Sunday, July 10, 2011

Already in the middle of the vacation?

Cant believe its already the 4th day and past 3 days flew by without a thought of office, catching the bus, waking up early in the morning on the multiple alarms, thinking whether to change the job or not ...and the train of thoughts..What a relief it has been so far..

Today, again S has to travel to a place outside London and hence started early. I woke up a little late, had a relaxing English breakfast at Garfunkel's and started off to Lords. Took the tube to St.John's Wood . The amount of time I took to walk from the tube station to Lords was lesser than the time taken to reach Grace Entrance which is the visitors entrance from where tickets needs to be purchased and where the guided tour starts. Since it was a long walk from one end of the stadium to the other, called up the museum and informed them that I would be a little late and checked with them if they would still allow me to join the 10AM tour. Joined the tour group around 10:20 , when the group had already finished visiting the museum and proceeding towards the stadium. The person at the ticket counter was sweet enough to ask me to come back to the museum so that I can catch up with what I'd missed in the 12noon tour..

We went to the Long Room and the guide introduced us to who have access to the Long Room, and how do players enter the pavilion, and some of the quirky stuff that players have done before certain big matches. From the Long room, we proceeded to the Committee room and were told about where the Queen sits and watches the match..It was quite funny that all of us wanted to sit in that particular chair :-)

From the committee room, we proceeded to the Dressing room. This was the visitors dressing room as the English dressing room had suffered a broken window in the previous test match , it was getting readied for the upcoming matches. Hence we weren't allowed inside. I'm not a cricket buff, but have developed interest over the years, after having marries S who loves the sport , and so is my mil. Anyways, it was news for me when I couldn't spot our master blasters name in the name board there which records details of those who score century at Lords. So is Muralidharan's name not to be seen in the bowlers name board..Life can sometime be very weird nah..Lords which is considered to be the home of cricket does not have the greatest and great batsman's names, but features not-so familiar names..

From the Dressing room, we went over to the stadium, where we could open up our cameras and click away till we get bored..Till then, we weren't allowed to take pictures in the Long/committee/Dressing rooms. People who travel alone/visit places alone will know what it is to ask others to click a snap of theirs..Still, I did ask others to click mine and I clicked pics of the ground from various positions in the stadium. We were allowed to go around the seating area and I imagined how the view would be when a players are on the ground by seating in various positions. It is my conclusion that the more upstairs you have yourself seated, the more difficult it is to figure out who is doing what..You'll definitely get an idea as to where the ball is going, or when the bowler is bowling or the catch or 6 or 4, but it is difficult to figure out people on the ground the farther you are seated from the ground. People who have watched matches live from the grounds might know this, but for me, I used to wonder if we'll be able to watch the match from the ground as comfortably as we do from our drawing rooms, especially, will we be able to see who is doing what when seated in the last rows..something that I found quirky was that the front seats didn't have roofs above them, whereas when you go upward, you are sheltered from shine or rain..It is my assumption that tickets are expensive for front seats and prices decreas as you go farther..and hence, when you pay a big amount for ticket, you'll be provided more comfort (here, a roof above your head)..

Next, we visited the J.P.Morgan Media Centre, and got to know that it was built recently and it was well equipped technologically..The media people will have a good view and a cool environment while watching and reporting the game.

We moved on to the nursery ground and got to know that one end of the nursery ground is just 8 feet above the tube path and we can actually sense moving of trains while standing in that area. The tour ended here and we were free to visit the Lord's shop for shopping. There were 3 others who seemed to have missed the first section of the tour and we marched along with our guide to the museum. supposedly, they were not very keen to join the 12 noon group for the museum tour, hence they did it by themselves..I joined the 12noon group and got to know some tid-bits about the Ashes cup.

This is the first time I'm visiting a cricket ground and I was super thrilled having gone into one and having got to know some tid-bits about the game/ground , I was already thinking about what all I would share with S.(The funny part is S knew all the information I gathered that day ever since he was a teen) .

From Lords, I went to Baker Street, roamed there for some time and headed to mansion House to visit Tate Modern.  Before going to Tate Modern, I visited St.Paul's church and basked in its huge structure for some time and when I almost reached Millennium Bridge, the skies opened up and it was getting very difficult to walk when the winds grew stronger. Hence, joined two women who were taking shelter in the building complex adjoining the bridge. Since many joined us there , along with another woman and her son, I went inside the building only to eb driven out by the receptionist there..Thanks to the son, who thought he had all the freedom to walk and wander inside what was supposed to be office premises. When the force of rain lessened and wind appeared gentler, I trusted my umbrella to protect me and walked towards Tate Modern on the other end of the M bridge.Halfway along the bridge, rains started pouring heavily , not to mention forceful winds, I enjoyed it, but didn't know in which direction I would fly the next moment..Yes, there was hardly anyone on the bridge and for a moment I don't know if I wanted to just there or catch hold of the next person passing by (as I completely lost my balance) or go back or proceed forward(for I was stuck right in the center of the bridge)..As I type this sitting in my study, I am able to relive that moment . I simply wanted to anchor to someone ,didn't bother about if that was a man or woman (who would dare to care when there is a choice between being thrown away by wind or have a chance of surviving!) .I reached out to another young woman coming in the opposite direction, but she was struggling to manage herself and her umbrella..However, I managed to reach the other end and entered Tate Modern to find that I was completely drenched, and the pound notes in my pocket weren't spared..Good that the passport was not soiled..

Spent some time at Tate Modern and covered most of the galleries that interested me. I didn't have interest looking into the pictures that depict poverty,malnutrition, scenes of flood-hit and worn-torn areas, human pictures in general..As such sights are common in media all the time in this side of the world. Had a pack of salad from Sainsbury, so digged into it at the cafe there and by this time, the rain had stopped, so, made an exit. I didn't have any plan in place now, so since I was already near the Thames River Walk, decided to take the walk. What do I know, when I proceeded to talk taking in the smell of the rain drenched pathway and the tides of the river, and the bustling activity in the neighborhood, I glanced up to see the board which read : Globe", yes, its the Shakespeare's Globe!!   The hall was packed with young and old alike , and I could spot lot of school going children in the crowd. Browsing through the calendar of events , I decided to book myself into a play. On enquiring, figured out that all tickets to the play Much Ado About Nothing"  was sold out and there were very few seats left for "Alls Well That Ends Well". After having multiple conversation with the person on the other side of the counter as to what is a seat with a "restricted view", booked a ticket for myself for the show on Thursday noon 2PM.

 Having booked myself for the 2PM show next day, I continued the river walk, now there were quite a few requests from couples asking me to be their photographer and I took the pleasure in clicking multiple pictures of each of them till I was myself satisfied with the outcome..One of the pics that I clicked of one particular couple came out great and they aa-aahed--oohed over the pic.I felt delighted too. Enroute, I checked out the various restaurants that displayed their menu outside to check if any of hem had some interesting stuff in them for us,vegetarians. One particular restaurant caught my attention, that was "The Real Greek", I stepped inside and enquired about the details of the spread, timing and if reservation is  required. While I proceeded toward the Tower Bridge, I got to know what are "London Bridge, South ark Bridge and Tower Bridge". I also witnessed the opening of the Tower Bridge when a ship had to cross the bridge. One particular name board held the direction to Borough market, and that ringed a bell in my head :my cousin had mentioned this name while we met on Monday asking me to visit the place to get a feel of the place. Though there were name boards showing directions to the Borough market, every direction the boards led were empty. I wasn't sure if I had to walk more to reach this market . By now, my legs ached for a break, hence went inside a cathedral and sat on a bench. Here's when I made friends with a person who introduced himself to be a teacher of French and German in schools in London and as a part time job, he was also doing some work for the British Government. I was surprised to hear him talk in Hindi and knowing that he has relatives in India, in our very own Hyderabad and he that he has visited India and loves to learn and speak Hindi. We started talking/chatting and in the course found out what places he would suggest to visit for a tourist. He also mentioned that the Borough Market opens at noon and closes around 4ish and that the cathedral where we were seated is a very old one and its charming and beautiful in the inside and recommended me to visit. When it was time for him to leave, I went into the church and found that all characters in  Shakespeare's tales were painted there. Prayed for a while and continued the river walk .Now, I reached the Tower Bridge and walked past the Tower of London to the tube station on the other end.

Today, M and I decided to visit my cousins place in the eat , in the suburbs of Canary Wharf and we decided to meet up at Liverpool St to grab something to eat and from there, we would come over to the Bank station and take the DLR to Mudchute. Before proceeding to Liverpool St, since I had some more time, I went to Leicester Square and went isnide China Town and roamed there for some time. We went to my cousins place , caught up , cooked and had dinner and called it a day. By the time we returned home(hotel, that is..Another post is required to narrate how I got so attached to the hotel we were in, especially the area we were put up for the week, Gloucester Road. I felt I belonged there :-)) , it was past 11 and we will wake up tomorow to the second half of this holiday session

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