Grand Tour VII


Originally written on October 3, 2005

Good evening from London!!!

Tower Bridge and City Hall at night, London

Here is my seventh email with which I’m concluding my six week journey.

The weather in Budapest on my day of leave for London turn out to be a bit chilly, so I decided not to go to baths. Most of the thermal baths have indoor and outdoor pools, but I didn’t want to risk catching cold with wet hair because it was only 15C outside. There is always the next time…

Over the weeks, I’ve gathered so many souvenirs and other things (e.g. a bit of booze from almost every country I’ve been to …lol…) that I exceeded in my luggage limit. Luck must have followed me throughout this journey, though. As I waited on Budapest international airport to check-in, a guy behind me started complaining how EasyJet, the airline we were flying with, tends to be late – even this time. We chatted a bit, and it turned out that he travelled only with a small backpack. I decided to use this opportunity and asked him if it would be possible for us to check in together because I have around 25kg of luggage, and would have to pay almost as much as I did for the airfare. He helped me out, and we spent the rest of our forints drinking beer. 🙂 We’ll see what will happen tomorrow, though. :{

London – I have to say that I’m starting to like the city. It takes time to get used to it, but I still wouldn’t consider it to be one of my favourite cities. What’s great about it is not the cuisine, police with huge machine guns at Gatwick airport (am I in the USA or the UK?!?!), unpredictable weather, awfully hot and claustrophobic tube, T-shirts with one hundred pound price tag from Harvey Nichols (I didn’t even bother going to Harrods this time -what’s the point?!?!), but the vast amount of events and things one can do. There is no chance one could ever get bored in London as almost everything could be found here – from bizarre to the most sophisticated. As I was getting on the tube one hour ago, I saw a blond chick driving a mini pink Ford with a huge label on it “Barbie is a slut”!?!?! I wondered whether did that imply to her as well. lol…

The Houses of Parliament at dusk as seen from the London Eye (photo was taken on the previous trip in 2004)

The good news is that I finally know how to cross streets in England. Yeah!!! It is not as bad as it was last year. Last time it felt like I came to another planet.

Due to the various opportunities one can find here, it’s great to see small children coming to the museums on the school trips and learning about the national history and world art right on the spot. Education is important; however, the best education is obtained not from books but from the experiences one encounters. Today I went to the National Portrait Gallery, and a dozen of children were drawing cute pictures of Henry VIII, who looked more like a stick man with broad shoulders from their perspective. 🙂

In addition, I planned to visit more places outside London, but the city kept me busy. Thus, I managed only to go to Oxford. There’s always been only three universities for me – Sorbonne, Oxford and Cambridge. If I ever had an opportunity and money to study at any of them, I would have gone though the hell of undergraduate progamme all over again. Even if it were two times harder!

Christ Church, Oxford

Oxford turned out to be a fantastic college city. It’s nearly impossible to imagine people studying in those 400 year old buildings. Just to get the picture closer to you, the dining hall at Corpus Christi College was used as a model for Harry Potter movies. Apparently, the first two were partially filmed in Oxford. Also, I didn’t know that Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice in Wonderland, was a professor at Oxford. There are many references to the book that could be found throughout the campus.

Radcliffe Camera, Oxford

I’ve also gone clubbing three nights in a row during my stay in London. I know, I know … I might have overdone it, but it was great. The first two clubs were in warehouses, and on Friday night as I was going back to the hostel around 4am, I got lost. I missed my bus stop, and it took too long to get back. Last night I check out Café de Paris in Soho which was fantastic aside from the snobbish, narcissi crowd. Anyhow, the club was all done in a nice burlesque style.

That would be all for now. Everything I always wanted to see and visit in Europe, I have seen and visited. There are certain cities and countries such as Spain and France, that I would always like to go back to. However, it’s time to move onto another continents. I think I need a samba lesson somewhere on Copacabana beach. lol… 😉

Thanks everyone for reading these long email and I look forward seeing many of you in person soon. I’m off now to Buckingham Palace to check if “Lizzy” is in the house. I’m still waiting for my cucumber sandwiches. 😛

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