for fellow travellers

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Oyster card London

We went to meet my husband's colleague who is working at Royal London Hospital, London. When we reached the tube station 'Whitechapel' and came out of the underground it seemed like we had stepped in Aminabad of Lucknow. Inside the tube station the officials were extremely helpful as Shaleen had to swipe his oyster card twice to come out. An official came forward immediately and checked his card in a hand held machine and told him that he had been charged twice for the same journey. At the ticket window he requested the clerk to return the money to Shaleen's card and meanwhile he saw that we had been charged extra for our first trip from the Airport to Embankment that was because we did not know that the card had to be swiped again at the exit and with a lot of luggage we had got out from another gate meant for luggage and handicapped people. The nice clerk at the ticket window returned the money back on all our cards. They also told us that we need not have bought an oyster card for my eleven year old son. We could have bought a one pound ticket everyday for him for the whole day. If you are traveling to London and plan to use the metro a lot, its best to buy an oyster card from the VFS-UK. The card extracts the minimum fare from you for every journey you make and a maximum of five pounds in a day.
Despite the surroundings the Royal London Hospital itself was an amazing piece of architecture. It was beyond what we thought possible inside especially the labs and the lecture theatres.

Below are the labs and there are lecture theatres above, suspended, all in the shape of organelle's of a cell.
From the Royal London Hospital we went to St. Paul's cathedral. The cathedral was grand and I was particularly awed by the crypt which is the cathedral's foremost burial place, and the place where those who have made an outstanding contribution to Britain now rest. Chief among them being Admiral Nelson.

The ceiling of St. Paul's Cathedral
From St. Paul's Cathedral we walked across the millennium bridge to Shakespeare's Globe theatre.

We were lucky to see the rehearsal of "As you like it" which was going on at that time, but we were not allowed to take photographs of the rehearsal. The guide at the theatre was very amusing and told us some remarkable facts. One of them was that the costumes which the actors were wearing had never been washed and that the actors wore a slip next to their skin which was washable and the costumes were never washed. The Globe theatre was strange because the stage had no props no background scenery. The actors costumes and their dialogues were the only things available, for the rest you have to use your imagination. This is one theatre where the audience is fully visible to the actors and if you fall asleep you may be pointed out by one of the actors in the middle of the play. The people standing in the front are very close up to the stage, so much so that they run the risk of being sprayed by saliva.
Then we went to Kensington Palace and gardens. I loved the palace it had an exhibition on debutantes and many of Lady Diana's dresses were on display. The exhibits at the palace gave a closer view of the life during Victorian times.

The ceiling of one of the rooms in Kensington Palace.

This was clicked by Shaleen in the gents toilet at Kensington Palace. I on the other hand had found a very sweet notice stuck on the door of the Ladies toilet which related the details of the first meeting between Queen Victoria and prince Albert as entered by the queen in her diary.
We enjoyed the gardens as much as the palace. They were amazing and everybody seemed to be having a gala time there cycling, skating, etc.

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