Friday, 1 August 2014

Vibrant London!

Big Ben
Soon it was time to say goodbye to our family in France and go to the other side of the English Channel. Our trip started at Gare du Nord and in less than 3 hours, we were in the intriguing city of London.

I was excited to be there as it was my first visit to the UK. We booked a room in Kensal Green through Airbnb. It was a typical 2 storey English house with a nice room not too far from the tube (that’s what the Brits call the metro).

After dropping off our luggage and a quick shower, we were ready to conquer this exciting city. Alex lived in London for 2 years before moving to Australia, so I was lucky to have my personal tour guide during the next four days. The first stop was a small coffee shop in Spitalfield where we met some of her old Spanish friends, Miguel and Bea, who live in the UK. It was a short but great catch up.

After a delicious coffee, it was nearly dinner time. I was delighted to meet up with a former high school friend, Aydin, whom I haven’t seen for more than 5 years. He kindly invited us to a nice restaurant in Covent Garden. After dinner, we continued our joyful conversation over a couple of pints in a pub next to the Thames River. I feel very fortunate to have good friends all around the world.

Notting Hill
The next morning started with a fantastic breakfast served by our landlord which included home-made muesli, fruits, yoghurt, orange juice and of course some English tea. After this feast, we had enough energy to visit some of the tourist attractions in London, such as the Tower Bridge, Big Ben, London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, St Paul’s Cathedral and Hyde Park.

We also caught up with another good friend from Sydney, Siki Daha, who moved to London to promote his insprational music. He combines smooth soulful vocals with organic lounge beats to create the perfect soundtrack for chilling out and intimacy. Feel free to check out his Facebook fan page to get a taste of his art. Together with him, we enjoyed some of the yummy delicatessen offered in Borough Market followed by a great coffee.

Soho by night with Siki and Serge
At night, we checked out the vibrant atmosphere of Piccadilly Circus with Siki and Serge, another friend of Alex, and went to a bar in Soho followed by a groovy dance club. The night life in London is fascinating. After a long night full of dancing and fun, we managed to catch one of the last tubes to get some rest in our typical English house.

Picnic with friends at Hyde Park
We had a slow start to the next morning due to our big night out. Alex organised a picnic to catch up with her friends and former colleagues at Hyde Park. What a great idea! We spent a wonderful afternoon eating delicious tapas and chatting away with lovely people. As for me, it was wonderful to see some old friends and make new ones. 

The next morning, I was invited by Aydin to visit the Windsor Castle while Alex was spending some quality time with her close friends, Swati and Nene. After an hour drive, we arrived at the royal residence in the English county of Berkshire. Apparently, it is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world where the Queen spends her weekends. It was a spectacular visit and if you are in London, it is worth the extra drive to Windsor to check out this fantastic place. A big thank you to Aydin who took the time to show me around in the countryside.

Visiting Windsor Castle with Aydin
Our limited time of 4 days in London came to an end very quickly. London was vibrant, dynamic and fun. It is definitely a city for the young and career oriented people who enjoy a fast paced life-style. I didn't see many children or older people during our stay. There is certainly a lot of stimulation for your senses and you can easily lose track of time in this exhilarating city. It was wonderful to see the beauty of the world which reminded me the saying “Life is not meant to be lived in one place”.

On our last night in London, my wife and I had a serious fight. You might think that it is easy to hold a relation when you are travelling together for a long time. Actually it is pretty challenging. We were almost together 24/7 which got strenuous. We were already experiencing some difficulties in our marriage, and this last fight tipped us over the edge. Marriages are living entities that need continuous nourishment and we seemed to have lost the connection we used to have. After a long discussion, we decided to have a 3 months trial period to find out if we could save our failing relationship. If you like to learn more about building a better relationship with your partner, you can check out the useful information on my blog post "Tips for Happy Relationships". Another interesting article in Psychology Today by Jay Dixit addresses some of most important issues a couple can face.

Tower Bridge

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