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Sunday, 2 March 2008

London A Short Visit-II

If a Man is Tired of London, He is .......

12.12.2006 - 15.12.2006 rain 5 °C

If it is your first time in London, you have arrived at Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted (City) airport, travel to central London is easy. From Heathrow you can either travel by underground or by Airport bus Al & A2 which will bring you to Victoria Station or Paddington station. Both are in the heart of London. Around Victoria there are many budget hostels and hotels and you can also inquire and acquire a place at Hotel Reservation desk inside the station. At Paddington you have a whole row of hotels at Sussex Gardens, the street is lined with hotels on both sides. You can travel by underground and by bus to Marble Arch, Piccadilly, oxford street and Oxford Circus and even can go to Petticoat Lane Market near Liverpool street station. Number 15 bus will take you there from Paddington Station.

On our second day in rainy London, we bought a one day travel ticket (useful for both train & bus) and went to Covent Garden. Covent Garden is one of London's most popular tourist attractions. It has a very fascinating history. Much of its existence (it was created by Queen Henrietta, the troublesome wife of Charles I, who was beheaded by Cromwell. I mean the king and not the queen. She went in exile in France until her son Charles II was restored to the throne of England), first as pasture land in 1600 was subsequently converted as fruit & vegetable market in 1700. However, the gentle folk who resided there, with the expanding of the area as a market, moved out and London's seedy society of gamblers, prostitutes, public bathhouses, gin places and pubs, moved in. But even from these early times, the whole area has been associated with Theaters. Its narrow intertwining streets are full of history. It is worth strolling in some of these places. In mid 1960s the GLC (Greater London Council) took over the whole area and in order to avoid mass development by individual promoters, build about two hundred buildings.

The main garden area is now full of pubs and restaurants, small shops selling ethnic products. It has a wonderful laid- back atmosphere, street musicians playing instruments, people thronging the whole area. The first street to develop with small businesses was Neal Street in 1973, and I used to go there quiet often to absorb the atmosphere of Herbal products, copper ware, leather goods and handicrafts and hand made chocolates. When we went there this time, there were new shops selling clothes and shoes and take away food. Nothing remains the same in today's world. There are 15-20 street markets around central London, notable are Church street Market near Piccadilly, Camden market (which has largely been destroyed by fire recently). This was my favorite market, I would go and spend a whole day looking at art & crafts, antique jewelry, paintings and even out of print second hand books. Then there is the famous Portobello Market and Shepherd's Bush Market which has, since many years now, gained popularity for selling clothing and ethnic food. Worth a visit. Last but not least is Petticoat Lane market. In 1960s and 70s, it was only a weekend market, I used to go with a friend to sell second hand articles, clocks and wrist watches. We had to pay One Pound sterling to get a table and in order to get one in the centre of the market, it was necessary to be there by five O'clock in the morning. Most mornings in winter or summer it rained and it was miserable. But so were the wages and one had to work on weekends to make the ends meet.

Posted by IsleHopper 02.03.2008 18:44 Archived in Air Travel | England

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