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

of verulamium, romans and saints

Once upon a time, a long time ago, 1959 years ago to be exact, there was a Roman town by the name of Verulamium. It was the third largest town in Roman Britain and had been granted the rank of municipium which meant that it could collect its own taxes and administer itself.

It was complete with all the trappings of Roman civilized life—a theatre, temples, an arch, roman baths, basilica, and a forum for its population of nearly 15,000. Trade flourished and its people lived in fine town houses equipped with underfloor heating systems. This town was my stop for today. Continue reading

it is pronounced ‘greenich’, my dear

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Greenwich has always been inexorably bound to the sea and all things maritime; right from King Henry VIII’s time when he lived in the Royal Palace of Placentia that used to stand here and oversaw his naval fleet from it. Came the 18th Century, and along with it Queen Mary and Christopher Wren. The Queen decided to build a naval almshouse at the site of the Old Palace. Known as the Royal Naval Hospital (1752), it provided lodging and meals to the disabled and retired seamen of the Napoleonic Wars. Wren’s grand edifices later became the Royal Naval College in 1873 and were finally leased to the University of Greenwich, in 1999, and the Trinity College of Music.

The connection with the sea doesn’t end there. Greenwich is home to the National Maritime Museum which pulsates with the trade, exploration and colonization ties that the seas have had with England. And then there’s what everyone comes to look at. The Royal Observatory where John Harrison invented his famous sea clocks, and THE Greenwich Meridian Line, Longitude 0 degrees 0’ 0”, home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Continue reading

bloomsbury, fitzrovia, and my favourite place in london

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My favourite place in London has got to be the BM—read British Museum. I know, I’m a nerd. 😀 But see it from my eyes and the BM is all of life under one roof.

I’ve been here 10 months and soon I’ll be gone. I figure it is time to unravel the traveller within me and start exploring, both London and England. And how better else to start than with the vicinity around the institution that echoes all I hold dear—Bloomsbury and Fitzrovia. The weather is beautiful. The days long and lazy. Tough to resist so many temptations!

One of London’s most attractive charms is undoubtedly its little nooks and corners which somehow seem to get completely sidelined by tourists. My walk today started with the Sicilian Avenue which dates back to 1905. It has to be the quaintest pedestrian walkway I have ever come across, hemmed in as it is with ionic columns topped with urns, brimming over with Roman ambience and street cafes.

And then starts Bloomsbury’s other prime attraction. Its squares. There’s Bloomsbury Square (the oldest square in London, 1661), Russell Square (centrepiece for London University’s various departments), Tavistock Square (with its effigy of Mahatma Gandhi) and Bedford Square with its picture perfect Georgian houses. Continue reading