The transition from countryside to big city came about slowly on the train to London. And the moment we stepped off at Marylebone station, I had the feeling of Mumbai at the enormous station, teeming crowds, black cabs, and the need to rush about.
We were staying with our friends, Mann & Aditi, who’ve recently moved to London but have been travelling there for years. Our first time in London couldn’t get any better.
We set off on Saturday morning at a leisurely hour, straight away to the Tower of London. There wasn’t enough time to get in and look at everything, but we happily settled for admiring the poppies installation, the official name is Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, remembering the British fatalities of WWI. To be able to see the poppies, you have to be able to look over the sea of people first. It is well worth the effort. The structure is more fortress than tower, started by William the Conqueror in 1078, and subsequently expanded in the 12th & 13th centuries. Of course, it has a long and varied history of sieges, wars, imprisonment and execution. (Click on the links, there is a wealth of information there.)
The Tower Bridge connects the banks of the river Thames at this point. We walked across, just taking in the big city sights and sounds, enjoying the weather, admiring the architecture. I was especially fascinated with the Shard.
And we couldn’t NOT have lunch at a pub, could we?
More walking in the evening to Covent Garden and Piccadilly, meeting a friend over coffee, an entertaining bus ride, and a delicious Persian dinner at the family-run Lavash in the neighbourhood.