(Migrated weblog post from LSR)
Ok, here we go. Yesterday I mentioned that during the course of the week I was going to write something about the overall experience of having travelled to the UK both for work and on vacation, since I stayed in London as well for a long weekend. So today I am going to share with you what it was like from last week till Monday evening when I got back home.
I think it is going to be a somewhat longer weblog entry that all the others from elsua so far, so you better get yourself a good cup of tea (or coffee), sit down and read on, if you wish to. Also as you have probably noticed on the elsua template I have already shared some of the pictures I have taken in London during the course of the weekend and I will be explaining a little bit of what is behind each of the different pictures.
So here we go. If you remember I mentioned here in elsua that I would be going for work over to the UK where I would spend a couple of days in Portsmouth and then I would be heading up North to London.
After one hour delay (You gotta love them or hate them) I got to the hotel in Portsmouth at about 4am on Thursday, to then get up at 9am to give a presentation a little bit later on around the topic of Wikis and Weblogs. So you can imagine how exhausted I must have been that I didn’t hear a single thing till the alarm clock kicked in. I got ready and went to the office where I was supposed to give the presentation and at the beginning I thought it was going to be a disaster because I wasn’t really sure how I would react to so little sleep. But then again as soon as I got there I somehow got re-energised and gave the presentation without any major incidents and it all went very well, or, at least, so I was told.
So, after giving the presentation it was a good time to meet some colleagues, some of them whom I haven’t heard from in quite a long while and some others whom I have met virtually quite recently. It is always good to catch up with people, you know, and meet some more new colleagues to keep things going and expand on your own virtual network. So that is basically what I did during the course of Thursday.
However, you can imagine that it was not as enlightening and fruitful as I thought it would be given the tragic recent events that took place in London during that same morning. So for most of the day I was hooked to the Internet and the TV watching the news for further developments and thinking if it would be a good thing to head over to London the next day as I had planned in the first place. And after having had an interesting evening watching and reading about people’s reactions I thought that I would make a decision first thing in the morning to see if I would be going on. And I decided to go. Mind you though that I was not weary about going there because of what happened but more because of how the city would feel like considering that all public transport had been stopped for some time. Those were tough moments for all of us, whether you were there in situ, or whether you were watching the news elsewhere and specially for the victims of those tragic events (My deepest condolences and thoughts go to all those out there who suffered from whatever the loss during that time), but one thing that we all have learned throughout all this time is that Life goes on and it cannot be stopped, not even by acts of terror and fear. So right that Friday morning, after the events, I decided to head North to London and spend the long weekend as I had planned.
So after a couple of hours drive I ended up in Victoria Station and having to take a taxi to the hotel because a couple of the tube lines were cut off indefinitely. So I got to the hotel and checked in. Right when I got there I had already arranged to meet up with a good friend of mine who I haven’t seen for the last couple of years and we got chatting away for the rest of the afternoon trying to digest what was happening but also trying to catch up with what was happening with each of us since we last met. I thoroughly enjoyed the chat and after a couple of pints at the local pub he had to leave and I decided it was time to go for dinner.
Way before I arrived in the UK another good friend of mine recommended me that since I was to stay in London I should go and check out the Indian restaurant called La Porte des Indes London for a whole new experience about Indian food. And Gosh, was he right or what ? It was fantastic ! I had a fantastic time over there enjoying some of the most wonderful food you can imagine (And I am not even very keen on Indian food in the first place) and in one of the most stunning atmospheres you can imagine. Certainly, I had the feeling that I was taken somewhere else and not the heart of a big metropolis like London. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and surely I would go again whenever I get a chance, even thought it was an expensive restaurant. But what the heck, it was just one time so I might as well enjoy it, right ? … And I did enjoy it !
After that lovely experience I decided to hit the London clubs and you know what would come next 😉 So no further comment on that. I just cannot remember how late it was before I went to bed, so you can get an idea of what it was like.
Anyway, next day Saturday, and after seeing how things seem to be rather back to normal in such a city like London, where after the tragic events people still had the courage to go out and live their lives the way they want to and not the way they may have been imposed I decided to check the city a little bit as well and do some sightseeing, since most of the public transport was working just fine. Well, I should mention that I didn’t do much sightseeing at all as I have been to London many times and even lived there for about 18 months. But still I decided to go out and check out the different places I use to visit and see how different they were since my last trip. And that is why you can see how I went to Picadilly Circus and took some pictures:
But I also took some pictures from some of the new landmarks from the capital like the Swiss Re Tower (Or the Erotic Gurkin as it is commonly known over there). Quite fascinating overall as no matter how many times I may have been over there there is always something new to learn or to see or to check out thoroughly and this was not exception.
However, seeing how the weather picked up and how we got some decent sun throughout the whole day I decided to go and visit some other friends on the outskirts of London, in Chesham. And after having talked for quite some time and again after having catched up with each other since last time we met (February this year) we decided to go for a drive and check out some of the wonders that the UK has got to offer: the English countryside. And that is how we ended up checking some of the nearby places like the ones in the attached pictures I took:
Or how we ended up in The Swan
enjoying a pint or two and the lovely sunshine throughout the whole afternoon. Then in the evening we ended up going to another Indian restaurant. I know I didn’t plan going two times in a row to an Indian restaurant but then again we were highly recommended to go and check it out. So we did. It is called Sathi Restaurant and let me tell you that the visit was so worth while ! The food was excellent, the service very good and the prices very good value for money. So again another place I am sure I will be visiting next time I come over. For sure.
Anyway from there we head to London downtown to check out what was happening with London’s nightlife and again I guess you get the picture so no further comment on that one either 😉
Sunday was just a special day in itself. One of the things that I miss so much about living in Gran Canaria is that there isn’t a really good Chinese restaurant that specialises in DIM SUM. There are some really good ones, that I may weblog at some point in time, but none of them do serve it. So I was very much looking forward to visiting one of my favourite Chinese restaurants where DIM SUM is just a superb experience. It is called London Jade Garden and if you are ever in London and want to taste some of the nicest dishes around in a lively atmosphere and feeling like you are not longer in the big city but somewhere in China, then it is the place for you. I have been there already many many times and I have to find yet the first time where they fail to provide what they are best at: the nicest DIM SUM you can imagine ! Highly recommended !
For the rest I decided to take it easy and enjoy walking about different places and just enjoy being in one of the most thriving cities of the world that was, at the time, recovering from the aftermath of the tragic events. I am not sure about you folks but I have never seen any group of people so much into fighting for their rights to live, into their rights to not be afraid, into their rights to decide how they would want to live their lives without terror, nor fear. Throughout the whole Sunday I got the privilege of experiencing how a large metropolis and its population came to terms with some dreadful events and decided to move on with their lives sending strong messages to the whole world. As I get to write this I am finding it difficult to try to detail how I felt in the streets watching people walking by and accepting their fate, to live their lives the way they wanted.
Overall it was an exciting experience and something that I know would be very difficult to forget. I was not sure how it would all turn out to be but I can only say that I am glad in the end I was able to make it and head to London to have some of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. Before I use to like London a lot, now after being there in such tough times that liking has turned into admiration and love to see a city stand up and put a fight. So again, my gratitude and my thoughts go to all those out there who somehow decided to carry on with their lives and my deepest condolences to all those affected by the such dreadful events. London did not disappoint me one single bit and I can only say that I just cannot wait for the next chance I get to come over. I will surely go, after all, it is always good to catch up with people and things, right ?