It`s always a great pleasure for me to visit London. Don’t know why, it`s just something about it and I feel myself very drawn to it. I love the British air of the city, its architecture and the nice people. Not to mention about the famous English breakfast and the amazing food!:))
It`s so good!! Make sure you try a proper English breakfast ( eggs, sauces, beans, mushrooms, bacon). I know, it may sound quite heavy for a meal that is first of the day but believe me, it`s totally worth it!:))
I hesitated at first too, thinking, “Wow, bacon and eggs at 9 am?”, but I went for it anyway, and believe me, I didnt regret it one bit!:)) It`s very, very tasty so make sure you have a breakfast like this when you go to London:))
I got there Monday morning, on the 23rd, around 10 am. God, was I excited!:))
In the plane, I had this continuous smile on my face and I feared to some point that people will think there`s something wrong with me 😀 Hahaha:)) For real!:))
But it didn’t matter! It just felt so good and I wanted to enjoy the moment! And this is what I did!:)) I was also listening to my favorite Indian music in my headphones, so that added an extra amount of happiness too:)), as I really really love Indian music:))
I started the “exploration of the London city” with a visit at a nursery called Bright Little Stars, owned by a good friend of mine, and actually a person whom I admire very much:)) I had the most amazing time while visiting that nursery:)) Oh my God, was it beautiful!! I would repeat that experience again and again, for real!, as the place is pure magic! We went inside and my friend showed me each of the rooms where the children were, either playing or sleeping, or outside on a wooden made balcony, playing games with the teachers:)) I was so happy to see all those children:)) And they were curious to see who this new person was, and what was she doing there. I waved at them and they waved back, piercing me with their big, innocent and curious eyes.
Divinity at its best… I thought to myself while looking at them. I smiled when I saw their playgrounds, toys, their small beds, their coats that hung in the hanger… It also brought a smile on my lips when I saw the beautiful walls covered with drawings made by the children… So happy to see all that!:))
The energy coming from the children was amazing! So pure, so inspiring, so strong… I liked it so much!
For several minutes, while I was in that nursery, I forgot about myself. I forgot that I am an adult, I forgot that my body and mind belong to an adult person, and I found myself wishing I`d be a child again, even for just one day… Isn`t it funny? When we are children, we wish to be grown-ups and when we are grown-ups we wish we`d be children again. Quite interesting, really… I looked at them, being fascinated by that purity that filled their eyes and smiles… I loved that moment, for real. I will never forget it.
After leaving the nursery, together with a person who`s very dear to me, I went to Krishna temple, located just outside London. While driving to the temple, I literally had the experience of traveling back in time, I am not kidding you. As we were leaving the city behind, we approached this rural area, where green fields, houses and animals replaced the noise, cars and tall buildings of the modern life. It was as if the entire area had been touched by the air of the 19th century, and while getting closer and closer to the temple, I was somehow expecting to see Jane Austen, Emily Bronte or Charles Dickens walking just on the side of the road, smiling and carrying their quills and papers with them. I know it`s strange, but this is the experience I had because the place was so fully charged with the elegant and bohemian feature of the 19th century. To my disappointment, I didn’t see Jane nor Emily, nor Charles…:P but I surely enjoyed the experience and moment, that is for sure.
So we arrive at the temple. We get out of the car and walk toward the building. As we were in the yard, I could feel an immense peaceful vibration of the place. It was just like when a Hindu or Tibetan priest is meditating, and the only thing present is the silence, both in and outside of him. Nothing to think about, nothing to do, nothing that could disturb that deep inner journey and quiet mind… This is how the temple came across to me – as a priest who`s meditating, and whose meditation is so profound that nothing can disturb it. The temple was placed in the middle of the yard, surrounded by green grass and in front was this beautiful and natural lake, with ducks swimming in the water:)) It was such a lovely sight:))
We went inside and I was amazed to see the statue of the man who created that place, Srila Prabhupada. The statue looked as if it was alive. The facial expression, the eyes, the way he held his folded hands… Everything looked so real! I bought myself a medium sized lotus Krishna statue (I`ve been wanting a statue like that for a very very long time. So happy that I finally have it now:)), and a book called The journey to self-discovery. If you want to read more about this temple, please go here: http://iskcon.org/ . If you`re anything like me, you`ll love this place:)) I am much looking forward to my next visit there!:))
After this spiritual experience, my friend and I went to a pub (and not just any pub, but one that is 600 yrs old!:)) They say that Oliver Cromwell himself stayed for one night here:)) This pub… I`m telling you, you really need to see it whenever you`ll fly to England!:)) It`s called Ye Old Fighting Cocks. It will blow your mind!:))) You`ll love the old building and its design, the old wood, the furniture, even the old fire place! I was absorbed to see its beauty and medieval air! It`s always a pleasure for me to see places like this one, as they have this incredible power to take you back in time… even though you`re still in the 21st century, you know what I mean?:)) It`s amazing, really:))
Then, the second day, I had the great joy and pleasure to discover Charles Dickens Museum, located in Chancery Lane. As soon as I stepped inside the house, I was completely overjoyed!! My God, it was a wonderful experience! We started with the first floor, where the dining room was and another room where Mrs. Dickens would take care of the mail and correspondence while watching over the children, too. It was pretty much like a study room, with a small fire place, books, a small sofa, and a table. That was all but it was so charming:))
On the wall hung a big painting of Mrs. Dickens:)) I can only say that Mr. Dickens had a great taste when it came to women and he surely knew what to choose when he got married 😀 Good for him!:)
Then we went to the next level where I had the pleasure and absolute honor to see… the room where the writer worked on his books. Oh my God! What a feeling! I couldn’t believe it! I got to see the table he wrote at, the chair he sat on, even his quills!:)), his huge library, containing all the books he read or the ones he wrote. All of them, right there, aligned ever so beautifully on the shelves…
Even though it wasn’t allowed, I touched all these objects, I just had to! I wanted to feel the chair he sat on, wanted to touch the table he wrote at all those amazing stories… I know I wasn’t allowed but I am so happy that I did it anyway:)) After all, I don’t get to see Dickens`s house every day, do I?:)) The next floor followed, where I found Mrs. and Mr. Dickens`s bedroom, a smaller room that looked like a bathroom for children and the maid`s room. The last floor was occupied by the nursery and a small room like an attic, and on the walls were written fragments from Dickens`s works.
Oh, nearly forgot 😀 Should you fly to London anytime soon, please make sure to check out these places, Ping Pong ( they have these amazing dumplings:)), and The Duke of Wellington – you`ll love the wild boar sausages with smashed potatoes, trust me on this one;-) Another place totally worth going to is Electric Dinner – you`ll love the shrimp & grits and fried egg:)) I tried it out myself and it`s fantastic!!
And of course, it wouldn’t be London without Indian food, would it?:))
Therefore, please check out this incredible place called The Regency Club. Ever wanted to have some real, proper Indian food? This is the place! You`ll be enchanted by all the Indian spices, flavors and ingredients, and the design of the pub is so cool that it made me associate it with Bollywood itself:)) It`s really really good, and by all means, pay it a visit:)) You`ll thank me later:)))
On the third day, I ventured into the visit all by myself:)) Not a bad experience, I must say. I was a bit restless at the beginning, have to admit, but after a short while, I got used to everything and it didn’t even seem to me that I am just a person visiting London but a person who`s been living there for a long time and knows all the streets and places. London is not complicated. It is a big city – without doubt – but one can easily manage it. So I headed to Portobello Road to make some shopping. What else can a girl do in such a big city as London, right?:D
I bought myself several scarves (huge scarf fan:P), and I started talking with the seller, a woman from New Zealand but she`s been living in London for many years. We connected from the first moment, and it felt as if we knew each other for ages! Her name was Jane:)) I look forward to seeing her again as soon as I`ll return to London, as Jane – without knowing it – gave me the answers to some questions that really bothered me, questions linked to the personal side of my life. I am deeply grateful to her for this:))
Then I initiated this friendly chat with a young man who had a jewelery shop there:)) He was from Nepal, and just like earlier with Jane, we started talking so easily about Nepal, about the life style there, music, religion, food… It was amazing!:)) I didnt stay too long, though, as he had to attend his clients but I was happy for that nice conversation, for sure:))
People in Uk are so polite and friendly!! It`s a huge pleasure and joy to get to know and to talk to them!:)))
I, for one, am enjoying it at its fullest every time I get to do that:)))
So I carried on going to the next shop, it was a souvenirs shop:)) I bought lots of English tea (can`t help it, it`s my weak point:D), a summer bag and two tea cups:)) This young man was from Bangladesh and he was so curious to hear out more about Romania! Need to say that my curiosity about Bangladesh was just about the same as his about Romania:)) I asked him of his country and its people, and I told him about my own country, too:)) While talking to him, I thought to myself how lovely it is to just get to meet somebody, and just talk to that person with no hidden agenda or attachments of any kind… Just a nice and friendly conversation, purely for the sake of it:)) It`s quite something to experience, no doubt!:))
After leaving Portobello Road, I headed to Kensington Park, to see the the famous palace where princess Diana lived. I took many pictures of it, as the palace is quite a jewelry. It`s surrounded by greenery and there`s this alley that takes the visitor from the gate to palace, an alley that has trees on either sides of it. In the back of the palace is the garden and then comes the lake with its swans and ducks:)) I stopped to feed them and I think they were quite happy about it:D
While feeding the birds, a man approached me, his name was Zahit and he was from India:)) He had his family living with him in London, as well. We started talking about the swans and ducks and pigeons, and then easily moved to topics like Ramayana and the holy book of India, Bhagavad Gita.
Wow, I was amazed to see the wisdom this man carried within!
At that time I was reading Ramayana, and I told him that I`m just finishing the final chapter of the book. He was very happy to hear that, and also happy to see a white person being so interested in the Indian culture. We spent 2 hours sitting on a bench and talking about India and life in general, and to some point, Zahit told me that I should live in a simple way and keep my mind open. I knew these words were meant for me. I felt it when I heard them and I thanked him for his words. Hopefully we`ll meet again. I would like that as Zahit taught me a very important lesson.
In the evening, I met with a dear girl friend of mine, Andreea, who`s been living in London for nearly two years:)) We went to the same high-school together, and knowing that she`s living in the British capital, I let her know ahead of time and this is how we met, after 10 years as we graduated in 2005:)) It was so good to see her after all that time:)) We met at the restaurant/bar where she`s working, and talked for around 3 hours:))
We did have to catch up on so many things, didn’t we?:)) So yes, one pleasant evening, that`s for sure!:))
In the fourth day, my friend and I went to see the gorgeous Tower of London, which is located on the Thames`s shore:)) This tower has something special, something of its own and you can`t but stop and wonder how the royal figures must have lived here as the building is full of mystery, history, royalty… a building whose walls have witnessed some of the most important events in UK`s history.
I saw the royal jewelry collection, painting of all the British monarchs and the halls which “hosted’ all kinds of war items: swords, armors, guns, cannons, even statues of horses! Also, men who wore armors specific to the ruler-ship of the king whose time those men lived in. It takes nearly two to three hours to see the whole place but it`s definitely worth it.
What I liked most was the royal jewelry collection and the architecture of the tower. It`s stone made, and regardless of all the years that passed since it was built, the tower is outstanding. So tall, so big, so powerful… It imposes respect and authority to everybody who`s seeing it, letting them know, thus, that it is the very place where England`s history was created and its destiny forged.
I will always look forward to visiting London, as it`s not just a city. It is a culture, it is a spring of civilization, history and royalty, a spring from which all the rest of the European nations took their inspiration starting with fashion, social life and etiquette; moral, human and social rights and conduct.
This is why I like and admire so much the British society:)) It has its own way of doing things, and I just love the kindness of the people!:))
Already looking forward to my next trip there:))
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