Once upon a time in Europe – Part 4 – London (city)
Continued from Part 3 :
Bro : Don’t oversleep. We would have to go to my office first, get the printouts, catch a tram and then your train, which is at 8.30. Since we have already checked in online, you just have to go directly to the immigration.
Me : and whens the next train ?
Bro : 8.50, which is of no use. Because you would reach Zurich by 9.50 and I don’t think they would let you in for the 10.30 am flight.
Me : Gulp. Ok, will wake up at 6am, that’s enough, na?
Bro : No, wake up at 5 am. You spend a lot of time in the bathroom !
Me : Don’t worry, I wont be late. Will wake up by 6.
Bro : (sigh!) Whatever !!!
After dinner, I checked some of those castle snaps and by 12.30 went to bed quoting Joeys ”LONDON BABY” !!!
Woke up at 6 am, with a high temperature and a horrible cold. My body was aching because of the previous day’s adventures and was feeling lazy to get up from where I was lying. I knew my brother would murder me if I don’t get up and the very scare drove me to complete my routines. Blame it on early morning, I refused to come out of the closet and my brother started yelling that it was getting late. And later, when my bro was busy with his routines, yours truly instead of getting dressed sat with the laptop and started going through all the e-mails. When my bro came out, I was still with the laptop in my indoor dresses. He blasted at me for being lethargic and asked me if I didn’t want to leave.
If you all remember the previous part, my bro forgot to get the printout of the tickets. The only place to get the printouts during those wee hours of the day was my bros office. So were supposed to get into some tram, go to his office, get the printouts and then board another tram that would take us to the railway station. From there, I was supposed to board a train at 8.30 to reach Zurich airport, which is another one hour from the station. The flight to London was at 10.30 from Zurich and if I missed that train at 8.30, I could never fly.
Got dressed and by the time I came out, we were really really REALLY late. In a few minutes, we got out of the house and started running towards the first tram. On the way, my brother sprained his back, but still ran to get the tickets. During that ‘morning jog’ of ours, I realized that I was feeling cold and forgot to get my jacket from home. I asked him if I could run back home and get my jacket. Before even I could complete my statement, he stared directly into my eyes like one of those movie villains and yelled, “Don’t even think about it!”.
It was 8.10 am when we reached the station and I had just 10 mins to rush to the 14th platform. My brother asked me to run for the train and said he would get a timetable for me from the counter along with his tickets. I ran and finally got into the train, kept my bag on a side and looked out of the door to see where my bro was. It was 8.19 and my bro was nowhere in sight. Just when I lost all hope, I looked out to have one last glimpse. There he was, running with his sprained back from the opposite direction. I enquired about his back pain and all he gave was a ‘hmmm’. 8.20, the doors closed and the train started moving. Waved my hands and left Basel with feelings of guilt inside for hurting my bros back.
As soon as I got into the gate for security check, they made the announcement for the flight. Wanted to call my bro after reaching inside, but didn’t have time. After all that hurry burry, I could feel the temperature of my body going high and my body was aching like crazy. Had a tablet and made myself comfortable inside the flight. During take off, they made an announcement inside the flight to take precautions for swine flu,which was a big thing back in May. Tan ta daaaan. I decided to play a small prank; I made up a few fake coughs and sneezes to scare my co-passengers. And I cant believe, they all fell for it; idiotic westerners I say !!! But it was me who had to suffer at the end because of that prank; that entire fake cough drama injured my throat further and aggravated the cold that I already had. Sigh !!
The flight arrived on time and I waited at the airport lobby for my friend and her family to pick me up. They resided in Sheffield back then, which is about 3 hrs from Luton Airport. For some goddamn reason, they were late and I was kinda worried if I landed at the right airport, my sense of geography is that bad you see. I didn’t have coins to use the phone at the airport and so got a tomato cheese sandwich for myself and called them to check where they were. I also called my s- I- l and informed her about my situation. I waited for about half an hour and made a call once again. This time they were at the parking lot and asked me to come over. Together we drove down to Eastham and by together, I mean, my friend, her husband Navin, and their daughter Kaira, her mom and also her nephew Karan. Well, that wasn’t the first time I met them; we are more or less like a family and I knew Navin even before they got married. The very fact I could get to see all of them in a different place itself was very exciting. Infact, that was one of my other dream/wish (like the snow and the castle ones); hanging out with Anitha in some other land other than India 😀 😀 😀 (Btw, I had written about her over here) I was surprised when I reached Eastham – the place was infested with Asians, no Indians. Wherever I turned, I could see only our people and yes, the place was also over crowded, just like how you find it here in India 😉 We had our lunch at a restaurant named ‘Chennai Dosa’ (I left a deeeeep sigh of relief after all the misadventures I had with the european food) and to my surprise there were more than 5 Chennai Dosa restaurants on the same street! Meanwhile, my fever took a toll on me and so got some medicines from a nearby drug store and had it along with the lunch.
After lunch, we left the car in one of the alleys and walked to the nearest subway, hopped on into a metro and reached Central London. Please note that the initial hopping on’s to the metro was very easy !! See, I am smiling in the below snap 😀 😀
As soon as we got up from the subway, there was the Westminster Abbey right in front of us ! and of course the Big Ben too! Guess what, I never knew that the Big Ben and Westminster Abbey were together !! 😀 😀 Even after taking a lot of snaps near the Big Ben, I kept asking Navin where the Big Ben was !!! 😀 😀 😀
From there, we walked towards the London Eye. They say, we could see the whole of London when your cable reaches the highest altitude. But the damn thing was too slow for me to get excited and I really didn’t want to get into it. But sometimes, you are helpless. Karan was standing on his toes asking someone to accompany him and I had to push myself into it; couldn’t say no to that little chap.
The next stop was Buckingham Palace and the Green Park. We were awfully late to get into the palace and had to be content with the outside view.
We then proceeded towards St.Pauls Cathedral and from there we took a stroll on the streets of London.
By then, we were fed up with the metro!! Going up and down the subway and getting on and off from the metro with two kids (one on a pram), an elderly woman, and a literally sick and tired person (that’s me!) would’ve been one helluva task for my friend and her husband. I was getting weaker and taking my health into consideration, we all decided to wind up for the day. Got back to Eastham, had our dinner at yet another Indian restaurant and drove to Ilford to watch the premiere of a Tamil movie – Sarvvam. So what if I wasn’t well? A movie wouldn’t do any harm !! 😀 😀
The movie got over at 1 am and we retired back home. It was a three hours drive to Sheffield and it was raining Dinosaurs ! Kudos to Navin for driving us back home safely inspite of the weather and the bad light and yeah also me snoring in the front seat ! Reached home at around 3 ish in the morning; I had my medicines, didn’t even bother to change my clothes and crashed in the hall itself.
To be continued….
Next in this series : London (Peak District)
Next Post : ‘V-Lokam’- Behind the curtain