During a short break in Moscow between business trips, I had the honor of having none other than the British Ambassador to Russia, Laurie Bristow, and colleagues over for tea and a chat. Shame we don’t have a croquet pitch up here on the fifth floor veranda :).
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Onward we march on our Thames-side hike. The other day you got the first leg of this day’s walk (taking in a cable car ride + Greenwich and arriving at the Cutty Sark); here’s the second leg.
After the Cutty Sark we came upon the entrance to the under-Thames foot tunnel again through which A.B. and I walked the other week. Not this time…
…This time we didn’t turn right and down through the tunnel, we carried straight on – along the embankment of the river. Why not we thought: the path was nice and smooth, there was loads to look at, the sun was out… even the clouds that day were worth photographing. Yep, no tunnel today…
What ho, folks!
I’ve been all week in London on business: two conference speeches; interviews, business lunches – all as per the norm. Also as per the norm – a little sightseeing fitted in for good measure. Just the other day I was real lucky that all the work for the day was to be completed before lunch, leaving the rest of the day for recreation. So that morning I donned the trusty ‘smart’ jeans, put my sneakers in my bag for changing into from my office shoes, and out we headed after the obligatory Full English :).
The morning’s work I mentioned consisted of a presentation given at Cloud Expo Europe. This was held in the enormous ExCel London, here, which I soon discovered was not far from the Thames, my fave river :). So it was Thames-wards we – my travel companion A. Sh. and I – headed after the conference…
From the exhibition hall it’s just five minutes’ walk to the Emirates Air Line cable car link that crosses the Thames – the one A.B. and I saw but didn’t have time for just the other week. So glad we had time this week as a short ride on it is just awesome. Highly recommended – if the sun’s out, like it was for us.
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Got spare time in #London? Go to Emirates Air Line cable car that connects Greenwich Peninsula to the Royal Victoria Dock. An unforggetable 10 min trip especially on a sunny day // Офигенные 10 минут на канатной дороге Emirates Air Line в #Лондон, особенно в хорошую погоду. Очень рекомендую
“Curiously enough, the only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias as it fell was ‘Oh no, not again?!’. Many people have speculated that, if we knew exactly why the bowl of petunias had thought that, we would know a lot more about the nature of the Universe than we do now.”
I was reminded of that paragraph earlier today. I was on an airplane yet again and looking out of the left-side window down at the passing paysages below. ‘Oh no, not again?!’ I thought as I glanced at the map on the screen in front of me showing the plane’s trajectory: passing over Amsterdam on my way from Moscow over to London. Just the other day I flew the exact same route, only the other way round!
“Hmmm, a bit like the petunia, only the other way round,” I thought. I’m not sure if that’s self-criticism or an overestimation; physicists and botanists have different views on this topic, so I won’t comment. I’ll just say that coming in to land at Heathrow was just as it should be: with London fully in view through the window!
Over there is where my travel companion A.B. and I walked a half-marathon along the banks of the Thames last week…
I normally do these here blogposts according to the following M.O.: if there aren’t many photos to go on, then lots of text needs to make up for that; if there are plenty of photos, I let them do the talking and ease off on the word count…
Today folks, there’ll be few words. That’s the thing about the UK’s capital: there’s always so much to see and snap. I was there at the weekend with my travel companion A.B. – also a Londonophile – and we ran a veritable photographic half-marathon along stretches of the banks of the Thames I hadn’t checked out before, taking in all the nooks and crannies along the way.
The night before our photo-marathon we stayed in my fave hotel in the capital: Ham Yard. Not the nearest lodgings to the Thames, but just as well: our warm-up in getting to the river took in St. Paul’s Cathedral – and of course we just had to get up to its famous dome…
Taking photos and videos is forbidden inside the cathedral, but the views from the top and also all around it are simply stunning – desktop-wallpaper-able.
I’d been wanting to get to Scotland for ages, and just recently I finally made it. But it was only for two days in St Andrews, and although those were a super two days, they hardly equaled ‘doing’ Scotland. Far too short a stay. A proper trip to Scotland requires several days touring the country, driving around lochs, walking in the mountains. Oh yes, Scotland has plenty of mountains. When the plane took off I could clearly see the snow-clad peaks far away to the north. Alas, they’ll have to wait for next time.
Scottish scenery – it’s just crying out to be your desktop wallpaper. Have a look!:
What are the differences between a chilly Australian winter and a hot Scottish whisky summer?
There are plenty, but the main ones are: First, here in bonnie Scotland – at least on the eastern side where we were last week – there are no palm trees to be seen out the window. Second, the sun moves in the opposite direction, and does so very slowly: it gets dark around 10pm and gets light around 4-5am. Sure, it’s at a latitude of 56 degrees north after all!
Anyway, here we were in sunny St Andrews in Scotland, United Kingdom!
Last week’s busy overseas business itinerary, this time in London, ended with the usual installment of micro-tourism.
We rented a car and drove down to the White Cliffs of Dover, the sheer façade that drops into the English Channel. I’d long dreamed of getting down to the southern coast of England, the place where d’Artagnan came ashore (seeking out the queen’s diamonds wasn’t it? Will have to re-read the book), as did William the Conqueror, and I’m sure a whole hoard of other invaders and the like did…
What ho, folks! Here I am in the center of London, in Soho, the area of London that seems to have just about everything – from the salubrious to the seedy, and from the chic to the cheeky. I’m staying in the outstandingly original Ham Yard hotel. I wasn’t expecting unexpectedness here – but then I didn’t look it up beforehand – we just needed a place in Soho as I’d a few engagements nearby, so it was booked on the fly. This hotel is however full of surprises, the most astonishing of which was up on the roof…we found there a huge vegetable garden covering the whole rooftop! In the center of a megalopolis!
The more I keep coming back to London, the more I like it…
I was first here in the Smoke in 1992. But back then and for the following several years I was never too impressed with the city, never feeling quite at ease here. Severe and imposing imperial architecture, the interminably awful traffic, far too many folks on the sidewalks, the dirty Thames… ugh – not nice.
But then I started to see the city change – bit by bit, year by year. They largely solved the problem of city center traffic congestion – helped by the introduction of a bike-sharing scheme (‘Boris Bikes‘). They tidied up the embankments, cleaned up the Thames, and added a Gherkin, Cheesegrater, Walkie-talkie and Shard among other progressive architectural delights. Then there was the London Eye, then the Olympics… Two decades ago the place was completely different: somber, bleak and wearisome. Now it’s just the opposite: cheerful, accomodating and lively!
Of course, the addition of our finally up and running new office makes the place even more of a hit. Around 150 KLers will be based here furthering the struggle to maintain a secure and peaceful cyberspace. Have to say I envy them a bit – they’ve got everything: great city, great office, great work :).