Spending Time With Friends In The UK

In 2012, I flew to the UK for the second time. Mileage! 😊 The first time I went there was in 2004 with my colleague whom I spent a few days with in London and Cambridge and then I went to Stonehenge. She wasn’t interested in rocks and she probably didn’t know the history and the significance of the place so we split. The weather was perfect when I arrived in Stonehenge and then it started to drizzle when I left. Nature gave me a chance to see the whole arch of rainbow over the Salisbury plain when I was on the bus. It was amazingly beautiful. Of course, I took some photos but they are on films so I can’t share them with you here. Wait till I have the time to dig out all those photos, then I will write about my travels prior to 2005. I can envisage it’s a big project – I started backpacking in the 90’s… don’t try to guess my age. 😛

Fast forward to 2012, so there I went. My plan was to briefly visit other European countries including Austria, Czech Republic and Hungary. I didn’t plan to take EuroStar from the UK to these continental European countries. If I remember correctly, it was more expensive than taking the plane and the journey took longer. As I had a job back then, I could only do a short trip and see as much as possible. If I couldn’t go to places that I wanted to visit, I’d just wait until next time. That’s a good excuse for travelling there again.

I like visiting churches so the first thing I did was to go to the churches that I didn’t have time to go to in my previous trip.
What is the name of this cathedral?

I remember attending the mass on Sunday morning at St. Paul’s Cathedral. When we gave each other the sign of peace, I nodded to a girl standing in front of me while she held out her hand to me. It then dawned on me that I was in Europe so I laughed (at myself). She laughed too. I shook her hand. That was so funny and that was probably the only time when the church was slightly noisier than usual.

Count the landmarks you can see in this photo. 😉
It was in 2012 so you can see the signs of all these.
A famous angle. I was thinking of using this as the feature photo of this blog but it looks too much like a postcard – nice but without any character so I chose the other one.
Have you ever looked at London Eye from this angle?
How about from this angle?
The Admiralty Arch. It says on the arch ‘In the tenth year of King Edward VII, to Queen Victoria, from most grateful citizens, 1910’ – I think I found it on Wiki.
A performance by South London Jazz Orchestra
What was the occasion? Sport Relief 2012, that is.
You rule!
The weather was so good!!
I overexposed this so that the photo would look like an ink painting.
Another similar photo using the same technique.

While I was taking pictures in the park, I was stopped by a family who wanted me to help them take a photo. I asked them how they wanted to take it, their pose, etc. and then one of the ladies said with a smile, ‘you can do whatever you like. With that camera in your hand, we trust you.’ I was carrying my Nikon D700. I laughed. After I took a photo for them, I asked them to check. The whole family went, ‘wow!’ That made my day too, actually.

Queen Victoria Memorial
Wellington Arch?
Queen Victoria Memorial
I got lost so I asked this guy to help me but it turned out he didn’t live in London so he had to check my map.

Nah! 😀 He is actually the guy I met in the highest monastery in the world in Tibet. But he was really checking the map. Look at his embarrassing smile. 😄 He made me laugh every time I talked to him, even before I opened his email. 🤣 Yeah, past tense. He doesn’t talk to me much on WhatsApp now. At one stage, I thought he was dead for he hadn’t replied to my messages for so long. I even checked the obituaries online. I could help him buy a rice cooker for he doesn’t know how to cook rice. 🤣 I know you are reading this. 🤣

What were they talking about? I let them talk while I enjoyed my mussels. The food in the UK seemed to have improved, I thought to myself.

The lady is the one I met in Chengdu and a few years after that we had dinner in Norway. It sounds like both of us led a luxurious life. Nah! We stayed in hostels or cheap motels. 😀 When I saw her in London this time, her hair was still blonde. The guy was the same guy I mentioned above. In 2012, he was a personal trainer so maybe she was asking him if any of his clients had given him expensive watches. 😀 It was an inside joke between me and the girl. 😛

Where was I?
The lion roars at the landmark.
This one looks less like a postcard.
I visited Kensington Palace the next day.
Are you sure you are a real violinist? This doesn’t look like the right way to hold a violin…
It was another (rare) sunny day in England.
Inside the palace
It says ‘The Chocolate Maker’.
It’s me lying on the grass enjoying the warm sun.

I saw a mother strolling with her kid. Her kid wanted to run around but she told him to stay in one spot. Then she suggested him to sit beside ‘the lady there’. ‘The lady’ – she meant me. So, the kid climbed up the lawn, sat next to me and tried to start a conversation with me, ‘hello, lady.’ I think he was only 5 or maybe younger. I responded, ‘hello, gentleman’. He was really trying to act like a gentleman and said something like he’d like to sit next to me, in a very polite manner (that was so cute!). Not only that, whenever he started talking, he’d start the sentence with the word ‘lady’. ‘Lady’ became my name briefly on that day. 😅 After a while, I excused myself and walked around the garden. He followed me for a while. That was so funny. Please don’t ever do that to me again. I don’t want anyone to mistake that I abduct you 😅

The garden around Kensington Palace
I was taking a picture of this squirrel and then it started walking towards me. No, no comida para ti.

That night, I had dinner with my friend whom I hadn’t seen since we graduated from uni. She didn’t want to see the musical The Wizard of the Oz with me so I went there by myself afterwards. I like London because of the musicals and friends most importantly.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t meet up with my other friend from uni because his wife would soon deliver their first baby. He wanted to spend time with her. Totally understood that. I’d wait for his good news in another country in Europe.

Since this visit, some of my friends left England for other countries. One went to Schweiz, another one returned to her home country and so on. There is not much left in London for me anymore…

25 – 26 March 2012

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