Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Independence trip!

Happy independence day! For Indonesia and for me, of course! :D

To celebrate, i would like to share about my last year trip to......

UK! What? Why UK? Where's my nationalism?

So, this long-awaited trip started on August 17th by taking a flight from Eindhoven-London Stansted. I was a bit nervous at the immigration counter because the officer took longer time when checking my papers. "Please..Please..Please..." me mumbling and.....OK TO BOARD!

This was one of few solo trips i had in Europe. For this one, i felt more confident and safe to do it because...people in UK speak freaking English! :)) at least, if i'm lost, i'm not really lost because i can completely understand what all the signs mean, i can ask people and get answered nicely because i speak their language!

It took only one hour flight to London Stansted, but i arrived at my hostel around 10 pm because London Stansted is a small airport in the outskirt of London. I needed to take a bus to go to the city. It's ok, i can completely understand all the signs! :))

August 18th, i decided to join a tour with guide. Free, of course. London has many history which i think it will be better to know directly from its people than from books/internet, no?

So we went to several interesting places like Buckingham Palace, St James Palace, Trafalgar Square, saw the famous infantry and cavalry Queen's Guard, Pall Mall, Downing street, and of course, Westminster and Big Ben.

It was very fun and informative because the tour guide had many stories and also very funny with her British accent :)) I remember some stories about people who successfully broke into Buckingham Palace.

First story, about some tourists that arrived in London very late and they were looking for a place to camp. Apparently they were some of kind of outdoorsy or hippies and this happened a long time ago where hotel or hostel was not as many as today. Long story short, they found some garden that they thought it was a safe place to stay. Then they just built their tents and slept. In the next morning, they realized that they were actually inside the Buckingham Palace area and found by the guards. Well, it was an honest mistake, nobody hurts, nothing get stolen, so these tourist was released.

Buckingham Palace

Second story, there was a man, not part of the Royal Family nor the servants, that lived in the Palace for days and nobody noticed him. The Palace is so big, many people work there. No doubt that nobody knows every single human being that lives there. So this man was actually a repair man and probably during his work time, he decided not to go out of the palace. But as what the proverb says, sepandai-pandainya tupai melompat, pasti akan jatuh juga.

Third story was my favorite. There was a man who broke into the palace, twice! The first time, he went to the storage room and got drunk but still able to escape. Second time, he decided to stay a bit longer. He took a stroll inside the palace, turned off the alarm, and went to one of the room. Luckily, it was the Queen's bedroom! A bit drunk, this man woke the Queen up. I guess as a queen, she was taught not to panic in any situation, including when there was a stranger in her bedroom. So she asked the man nicely who he was and what he was doing in her bedroom. She tried to push the alarm near her bed while they were chatting, but as we know, this man had already turned off the alarm before. Smart man. After some time chatting with the queen, the man wanted to smoke and asked the queen for a cigar/lighter. She had it, of course, but didn't have it with her. So, she decided to call her servant, "Hello, could you please bring me a cigar/lighter for a stranger in my bedroom? YES, A STRANGER IN MY BEDROOM!" Smart queen.

St James Palace
After the tour, i decided to go to Oxford. The purpose is visiting one of the oldest university in the world and seeing the dining hall in Christ Church College that inspires Hogwarts' Hall. But my ultimate purpose is...

wearing oxford shoes in Oxford! :)) *super penting*

Unfortunately, the university was not open for visitors. Weird. So, i just walked around the city, bought some souvenirs, and went to the Blackwell bookstore. I took many breaks while walking. So so tired. Compare to London, Oxford was very small and less crowded. Suitable for studying.

August 19th, Eid al Fitr! I went to the embassy to pray and stopped by in Starbucks to have some breakfast. I was so surprised that not so many cafes open before 9 am.

I know, i should've picked a better view than that big black bin.

From the embassy, I went to Royal Albert Hall. I knew this place from Adele concert that i watched in youtube :)) I took another tour with guide here. I had it for free because i used the London Pass :p

There's a sad story behind the monument on the left photo. That monument was just across the street from the hall. The golden/yellow statue was Prince Albert. The Royal Albert Hall was built in Queen Victoria era and Prince Albert was her husband. When Prince Albert died, Queen Victoria was really devastated. Every time she went to this hall, they had to cover the statue so the queen would not see her dearly husband statue that could remind her of his death. *sniff

The hall was nice, but for a short trip like this, i should've gone to other places like Tower of London which more historical (probably).

Next is Baker Street 221B. Yes, Sherlock Museum! So excited to see the museum, Sherlock was really a hit for its movies and series. But, the souvenirs was sooo expensive. Ergh.

From Baker street, i went to the famous Abbey Road. Obviously not only me who want to take the 'crossing the road' picture. The thing is, the road is a public road, cars and buses keep coming every time people tried to take a picture. I'm sure the Londoner sick of these tourists who keep crossing the road :))

And i didn't take a good shot here. darn.

Then i went down to Tower of London. It was already closed. Walked to see the London Bridge. Get on the boat for some cruise along the Thames river. Get off at Westminster Pier. Enjoying the London eye-Big Ben-Westminster-Thames view.

There are other places that i visited, out of curiosity, like Warwick Avenue, Piccadily Circus, and King's Cross Station platform 9 3/4! Overall, most of my targets were achieved! Yeaay! But there are still many places i wanted to see. Hope this is just a teaser ;)

Now, it's time to go home....

1 komentar:

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