A four-day tour of London. Blitz tour!
Tour to London: four days in London! British visa allows you to stay in the country for six months, but nothing can be done — in the schedule of my tour of Europe for a tour to London is allocated only 4 days. A lot or a little to this extraordinary island? Of course, little, but enough, to feel mysterious charm of this strict and beautiful countries.
London tour: On the way to England
Since England is not part of the Schengen countries, a visa to the UK will have to be obtained separately. Make it quite real, but be prepared that the Embassy will want to make sure that you are just a tourist and do not dream to settle on the island. If you do not fly from Ukraine to England at once, but first to another European country, you will have to think about how you will get to Foggy Albion. You can take the train through the tunnel dug under The English channel. You can ship. Swimming in the North sea is romantic and interesting. But, according to our calculations, the cheapest was… the plane! The flight is tireless, takes only 1.5 hours. When the chassis touched the British ground, I expected violent shouts and applause — after all, it was so when they flew from Kiev to Amsterdam. But all were silent… As I explained to friends, the British people are calm, and such a violent expression of emotions is more typical of Americans…
When you fly to Heathrow airport from Ukraine, the plane flies over London, and in good weather directly below you can see the entire British capital. But they say it is a sight frightening: huge, seemingly endless city that can not fail to obey…
London tour: Past the tower to the Thames
I thought the London fogs were just a beautiful metaphor. But when we went for a walk in the evening along the Thames, drizzling rain. And all at once became somehow in London. There is something magical and attractive about this big city. Endless turns of streets, red buses, old mansions and modern skyscrapers, fine misty rain and wide cold Thames.
We go to the Tower bridge — and this is not just a familiar picture, but a real bridge-a castle of sand-blue flowers. Next, just in the valley, hid the tower — famous prison-fortress. I never got there, and who knows, maybe it’s for the best — after all, to buy a ticket to prison — it’s strange…
Go to the other side of the Thames can now be a thin pedestrian bridge — the Millennium bridge. It seems that the shiny metal from the rain is about to slip and fall into the river.
Cross the Thames and get into the mysterious darkness and the lights of the other shore. Go home from work in suits employees, but it is not only a modern business city and the medieval heart of London’s “globe” theatre of Shakespeare.
In the evening, when it was dark, nice to take the London bus and ride around the city. It doesn’t matter where he takes you. If you have a map with you, you will not get lost, but you can see the city as it is: the lights of shops, streets with many cars, attractions, past which you will pass every now and then: Trafalgar square, London Bank, tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral.
London tour: Treasures of Britain
When I learned that there are many free museums in London, and these are huge museums with a world name, I wanted to visit them all. But because of long walking may be downright wrong to do, had to be weighed against the possibility with reality.
I decided to start with the British Museum and the famous Bloomsbury art district, where many famous writers, musicians and artists lived. I saw beautiful old houses. And what struck me was the many chimneys on the roofs. These white thick pipes, which do not even decorate the house, have become for me a symbol of something English and homely, although, of course, such pipes are found not only in England.
Find the British Museum was not difficult. This is a huge building built in the style of classicism: a portico, columns — something like a Museum of Fine arts. Pushkin in Moscow, only the British several times more. The people on the background of such buildings seem small and defenseless. If you go inside, you also find yourself vulnerable to an incredible number of beautiful works of art. There are smart and prepared travelers who before entering the British Museum, read something about its exhibits. But I’m not that kind of tourist. To be honest, this “home preparation” seems to me too boring, the effect of surprise and a moment of enthusiasm disappears.
First I went to the Library of the British Museum. Any person who likes to read would be unwell — so many books! The vaults of the library’s spacious round hall went up, up, and there were shelves of books everywhere. With computers and just at the tables people were sitting and reading, looking for some information, and recorded. Grabbing the first booklet I came across, I ran out of this book universe. Now only I felt the size of the Museum and remembered that it is not the only thing worth seeing in London.
The booklet was very useful, turning it this way and that, I found “Thor kids” — a description of the 8 main London attractions for children, that’s good luck! We immediately went to look for them. Quickly found the Rosetta stone. This impressive mineral is written in small characters, surrounded Chinese, English. All clicked cameras, crowded, and therefore to see the cherished word “Cleopatra”, which deciphered the Egyptian hieroglyphs, it was not so easy.
The next item was the mummies of people, crocodiles, fish, cats… also from Egypt. Masks from Africa and turtle from green stone, the next on list, we missed, and, given many-many halls, found Greek and Roman absent. The incredible number of Greek amphorae with paintings on the subjects of myths is fascinating! Majestic Roman statues, too, abound, but everywhere run fussy Japanese and take pictures of them on digital cameras. So, if you are in London, take a look at the British Museum: the entrance is free for everyone, and all ancient civilizations are “available”.
Tour in London: the Museum fever
I was also struck by the Victoria and albert Museum (V&A), which is located next to the Historical Museum and the Museum of Science (The Science Museum). V & A and science Museums are also free. However, I did not manage to get to the Museum of Science, but they say that it is very interesting: you can touch everything with your hands and check on yourself all sorts of scientific achievements — really and virtually.
Unlike the British Museum, the V & A Museum is more for those who are interested in art, not antiquity. Royal Museum “collected” all the best from different eras — from the middle ages to the present day. Here and sets, and jewelry, and an incredible number of fabric samples (you can, for example, feel the fabric of the XIII century!), and paintings, and sculptures, and columns from the temples (somehow they moved and installed…), and furniture, and Royal dresses. In the design Department I came across a very interesting exhibits: it was a puzzle on intelligence. For example, lie on chains two wooden box, and you need to determine which one is made by the master, and which in the factory. And then there’s a long list of tips with the correct answer at the end. It’s funny, of course, and it’s a pity that we do not have such “Museum entertainment”, albeit quite elementary.
At huge museums work the same huge shops with Souvenirs and not only. I think if you want to take away something as a souvenir, you should look into the Museum stores. There you can find everything your heart desires — I do not know, however, whether the purse wishes…
In General, the list of free London attractions is not small: there are 224. You can visit the national Archive (well, it’s for fans of England), the Museum of Childhood (dolls, toys), the Maritime Museum, the London Bank (the building, by which now and then you pass, being in the City, is a Museum, and robberies are not welcome there). It is worth noting that paid museums (Salvador Dali, for example), on the contrary, evaluate themselves twice as expensive than similar museums are not free in Europe.
Tour to London: On English roads
Traffic on the roads of London “wrong”. Of course, everyone knows about it, but when you notice that in the subway trains leave the tunnels on the wrong side — it becomes funny. The movement “on the contrary” is supplemented by inscriptions on pedestrian crossings: on asphalt it is printed “look to the left” or “look to the right”. Involuntarily you think, and whether it was simpler to start up cars as it is necessary?
“Highlight” of London — red double-Decker buses, which I, for example, since childhood dreamed of riding. You can’t stand on the second floor. This I learned when the bus was Packed with a huge number of people, and many stood on the second floor in the aisle. The driver, whose cab has a camera, began to knock at the ceiling and pounded until, until all who stood, not down.
There are also special tour buses in the city, where you can buy tickets at the ticket offices and ticket machines. These are the same red buses, only with an open second floor. Usually it looks like this: the bus rides, and on its roof — a cheerful crowd of tourists who, at the risk of falling on the road, all photographed. The tour bus goes along the route, which includes all the main attractions of the city. At any time, you can go out, see the Museum or go to the store, and then take the next bus (the ticket is valid all day).
The fact that the streets of London taxi ride in the style of 40-50-ies I did not know, and I was also amazed. Of course, the machines themselves are modern, but such is the styling, designed to probably attract tourists.
London tour: To the West!
Ever since the school mercilessly bullied us, forcing to teach topics about London and England, I had a dream: to see what is the East End and West End. That is, East and West London. Since my hotel was located in the City, the “heart” of London, I have already looked, but look like a mysterious East and West I just had to find out. Although discouraged me, cried to my mind that, well, there are no attractions on the outskirts of the city — I was adamant. After all, if we were forced to learn these names, then at least something interesting should be there!
As is customary in many cities, the West of London is rich and the East is poor and dysfunctional. First I saw the Western part, where many museums were located. I got to the area with good, old, big houses. And again I saw on the roofs of the rows of tubes. And these luxury homes Nestle closely to one another: still Europe, still saving the earth.
West London is a prestigious area with the best theatres, the most expensive shops and magnificent parks. Therefore, if you want to please the soul and the eye with the view of comfort and luxury, instead of Jogging in the noisy center spend time walking around the West End. You can look at the London parks, they are very beautiful, especially in warm weather. Bright patterns of flowers, a lot of greenery, fountains, monuments of marble and gold, the artistic disorder of the “English Park” — when the plants are planted like anything, but in fact with strict calculation.
In the center
But here I leave the West End, the red bus again brings me to the center and goes on a familiar route: Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, Covent Garden. Central London: shops, an endless crowd of people, cars, traffic jams, cheap restaurants and jewelry stores. I walk around the center… Chinatown: restaurants, shops with toys and Souvenirs. The very strong smell of the kitchen makes me leave this exotic area as soon as possible. The gay quarter: not immediately know, anywhere, all the bars and cafes Packed to overflowing, laughing, talking, strolling through the streets of same-sex couples, on homes see long rainbow flags.
Westminster Abbey, Parliament — and then a modest, unpopular demonstration against the war in Iraq. Gothic lace houses of Parliament and big Ben — a tiny clock tower, which from the opposite Bank of the Thames seems so majestic. And how beautiful the clock on big Ben glows at night — yellow-green. Second-hand shops selling portraits of Stalin and Soviet postcards at inflated prices, health food stores, boutiques, striking variety of clothes, accessories and shoes — is the center of London. Simply, the business city, where modern buildings have been built next to the medieval castles — they are also Central London. I am sure that everyone will see the center of the capital of England in their own way. Because such a large city with a long history can not be unambiguous.
Tour to London: And East…
We take the subway to East London, and I think: is there any semblance of a poor quarter in this rich city? Four-storey houses, dilapidated by time and poverty, signs of strange shops, dirt on the sidewalks, piercing wind — somehow immediately realize that was not in the most innocuous area. But my curiosity still does not subside: “And let’s go deep into the quarter, see how it is!”
And now, past the cheap hairdressers and cafes in which the locals while away the evening, past the company of young Africans, we go to a deserted place where stands a gray panel fourteen-story building. In the distance, open tunnel, riding the subway, cold and scary. Return back. Two-storey houses with already familiar protruding pipes, garbage at the door, and a strong smell of garbage — that’s what, it would seem, do not expect to meet in London. We go to the grocery store, and I immediately remember Ukraine. Cabbage, watermelons, cucumbers — all this is lying on the floor, there are even rows of muesli on the shelves and the familiar smell of a vegetable store. A little more walk: and again the house of dark brick in the Victorian style, lit the Windows, everything is clean, tidy, like everything is good, everything should be.
When we get on the one-story red bus that goes to the city, to our hotel, we notice that the driver is not even interested in whether you have a ticket or not. We pass a few stops, the controller comes in, just one and begins to check the tickets. We hear a serious quarrel behind us, which is clear and without translation: “Yes, I will not pay what you want and do it, I will not pay!..»