Category Archives: St Paul’s

Maltese Margherita

Courthouse, Valletta, Malta

Courthouse, Valletta, Malta (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Mediterranean warmth, it is easy to get carried away with yourself. I wasn’t. I was stuck in Sliema, Malta, with no Euros. Plenty of money if you counted the Pounds Sterling. This happened for a simple reason.

After being deterred from transferring my money into Euros three days later, I had decided to wait too long. Now I was there with no money.

This wasn’t going to be solved easily either. It was a Sunday, when businesses are closed, and I had arrived on the day, of all days, when the Labour Party won over the Nationalist party for the first time in twenty-five years.

That meant that the following day was a bank holiday. Great. This meant that I would have a hard time finding a place to transfer money the next day.

But, for now, all I needed was to eat. Eventually, I found a pizza hut where I ate a Margherita and was able to have another customer put the meal on their tab, later transferring the pounds sterling they received. That was really nice of them!

Old London Town

The clock tower of Big Ben at dusk. The north ...

The clock tower of Big Ben at dusk. The north end of the Houses of Parliament London, with The London Eye in the backgound. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here friends, old and young, crowd the bars of taverns in the wet winter evenings and “going for an Indian” happens every other night. This is the place where you may find coffee stalls close to arches of marble and bells named Big Ben strike every hour. 

It’s where you can view a radio recording and see such exhibits as the tea clipper Cutty Sark, rebuilt wonderfully after an arson attack, in addition to sampling Greenwich in its subtle charm.

Where the wafting smell of fish and chips is as familiar as that of the curries. It is, of course, old London town!.

English: This photo was taken in September 1997.

English: This photo was taken in September 1997. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s one of those cities where, if you have somehow super-humanly exhausted all the museums, art galleries, theatres, parks, architecture, famous sights and countless other venues, you may simply sit by the river and sip on a beverage with the fantastic views of this metropolitan kaleidoscope.

Thats the UK’s capital.The lore of this city precedes it. It is the most visited city on earth.

The memories I have of this gem of gems are varied and long, even in grey London mist.

These memories are but a ten-thousandth of all there is to do within its boundaries.

This is a city quite unlike any other.

It is an odd blend of geography, culture and heritage welded by modernity as much as the midst of time.

Sociology, fashion, culture and practicality play a part like in no other city, a place whose history could only be that of the capital of what was once the largest empire the world had ever seen.

A nation whose history of an island race, the trade routes and colonies of whom spread the circumference of the globe, thats what it is. London is a city that is described as being dull, grey and lifeless.

Anyone who says that hasn’t seen the Notting Hill Carnival or “Cats”. There is more colour and vibrancy in this city than is possible to comprehend.

Notting Hill Carnival 2006 (London, UK)

Notting Hill Carnival 2006 (London, UK) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Architecture? Fine as anything, what with the Natural History museum, the Victoria and Albert museum, the Gherkin and so forth.

Tower Bridge is my favourite of all. Its majestic shape may be seen all along both banks of the city and stand as a beacon of the United Kingdom. When it is lit up for special occasions, it is one of the great buildings of Europe.

Something about its elegance seem quintessentially English. Not just because we associate it with England, but its appearance is very anglo-saxon.

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The British Museum, seen below, is the building that holds some of the oldest artifacts in Britain. It is a magnificent building on the inside, a true feat of art. Also, it holds many items from other great empires such as the Greek and Egyptian ones.

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Ever seen St. Paul’s  Cathedral, designed by Sir Christopher Wren in the 17th century? Well, if not, you are missing out on a real treat. The legend of this building is an epic one. It was built in 1666 after the great fire of London.

English: St Paul's Cathedral, London. Designed...

English: St Paul’s Cathedral, London. Designed by Sir Christopher Wren, built 1677-1708. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During the Blitz of the Second World War, it was barely scratched. St Paul’s underground stop, on the Central Line, is nearby. There’ll be a paved walkway on your left-hand side. Go down it in the opposite direction to the one you came out of the station facing in.

Then, there are the cubby-holes like The King’s Wardrobe. The heady sounds and sights of cloud-cuckooland will overwhelm you and you will find perfectly relaxed citizens reading, chatting and otherwise enjoying life in them.

We stumbled across this place quite by accident one day as we headed for the cathedral.

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One can observe Horse Guard’s Parade at 16:00. Where else do you get to see the sight. We did one year.

Fantastic it was too, seeing them in their parade dress and march up and down is absolutely terrific. This was the site of the beach volleyball during “the greatest show on earth”.

Thats right. What other city could possibly have been the site for the 2012 Olympic Games? I thought you wouldn’t argue with me. It could only be this way. It was the year when every Olympic team had at least one female athlete.

The year with the largest number of competing athletes. Terrific! And we came third in the medals. By Jove, old boy!

It has to be the greenest city in Europe as well. No shortage of parks. If you stroll in Hyde Park, for example, you’ll have the green trees in summer and The Long Water, the lake that almost completely separates it from Kensington Gardens, in the picture.

Now, about those coffee stalls I mentioned. You can usually find a few in these areas. They will charge a reasonable rate and the products are scrumptious!

Kensington Gardens

Kensington Gardens (Photo credit: edwin.11)

Turnpin Lane is in Greenwich and its here that you’ll find a quaint little market where Irish fiddles are played and many culinary goods may be devoured.

Although, if you’re a vegetarian like me, you may find the smell of meat undesirable. There is also a Wetherspoons restaurant nearby at The Gate Clock pub.

I remember a blazing hot day when I was fifteen and my mother and I decided to see the famous HMS Belfast, a second-world-war cruiser that lies on the south bank, the nearest tube station being Southwark.

The ship is the last of its kind and belongs to the Imperial War Museum group. They have preserved this ship perfectly. The stories of her battles are accurately told, the ship’s cafe is clean with palatable food and ship is spotless.

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A city of eight million people that probably has as many surprises. If you’ve ever wanted everything, it’s here. You’ll have a magical experience when you come to grey, wet London.

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