A visit to Europe's Largest Infrastructure
Favorite thing: For the last three years I’m was applying to visit Crossrail through London Open weekend without success,But last week I have seen Crossrail were having tours for a day on Saturday and issuing free tickets which I have applied and I got lucky on my third location.
My first and second locations being Whitechapel and Liverpool Street which are nearer to me were fully booked but I managed to get a ticket for Canning Town in East London.
Crossrail its the new railway for London & the South East connecting Shenfield/ Abbeywood in the South area to Reading through Central London. Ten of these stations are newly built but the other thirty are already in existence.The new London stations are Paddington, Tottenham Court Road, Bond Street, Oxford Street, Farrington, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel , Canary Wharf, Custom House and Woolwich. It will take around twentyeight minutes with a direct train from Heathrow T123 to Tottenham Court Road which it will be the fastest transport when it does open in 2018.Twentyfour trains will run every hour and it will be the fastest rail connecting North and South of London.
We have met at the entrance of Bow Creek which it’s located by the ticket hall of Canning Station. After we all gather and issued with our badges we were escorted on the site by Crossrail employees. We always had two to three escorts one who was leading and one or two at the back to make sure we were all together for our safety.On every zebra crossing or just to cross a road we had extra staff to stop the traffic and for us to go through.
We had begun the tour by learning a bit of the history of Crossrail and we had our personal protective equipment issued. There were hard hats, goggles, gloves and a visible orange vest.
We had started the tour by going down the lift into the underground shaft which it’s forty metres deep. We had five minute talk about the tunnel and how exactly the drilling of the tunnel and how the segments go on as soon the drilling gets done. Most of the spoil and the segments that go in to protect the tunnels are transported by barges from Charlton.
After we have walked from Limmo Pesinsula to Victoria Dock we have been transported back by the Loco train which it was four small carriages and each carriage it has their own First Aid Kit and earplugs as the train makes a lot of noise going through the tunnels.
I really enjoyed my tour and if I get the chance I will do it again.The tour it has taken just over one hour.
40 Stations 10 of them new ones
6million spoil has been removed and recycle to create golf courses and a new island will be created in Essex.
Stepney Green Crossrail it will be were the tunnels split two lines one running North and the other South of the river.
Fondest memory: Able to visit Europe's Largest InfrastructureRelated to:
- Arts and Culture
Crocuses@ Wapping Woods
Favorite thing: These beautiful crocus are located in my local woods and it the scene I came across from returning from the Crossrail Tour
Wapping woods it’s located between Wapping and Shadwell and connects Tobacco Dock and Shadwell Basin.Wapping canal runs halfway through the park.
It’s very popular with joggers, dog walkers and families having a day out.
The crocuses are a beautiful colour of purple which they have looked amazing under the shades of the trees.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
London Quality Dry Cleaners
Favorite thing: You'll find the London Quality Dry Cleaners at:
222 Baker Street - Marylebone, London, NW1 5RT.
That street address may ring a bell as it's opposite 221B Baker Street, the street address of the imaginary figure of Sherlock Holmes.
Mo-Fr: 8AM - 6:30PM
Sa: 9AM - 6PM
Fondest memory: To see a sign at the shop reading:
DRY CLEANERS TO SHERLOCK HOLMES
(Imaginary laundry, haha).Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Hiking and Walking
Decorative tube stations
Favorite thing: As you travel around London, while waiting (as you inevitably will) on the platforms of the Underground or Tube system, check out the decorative styles used in some of these. While many are plain and functional, others have a decor linked to their location, and you might enjoy photographing these as a themed album. While not on the same scale in terms of decorative appeal as the famous Moscow Metro stations (nothing like it!), the links to nearby sights will mean your photos bring up some good memories – much better than simply remembering a long dull wait for a train!
Here are some to look out for:
~ Holborn Station has images of exhibits at the nearby British Museum
~ similarly, South Kensington Station has tiles on the Piccadilly line platforms based on architectural details of the Natural History Museum. As my photo explains , the westbound platform depicts animals that are extinct while the eastbound shows those still living
~ at Baker Street the tiles have the silhouette of Sherlock Holmes, who though fictional was said by his creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, to reside at number 221b Baker Street
~ at Bank and Monument stations (which are interconnected) the tiles have reliefs showing the supporters of the City of London coat of arms
~ the platforms at Leicester Square station have a frieze reminiscent of the spool holes along the edges of cine-film, reflecting the proliferation of cinemas in the vicinity
~ Green Park has images of trees
~ at Charing Cross a mural on the Northern line platforms shows scenes from the construction of the original Charing Cross, the memorial of Eleanor of Castile erected by her grieving husband Edward I
~ Tottenham Court Road station is one of the most colourful, with mosaics along all the subways as well as on the platforms. These were designed by artist and sculptor Sir Eduardo Paolozzi in 1980 and depict the life of the area above the station, often in abstract form, including the music shops of Tin Pan Alley (Denmark Street), the artefacts of the British Museum and the fast food chains of Oxford Street
~ the platforms at Marble Arch are filled with colour, with stylised images of arches interspersed with other geometric shapes
~ Finsbury Park has giant hot air balloons (but I don’t know why!)
~ the Victoria line platforms at Warren Street have vivid red tiles depicting a maze – a pun on the station’s name
Keep your eyes open and you may spot others I have forgotten to mention. Of course, many other stations still have their historic tiling and are photogenic for other reasons, but these make a change and are fun to spot.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
Favorite thing: If you come into a situation when you need emergency help; phone the police at: 999.
For non-emergencies call: 101.
Police stations can be found on this map.Related to:
- Adventure Travel
- Work Abroad
GREEN TELEPHONE BOXES
Favorite thing: You would associate London with red telephone boxes, but there are two which are green.
The reason behind that it’s the Samaritans which it’s a charity organisation they have celebrated their 60 years last year helping and listening to people in need.To mark this poignant moment in the charity’s history, two traditional red telephone boxes in the City of London they have gone green to symbolise the Samaritans’ green colour.
The Samaritans provide a lifeline to a lot of people in need. They are available round the clock, every single day of the year.
The green telephone boxes are situated in the courtyard of the Royal Exchange in central London
Tel: 08457 90 90 90
- Hiking and Walking
Filming in the City
Favorite thing: One weekend while cycling around the City I came across these scenes.
There were filming an advert for 118 118 which is a business directory for addresses and telephone numbers in UK.
There were so many of them female and male all look a like. It was fun watching them for a while.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
Myths, falsifications and clarifications.
Favorite thing: This isn't really a favourite thing but I didn't know where else to write it. There are numerous popularly held beliefs and myths about London that are not true at all.
1...London Bridge is not the famous and often photographed one that opens in the middle to let tall ships through. That is TOWER BRIDGE despite being labelled as London Bridge on many travel websites. London Bridge is a rather boring construction a bit further upstream along the River Thames (pronounced "tems"). It's the 5th bridge to be constructed on the same site. The 1st was built by the Romans from wood and burnt down. The second was made from stone and fell down. The 3rd also fell down. The 4th was taken down block by block and shipped to Lake Havasu in Arizona. The current London Bridge is made of concrete and steel. It is not falling down.
2... Sherlock Holmes, Sweeney Todd, James Bond, and Peter Pan are all fictional characters. It's a bit weird that we erect statues or open museums dedicated to non existent people,. Jack the Ripper on the other hand was real but his crimes and identity have never been solved.
3... You cannot normally take a photo of Big Ben. The clock tower at the Houses of Parliament (formerly The Palace of Westminster) was until recently called "St Stephen's Tower" but has now been renamed the "Elizabeth Tower". Big Ben is the 14 ton bell inside the clock tower that strikes every hour. You can hear it but you can't see it without climbing some very scary steps by special appointment only.
4... The aluminium statue in Piccadilly Circus is not Eros. It's "The Angel of Christian Charity" dedicated to Lord Shaftesbury who was a great 17th century philanthropist and social reformer.
As for all the other myths, legends, popular fairy tales and plain untruths about London that you may have heard, there is one way to find out for yourself. Come and visit us to find out the truth.
Favorite thing: In recent years vivid green parakeets have become increasingly common in parts of London, adding an exotic touch to our birdlife. They belong to the species, rose-ringed parakeet (Psittacula krameri), and opinion is divided on how they came to be so settled here, but the most common theory is that they are descended from escaped pets. Other more imaginative ideas include the suggestion that that they were let out into the wild after being used in the filming of "The African Queen" which involved scenes using tropical birds; that they originate from a pair of parakeets that were released as part of Jimi Hendrix's shows; or that they managed to escape from aviary centres during a hurricane which hit the UK in 1987.
Whatever their origin, I have to say that I am among many who love to see them. Their cheerful colour brightens our skies and I never see them fly past without glancing up and smiling – even if their screeching cry is sometimes less welcome! Some commentators though are concerned about the possible impact of this new species on our native birdlife and on agriculture. There is not really enough evidence yet to prove or disprove their concerns, but a ”Project Parakeet” has been established to monitor roosting and sightings.Related to:
Planning your time in London
Favorite thing: Maybe I'm biased, but I really don't think that you need to do a guided tour in London except if you are on a really tight itinerary. There is lots of tourist information available - sometimes too much, which can be confusing - but once you've got your A-Z (streetfinder) and have got the hang of the public transport system, you'll find it far more rewarding and cost effective to do it yourself. If you doubt that you have the confidence to put together an itinerary, then why not find some itineraries offered by tour operators whose focus appeals to you and then duplicate this yourself at a fraction of the cost?
For those who are not used to planning itineraries for large cities for themselves, I would suggest that the key is to be realistic in what you're trying to see. There is no better way to spoil a trip than to micromanage every last minute and get so obsessed to keeping up with your unrealistic itinerary that you don't have time to enjoy what you are seeing. Much of the attraction of historic cities such as London is to appreciate the sense of place/history/antiquity, and this is something that requires both time and peace of mind.
Unless you're planning to stay in London a month or more, you might as well accept that you won't see it properly in one visit, and anyway, even if you did, by the end of that time, you'd probably have long since got past the point of sensory overload.
Another good tip is to try and aim for diversity in your schedule. Although similar types of attractions tend to be grouped in certain geographical areas (for example, museums in South Kensington, Wren churches in the City, shopping along Oxford Street), after a few hours on a particular theme, you'll be all 'museumed/churched/shopped out' and will need a mental break. A change is as good as a rest, so I would advise you to intersperse museum visits with a stroll in the park, shopping with a theatre performance and so forth.
Just be aware that even Central London is a large and diverse area, so it's best to plan your trip so that you can tackle bite-sized chunks - for example, Kensington one day, Westminster/Whitehall the next. This approach is not only good for your health because you get to exercise - particularly important if you're doing longhaul flights - but also allows to you explore on foot (always the best way to get to know a city).
If you'd like some ideas to kickstart your planning, follow this link to some suggested itineraries that you can mix and match according to your available time, budget and interests.
In London after Paris, Berlin and Rome
Fondest memory: Who would have thought in far Soviet times that London would be only the tenth European capital that I visited in nine years after I got an opportunity to travel abroad?
If anybody would ask me such a question then I answered that I wanted to see London as the first European capital, Paris – the second one and Berlin – the third one.
I was a fan of England from my childhood and a fan of "Beatles" from my youth. Until 1992 it was almost impossible to think I would ever find myself in London. But my first trip to Europe was in 1995 and I chose Paris instead of London.
In reality I managed to see London only in May of 2004 after visiting Sophia, Warsaw, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Budapest, Rome, Vienna and Brussels.
Unfortunately never since then... Hope come back and have got acquainted closer.
Explore London on foot part 3
Favorite thing: Our third and fourth walks – 5+8 Km=13 km:
Abington Street-Houses of Parlament-Palace of Westminster-Jewel Tower-Westminster Abbey-Parliament Street-Whitehall-Government Offices-Downing Street-Trafalgar Square
Royal Sussex Hotel-Sussex Gardens-Norfolk Crescent-Seymur- Portman – Mayfair-St James Street-St James Palace-Marlborough Road-The Mall-Admiralty Arch-Trafalgar Square - Nelson’s Column- and back home.
In total 37 km on foot.
You can watch my 3 min 48 sec Video London walk part 2 out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.
Movies to get you in the mood
Favorite thing: There are lots and lots of movies set in London and England, some of my favorites include
Layer Cake the best Guy Ritchie movies that he didn't make, it stars Daniel Craig as a man trying to get out of the drug business, just one more score....
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels speaking of Guy Ritchie movies...Rock N Rolla was good too
Love Actually a movie set at Christmas time in London with a huge cast and intertwined stories
Shakespeare in Love
Elizabeth starring Cate Blanchett
Four Weddings and a Funeral starring Hugh Grant and Andie McDowell
There have been some great BBC miniseries that I've watched recently including
Downton Abbey, currently heading into it's 4th season, Maggie Smith is a delight and the show highlights the servants downstairs equally as much as the family upstairs
Call the Midwife set in the east end of London during the 1950s, the series follows the midwife Jenny Lee as she adapts to the different lifestyle of the people living in poverty
Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch as a 21st century version of Sherlock Holmes
Little Dorrit based on the novel by Charles Dickens
Favorite thing: I could go on for pages and pages about my favorite books set in London and the UK, most of them historical fiction
"Tale of Two Cities"-Charles Dickens-set in London and Paris during the French Revolution, one of my all time favorite books
"Wuthering Heights"-Emily Bronte-another of my all time favorite books and interestingly the only one written by Emily Bronte
Jane Austen-anything and everything!
"Jane Eyre"-Charlotte Bronte
"The Other Boleyn Girl" and "The Queen's Fool"-Phillipa Gregory, historical fiction set during the time of Henry VIII and his children
"Wolf Hall" and "Bringing Up the Bodies" by Hillary Mantel
THE SMART CAR
Favorite thing: This tiny car was introduced to the public quite a few years ago as it was small and could navigate around London economically and find parking spots more easily. The engine is 660 cc's, and recently they have produced an electric version.
We had been invited to a wedding in central London and decided to make a night of it and stay in a...more
The concierge was fabulous, the hotel very grand, and despite the rooms being small they were...more
Hotel Ibis London Euston St Pancras Recommended by being the best location, nice rooms, modern and...more
Latest London Hotel Reviews
- Luna & Simone Hotel London
- Best (5.0 out of 5.0) 4 Reviews
- Rubens At The Palace
- Excellent (4.5 out of 5.0) 7 Reviews
- Alhambra Hotel
- Excellent (4.5 out of 5.0) 6 Reviews
- Citadines London Trafalgar Square
- Excellent (4.5 out of 5.0) 2 Reviews
- Marriott London Grosvenor Square
- Great (4.0 out of 5.0) 3 Reviews
- The Lanesborough
- Good (3.0 out of 5.0) 2 Reviews
- Hilton Islington Hotel London
- Good (3.0 out of 5.0) 6 Reviews
- Ridgemont Private Hotel
- Excellent (4.5 out of 5.0) 4 Reviews
- Save Up To 50% On Hotels
- Orbitz.com Find great deals on Orbitz & pay no hotel change or cancel fees
- Save up to 50% off Hotels Everyday
- Expedia.com Photos, Reviews and the Guaranteed Lowest Prices
Explore the World
- Naran Hotels
- Parry Sound Hotels
- Karsiyaka Hotels
- Departamento de Islas de la Bahía
- Mandalay Hotels