London Loops: Travelogue on London

London Loops: Travelogue on London

Hello Friends,

One of the patrons of Beautiful Times, PV Natarajan was on a long, really long vacation to London, recently (much to our envy). During his stay in London he has meticulously chronicled every bit of his experience there, as a first time visitor. And we bring all that to you in a three part series called London Loops. Read on and Know London…

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PART 3:

Real Estate

  • The houses are largely 1+1 structures with sloping tiled roofs.
  • Rental for a two bed flat is minimum 1200£PM onwards. Single bed -1000£. But it is furnished.
  • The apartment rent includes carpet, kitchenette, bed, living room furniture, room heaters, geysers everything is provided.
  • Gas and Electricity charges for a two bedded 4 member family: 200 £PM.
  • Apartment owners pay the common maintenance and tenants pay the municipal taxes! ( reverse of practice here)
  • There is a Real estate boom now in London & prices at its peak. This is because anyone can buy a property here. Wealthy Asians from India/Middle East are purchasing lavishly, causing the demand. Govt. is permitting this as this generates employment.
  • As a social net, UK Govt. is providing a margin of 20% on long term basis for unhoused sections, so that they can raise the balance 80% against mortgage and own a house.
  • London is not a coastal city. But Thames river has sufficient depth for even mid-sized ships to sail into the city. Hence, the city has a port.
  • The London Bridge was the only bridge across the river Thames during the early days and had fallen down several times only to be rebuilt. ( Remember the rhyme” London Bridge is falling down, falling Down …”)

Central arch of Current London Bridge

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  • However, now there are many bridges across the River Thames.
  • Waterloo: The place where Napoleon was defeated is very much in the heart of London and there is a large tube/main line train station also by that name in that location. The station also has sculptures depicting the great defeat.

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Tourism (Popular Spots inside London)

  • Central London is best discovered by walk
  • Thames River cruise: This can be done with having lunch or tea on board, or just the cruise as well. There is a guide who explains all about the sights through the journey. The central London land marks can be seen very closely from the boat, the upper deck provides an excellent view. The cruise duration lasts about 45 minutes, but of course there are different cruise packages that one can choose from.
  • Globe Theatre: Theatre in London has a good patronage. The Globe Theatre in Central London hosts even today Shakespeare’s plays that were enacted during his time. That is, costumes of that period and without mike or audio system. It is an open air theatre and the actors deliver the dialogues loudly.
  • Windsor Castle: This sprawling castle is situated near London and hosts the existing royals, during weekends. (They stay in Buckingham Palace during week days which is very near Parliament complex, Big Ben etc.)
  • Buckingham Palace: Where the queen resides. The change of Guard is really worth watching.
  • Tower Bridge: Opens and closes for ship movement in the River Thames
  • Warner Bros studio which is where the Harry Potter film was shot.
  • The Famous Big Ben (Clock tower) is located in the parliament complex, which is in central London.
  • London itself is below sea level. The lowest point is Westminster tube station, which is 100 feet below sea level (this tube station is near parliament complex/Big Ben etc. very near Thames)the highest point is a tall building called Shard, again on the shores of the River Thames. It is 1004 ft. tall 87 storied building that was inaugurated in 2012. This is the tallest structure in the entire Europe, even taller than Eiffel Tower.
  • Then there is the Parliament House, Buckingham Palace, Charles Dickens Memorial, Madam Tussads- Wax Models, National Art Gallery (with excellent paintings) and over half a dozen museums.

Tourism (Popular Spots outside London, one day trips)

  • Stratford Upon Avon: Shakespeare’s birth place is about 120 miles from London. The house where Shakespeare lived/his cemetery/ his daughter’s place/wife’s house all of them are preserved and exhibited. The river Avon also flows by, which served as an inspiration for several of his works.

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  • Dover Port: This is a sea port town with ferry services available from the port to France. Here the beach is not of sand but of pebbles.
  • Canterbury: The town which hosts the Archbishop and the Church of England. This is a protestant church HQ which separated from Roman Catholics in the 12th Century.
  • Oxford &Cotswolds: A beautiful university town with ancient buildings everywhere has several independent colleges. Christ Church college tour is a must as the popular movie Harry Potter scenes was shot there. Cotswold’s towns afford a picturesque drive from near Oxford where one can see English country side and habitat side by side.
  • You will be surprised to find a modern building in the University campus, named “Arumugam Building” Arumugam is a Tamil name. On enquiry it was found that he was an alumnus of Oxford. Belongs to Malaysia and he had donated this!

 

Cheers

Bhuvana Rajaram

Bhuvanarajaram9@gmail.com

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