Maasa(Mum's - Sister- Cousin and her Husband) and her parents and daughter had come as well. We spoke about the good ol' days and a had a lovely time. Scrooge and me were mentally in Munich because thats where the Champion League's Final was being played between Bayern Munich and Chelsea.
We managed to catch the last 2 penalty shootout shots at a pub and when Drogba Scored, the crowd went wild. Although Scrooge and me were disappointed, we did agree that Drogba had got a poetic justice.

Day 8:-
We left for another long day tour. We were going to visit 3 places. Our first halt was Stone Henge near Salisbury. I can only say this - Mysterious and yet spiritual. Our Next halt was the Salisbury Cathedral where we saw the famous Magna Carta and sadly, due to restrictions, couldnt take pictures. Our last stop was the town of Bath, where there were the famous Centuries old - And still steaming at 48 Degrees Celsius - The Roman Baths. Again an outstanding place. While coming back, the tour guide told us that Bath is actually a town which had got the recognition of being an UNESCO heritage. And then i saw an interesting event. The guide pointed out a house which belonged to Jane Austen. Not too many people were interested. Then he pointed out a house which belonged to one Johnny Depp. Everyone jumped to take the picture. We then went to a cousin's house near Wembley, as he has just shifted there from India and went to a Thai Restaurant for dinner.

Day 9:-

This was another day Scrooge and me were eagerly waiting for. Thorpe Park. This is an amusement park which has some of the world's thrill-est, scariest and most awesome roller coaster rides. And it was good thing we decided to buy the Accelerator pass so that we could be in the front of the queue and took all the scary rides atleast 4 times each. Scrooge was totally pooped out by the end of the day but i had a great time. We had dinner at Woodlands and after years i had the famous Badam Halwa.

Day 10:-
It was very sunny, which was sad for me, but nearly all the Londoners were happy. We took the Thames Cruise from near Big Ben to The Tower of London. Inside the Tower of london, we saw many museums but most importantly, took a look at the crown jewel room (Again where no cameras were allowed) and the famous Kohinoor Diamond. On our way back home, we took the famous London Bridge Underground Tour. And trust me, this one is THE MOST SCARIEST Tour/Ride one can ever take. I highly recommend, NOT to take this tour if you are even remotely afraid of Ghost Stories.

Day 11:-
A very hot day. The first stop was Westminster Abbey.  Its a church which also has resting places of many famous Brits, including Queen Elizabeth - I, Charles Darwin, Issac Newton, Laurence Oliver, and Rudyard Kipling amongst some of them. Our next stop Shakespeare's Globe Theatre  A very interesting place because the actual stage and the seating have been designed in the same way as it was 400 years back when the bard was alive. And they had a festival of his plays, where apart from English, they had his play adaptations in Hindi, Gujarati, Kurdish, Afghani, Urdu, The Sign Language and even a rap version. Then we headed to St Paul's Cathedral.  This is one of the world's most famous work of Architecture. It was awesome that Sir Christopher Wren designed it in a modern way as long as 400 odd years back. And to know why it is so splendid, you need to have balls to climb the 534 steps (That get extremely narrow and small as they go up) and go to the top to get the best bird eye's view of London.
After a fantastic day, we went to Covent Gardens which is famous for people hosting street plays and lots of shopping as well.
Had dinner at a nice south indian restaurant and then headed back to the apartment.

Day 12:-
We started the day with by going to an address which is even more famous than 10 Downing Street, its 221B Baker Street. :) They have converted it in a small musuem and i was surprised that so many people actually throng to see the place. .After that we headed to Lords Cricket Ground - The Mecca of Cricket and managed to get the noon tour (as the one before that was cancelled). We hurried to The newly built Wembley Stadium for a tour as well. Although we didnt get tickets for the 3 PM tour(And we thought that was the last one), we managed to get ones for a 4 PM special tour which was organised because of lots of people who had come. So we finally managed to do all the 3 things we wanted to do. It is highly recommended that one reaches the venue atleast 30 minutes in advance to avoid any disappointment, In the evening, we headed for an Uncle's(Mum's cousin) place for a small get together of sorts and stayed till nearly 11 PM chatting and eating.

Day 13:-
We took it easy. Didnt wake up early. We first went to the famous Hyde Park. Both of us rented cycles and after years we cycled and took a nice stroll around the park. We then walked up to the lake and took pictures. After that we walked up to Bond Street. Had a nice lunch. While Scrooge went on his on way after that, i caught up with a friend from Bombay who had also come for a vacation. After that Scrooge and me had dinner at Woodlands and then headed to the apartment. This was our final night in London.

Day 14:
We headed very early in the morning to the airport. For the first time in my life i would be travelling Business Class. The flight to Munich was ok but the flight from Munich to Bombay was first class. Got real luxury treatment, and was quite comfortable. Managed to see 2 movies - Hugo and We own a Zoo. I liked the latter and the former was just about ok. Landed about 30 minutes late in Bombay. We got the baggage and then headed home.

Day 897
It was nearly 4 AM till i could get some sleep and by the time i woke it was nearly 1:30 PM. Sunday was normal. I went to my best friend's house to give him the stuff that i had bought for him and his mum. Then had dinner with an office friend and came home and just pooped out.

Day 898
It was going to be an extremely tiring day at work. Tiring because it was Monday and i was resuming work after 2 weeks. As expected, i had piles of work waiting for me which i just about managed to finish by 10:30 PM. I came home, expecting to go to bed early, but sadly, i was feeling very very low, had a splitting headache, which resulted in insomnia. Guess these would be after effects of a jet lag.

Day 899.
Woke to a low feeling in the morning. Called up the fat guy who had also gone through a similar phase for a couple of weeks. Headed for office in the afternoon and was a routine day, The thing with these summer days is that it can make anyone feel drowsy at work. And if you are working in an afternoon shift like me, it can get even worse. But somehow i managed to scrape through the day. I came home and decided the first thing that I would do would be to upload the blog which has been pending for days now.
Well, its taken a long long time to remember and write this and hopefully i will catch up with all you lovely people tomorrow.
Till then..Good Night and Sweet Dreams.

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