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My Experience
Sunday, 13 May 2012
London City Tour
Mood:  happy
Topic: London Holidays

Originally I planned to visit Stonehenge, Windsor Castle and Roman Bath on this day. But we were too lazy to cover London city, and therefore we changed our plan to cover rest of London on this day.

The first thing we decided to visit is Buckingham palace. As usual we left hotel late, and it was somewhere around 10:00 hours. We used tube to reach Victoria tube station, and then walked towards Buckingham palace signboards. While we were searching for exact direction to Buckingham palace, we spotted entry to Royal mews. We moved in and purchased ticket costing approx 8 pounds per person. I must admit I was fool to think that this ticket will include either visit or some close views of Buckingham palace too. Well, Royal mews is just a collection to coaches, carts, cars and horses used by Queen and royal family. I found it a money waste. After exiting from it, we moved towards Buckingham palace and then I realized Royal mews was time waste also because I missed change of guards too which took place just 15 minutes before.

Buckingham palace is a majestic edifice and is residence of Queen Elizabeth and royal family. At this time, visitors were not allowed to enter the premise as the queen was at home. Therefore all visitors were roaming at the open area in front of the palace. The palace is open to general public every Aug when Queen goes on holiday outside UK.



While we enjoyed taking photographs and roaming, my son liked Buckingham palace for other reason. He found a couple of pigeons who I believe are permanent resident of that place. The determined birds were not flying away even when my son was chasing them. Instead they simple keep walking. My son spent half an hour chasing them, and was not at all willing to leave the place. Finally I had to intervene to stop their game. We then thought to take my son to the aquarium near London Eye. By the time we reached there, my son fell asleep. I had two choices; either to visit Tower of London, an old heritage museum or wait on the bank of Thames until my son wakes up & skip Tower of London. I chose later. We spent more than two hours sitting on bench enjoying Thames, London Eye and Big Ben view. Meanwhile we had combo meal at nearby McDonalds. Finally Vatsal woke-up at 16:00 hours. We then visited the aquarium. It’s a good collection of sea creatures. Not only Vatsal but we also liked it a lot. Vatsal was especially very excited to see penguins swimming underwater. By the time we finished watching aquarium, it was already past 17:00 hours, and as planned we dropped idea of visiting Tower of London.


Although there was enough sunlight, we preferred to return to hotel. Again we went to same hotel, Pride of India, and enjoyed meal. Just before returning to hotel we did some souvenir shopping. Then I visited nearby Tube station to check Oyster card balance. I topped-up Oyster card so that I have enough balance to travel to Heathrow. 


Next day (14/05/2012) we had flight to Kuwait via Doha at 10:00 hrs. We got prepared in time and reached Tube station to reach to Heathrow terminal 4. At Heathrow terminal-4 tube station, we returned the Oyster cards and received the deposits. Check-in formalities were easy, and soon our flight to Doha was in air.


Flight arrived at Doha at 19:30 hours. Our connecting flight was at 23:00 hours. We spotted a children play area while roaming around. Vatsal quickly made himself comfortable in the play area, and remained there until we had to move towards flight boarding area. The flight reached to Kuwait at 01:00 hours (15/05/2012). My elder brother offered us a warm welcome in arrival hall. Soon after exiting the airport campus I realized the weather is warm too. 


Posted by mljangir at 2:54 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 24 June 2012 3:07 AM EDT
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Saturday, 12 May 2012
London City Tour
Mood:  happy
Topic: London Holidays

Today we would have a city hop-on-hop-off tour. This tour is offered by several operators in London; Big Bus and Original tours being most important. Our tour was booked with Original tour operator. These tour operators run buses on a predefined ring path every 10 minutes. One can alight at any interesting point and board after visiting the attraction. I would recommend taking this Bus tour only if someone is interested in just watching London from Bus without getting down anywhere. Doing hop on hop off really does not make sense because you can hardly cover 2-3 spots if you spend good time. For hop on and hop off, Tube is much cheaper and convenient.

 

Although today I would have this tour, the first thing I did in morning is to purchase Oyster cards for us. Oyster cards are like debit card where one can credit some balance to the card, and can use it as and when bus/tube travel is done. Generally 8 pounds are sufficient for unlimited travels in a day.

 

We boarded hop-on-hop-off bus and got down at Madam Tussauds’ museum. Tube users should get down at Bakers Street tube station. We entered the museum after security checks. Visitors are not allowed to carry camera tripods inside the museum. Also video recording not allowed. Madam Tussauds’s museum was a great experience to see celebrities’ life like vex figures. We took photographs with Bollywood stars, sport persons and other great personalities. The museum has other sections like horror room, super heroes and 3D show etc. All sections are equally interesting and charming. We spent close to three hours there and then exited. The museum was very crowded and ticket queues were also longer. Visitors can skip part of long ticket queues by booking tickets online.

 

We then searched for an Indian restaurant for lunch but didn’t find any.  Therefore we managed with burgers at McDonalds. Then we continued hop tour and got down at London bridge only for taking tower bridge photographs (Some people refer tower bridge mistakenly as London bridge). We spent some 15-20 minutes here and then continued the tour. After passing through tower bridge we got down at Tower of London. We just roamed around and then took a Thames cruise from tower pier to Westminster pier. This cruise gives close shots of Tower Bridge, St. Paul's cathedral, London eye and Big Ben. The tour takes some 30 minutes to complete excluding waiting time to board. It was being 17:00 hrs and we decided to return hotel early. We discontinued hop tour here and boarded a city bus to hotel. Here we used the Oyster card for the first time; a very convenient tool in London.

While roaming around hotel, a Pakistani fellow gave us a pamphlet of a restaurant located very close to the hotel. The restaurant named Pride of India is run by some Pakistani citizens and offer vegetarian buffet at cost of 7 pounds, and non-vegetarian buffet at cost of 9 pounds. We had dinner in the restaurant. The restaurant served decent food. We then returned to the hotel and went to sleep.


Posted by mljangir at 2:49 AM EDT
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Friday, 11 May 2012
London City Tour
Mood:  happy
Topic: London Holidays

Our flight arrived at Heathrow terminal 5 at 16:30hrs. There was a very long queue for immigration and it took more than an hour to get through the immigration process. It was a very boring arrival to London. I wonder why there are just 4-5 counters open while there are several counters.

 

My hotel arranged for pick-up taxi. The driver was waiting for us in arrival hall. He took us to hotel and soon after check-in we left for London eye. I had already booked tickets online before leaving India.

 

Hotel reception guy told us about bus no 148 which goes to Westminster where London eye, Big Ben, Parliament house and Westminster abbey are located. I didn’t get time to purchase Oyster card, and therefore we paid onboard in cash. Each travel in bus costs 2.30 pounds (while same travel costs only 1.35 pounds if paid by Oyster card). We reached London eye and exchanged online ticket to actual tickets. London eye is biggest rotating wheel in UK and offers good views of London. One ride takes half an hour to complete. It was a pleasant ride. We took photographs from and around London eye, and then decided to return back to hotel.

Evening was cold and wind velocity was high. We reached back to bus stop and waited for bus. Usually the bus frequency is every 15 minutes but due to construction works in progress bus intervals are irregular these days. The bus arrived very late and we were getting anxious to hire taxi. Luckily bus arrived and we boarded it. It was 22:00hrs when we reached hotel and we were too tired even for dinner. We just managed with cup noodles and went to sleep.


Posted by mljangir at 4:42 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 24 June 2012 2:48 AM EDT
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