george III and the kew gardens

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Some places turn out to be such a pleasant surprise! I had put down Kew Palace and the Kew Royal Botanical Gardens for today. I’d been starting to feel a bit jaded—you know the “been there, done that” feeling and I, therefore, wanted to do something inconsequential for a change. Botanical gardens and palaces seemed to fit the bill perfectly. 🙂 Not too demanding was what I told myself. Continue reading

london’s ‘square mile’

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I bumped into these gentlemen within five minutes of my walk in the City. They were liverymen from the Guilds going about their duties. I just loved their outfits 🙂

The actual City of London is in fact just over a square mile. The rest is Greater London. Known as ‘the City’ or the ‘square mile’, it is built over the Roman ruins of Londinium and represents the country’s financial services industry. It’s a crazy mish-mash of Victorian buildings, steel and glass towering skyscrapers, poetic churches [including St. Paul’s Cathedral] by Christopher Wren and medieval traditions and customs. It has a parliament older than Westminster and its ancient freedoms are guaranteed to date under the Magna Carta. 350,000 people come to work here every day. Only 6,000 people actually live in the City.

Grey stone, grey glass, white skies, men and women in black suits, and a group of liverymen in full attire. I must admit I had a blast with my camera. And to complete my day, I climbed 311 steps up a claustrophobic spiralling staircase inside the 350-year-old Monument built by Charles II to commemorate the Great Fire of London in 1666, and got a certificate in the end. 🙂 Continue reading

the london underground—part 2

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A couple of months ago I had done a photo essay on the Jubilee Line, London Underground. This time I chose the stations that have left a mark on me, even as I run through the platforms to catch the tube. Some are a riot of colour. In another, dear Mr. Sherlock Holmes lives on in every single wall tile! The tube is absolutely amazing, each station unique. Continue reading

london’s dlr and docklands

I once took the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) to get back to the city. It took me through the Docklands area, and I was smitten for good!

The DLR and Docklands are archetypical expressions of new age, steel and glass, corporate, moneyed urban planning. The Docklands used to be part of the Port of London before, but containerisation, air cargo and the bombing during the World War II blitz led to massive job losses and the area eventually became derelict and unused. The ensuing redevelopment (1981-98) has transformed the docks into THE key economic hub in London, complete with its own airport. Warehouses, once for storage and packing, are now up-market restaurants and apartments. Gleaming edifices by the docks house over 2,500 offices. And the DLR, as its artery, slices through the buildings, running on lines towering above the streets.

It was grey and cloudy, today. Perfect for good pictures. 🙂 Traipsing with my umbrella, backpack and camera, I managed to take the below images. I quite like them. I hope you do too.

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the london underground—part 1

I wanted to do something different this afternoon. To see London a little more closely, a tad more me-ishly.

This is part 1 of a series of photo essays on the London Underground. I went mid-afternoon—the crowds are always lesser at that time—to explore the platforms and escalators on one of the architecturally acclaimed parts of the tube, the Jubilee Line. It was awesome! I knew the CCTVs were recording my every move as I clicked away. Even Security was keeping an eye. But they were really sweet about it. Guess my enthusiasm was contagious. 🙂

I love the tube. It is so lived in. Comfortable, and efficient. But the section of the Jubilee Line that I have here is the most spectacular part. Avant garde, monumental, sleek; scores of feet underground. Enjoy.

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