"London is magical at night" enthusiastically spoken by my friend when we strolled the city at 6pm. I do agree! The temperature was perfect, it was around 10-13 deg Celsius (autumn), and the lights lit up the city. The hotel I was staying was in Gatwick, so I had to take the train to reach central London. The trip was approximately one hour from Gatwick to Victoria Station. When I reached there, I prayed that Shyalla and Aylona will be there waiting for me, if not, I'd be lost in this big city. Shyalla, my classmate in med school, is a doctor in the Philippines and I'm very lucky that she was also in London visiting her sister, Aylona. I had two free tour guides and later on, free dinner too, lucky!
We took the tube (AKA train) to Westminster Station to reach Big Ben. This is one of the most prominent landmark in London. You have to see Big Ben if you are in London. It is the great clock tower at the north end of the palace of Westminster in London. Its official name is Elizabeth Tower. This tower was completed on 1858 and it is the second largest chiming clock in the world.
Then we crossed the famous bridge, where the last scene of the latest James Bond movie, Spectre, was shot. Our next destination was the Coca-Cola London Eye, which is another must-see spot. It is just a few steps away from Big Ben. It is the world’s largest cantilevered observation wheel. Because of its huge size, you can see it when you are in the airplane. What a great sight, the lights are marvelous at night.
|A small garden behind the London Eye|
For our dinner, we went to Southbank station and ate at Wagamama, a Japanese restaurant but also serves other Asian menu. Nice place and great food. What was strange to me was that they encourage the customers to pay online or pay using credit/debit card, not cash.
After our hearty meal, we went to Waterloo Station to take the northern line train to London Bridge. There were still so many tourists walking around, almost all nationalities in the world can be found in London. The parks are clean, a good place to rest especially if you have been walking around like what we were doing or you can also read a book like that gentleman in the picture.
|The tourists and the reader|
Before arriving at the Tower Bridge, we passed a great spot near The Shard. It is the tallest skyscraper in London. It stands tall and royal, like a space ship counting down to take off. Click, click, click … then off to the next tourist attraction.
The Tower Bridge (official name of London bridge) is a drawbridge, the central portion opens up to allow passage of a ship. I was lucky enough to witness the event. The bridge crosses the River Thames. When we were at the bridge itself, I gazed upon the city, it really looked magical with all its light. I am saying this because I felt the magic inside. Being in London is a dream coming true. Dreams really do come true. I discovered the technique how to do that 3 years ago, ask me how by leaving a comment (wink)! I am still mastering that technique.
|London Bridge / Tower Bridge|
After the Tower Bridge, it was time for me to go back to Victoria Station because it was already late in the evening. I said my farewell to the wonderful sisters and thanked them for their time. At the station, I was a bit confused which train to take because there were four or five of them and if I take the wrong train, I would end up somewhere far from my destination. I tried to look for signs but there were none. Fortunately, an Asian man came near and I asked him. He said I am in the right train. When we were seated he asked me about my nationality, I said I am Filipino, he is too! What a coincidence. We had a good talk to pass the time, I felt less homesick.
|Thank you for your time, Shyalla and Aylona.|
I finally found my way to the hotel after the train ride. One mission completed. Next mission is the “penguins”, not in Madagascar but in the Falkland Islands, my next journey. See you in my next article.