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London – wind, museums and multiculturalism

Any long-haul journey starts with a flight, and of course this one is no exception. Just under 2 hours above the clouds and dozens of wind turbines visible in the distance. I have landed in the UK at Stansted airport. Everything is very smooth and in a few moments I am at the bus stop for the journey to London, the main destination.

All tickets are bought online and in good time, so there’s no hassle with transport. I’m on my way to London, and as usual on the way there I always want to look out of the window and observe everything new, because usually on the way back I somehow end up sleeping the whole way.

The first impressions on arriving in London are definitely the multiculturalism, the unusually strong wind (the strongest wind in the UK for 30 years) and the sometimes dirty streets with piled-up rubbish bags. As for multiculturalism in London, London is not a place that gives a true picture of Britain as a whole, but rather a false impression of what the British are like. That was the message I got from the tour guide I used in the following days, and it is a message that could have been got from being in another city.

The first evening in London is spent quite calmly, because it is not only the festivities that are tiring, but also the flights. The first evening is spent eating in Chinatown and trying Sake.

– With a New Year touch

Food is food, as nothing special is ordered, but I almost threw up from the second glass of Sake, as it tastes like an unfiltered house drink with a 14-degree. The test passes and I can try the local beer, which was good, but I wouldn’t say I was very excited.

The next day, which is a distinct museum day, can begin. The plan is to see the major museums in the city, and I should mention that the major museums are free and the only cost is public transport, which is quite easy to use, although on my first attempt I went in the wrong direction, but I soon realised this and make correction on my path. As you move around the city, you see the most important sites and monuments, and it is important to mention that I noticed quite a lot of monuments dedicated to the Great Fire of London, and other fires that hit London quite often.

– In honour and memory of thoes firefighters who gave theri lives in the defence of the nation 1939 – 1945

The first museum I go to is the British Museum, which is a very big museum overall and it should take about three or even four hours to go through it at a leisurely pace, but of course I look more at the things that interest me and fit them into the two hours. I was a little disappointed with the collection of historical evidence about ancient Egypt, which usually interested to me the most, but overall there are a lot of things to look at and learn about to get a better understanding of how people evolved and how things have changed over time. You can see some pictures from the museum below.

– Main entrance to the British Museum
– Medieval chess, which soldiers also had to know how to play in order to develop their thinking skills
– When it comes to evil rulers, the proportionality of the head comes to mind, i.e. where the eyes should be and how big a brain such people have
– The foot protectors looked very large, not very practical
– One of the many mummies
– Even Buddhist goddesses had their own body standards

Further I go to the Natural History Museum, and along the way I see some of the traditional places that are directly associated with London.

– Red telephone boxes and Big Ben

The Big Ben has been under restoration for some time and is not yet on display in its full glory. As for the red telephone boxes, they can be seen all over the city, but in some places they are a little dilapidated.

– A remarkable personality who, among other things, had dealings with Latvians, not in the nicest way
– I wanted to ride the Bird’s Eye, but due to the weather it didn’t work today
– Is it a king and queen if they don’t have statues
– View of The Household Cavalry Museum from Buckingham Palace Park

Sooner or later, you’ll need to see one of the many palaces as you move around London. Historically, there were many castles in the region, originally built of wood, but today such artefacts are rare.

After the sights of central London, the next museum is the Natural History Museum, which I think is great for families with children, as opposed to the British Museum, which could get boring quickly. The evolution of the world is amazing, from the dinosaurs to the evolution of man. In this museum you can immerse yourself in a very ancient period of history, when huge dinosaurs used to roam this land where man moves. Some shots from this museum.

– The central exhibit of the museum entering the museum from the “courtyard”
– Human evolution
– It’s not just the dinosaurs you can see in the museum, though that’s what sticks in the mind. For example, you can see all sorts of gems created by nature
– Definitely the most impressive exhibit in the museum, with a huge space dedicated to
– One of the interpretations of how feathery dinosaurs were
– The closest relative of elephants from the Ice Age, some 13 000 years ago

The Natural History Museum has been seen and you can move on, literally to the next building, which is called the London Science Museum. The Science Museum gives an insight into modern technological progress. At times it is hard to comprehend how man has thought of such a thing and yet realised it.

– Soyuz missiles, which started production way back in 1966 and are still in production today, but as Ilon Musk says, the missiles are good, but it’s time to move with the times and use something more modern
– Puffing Billy is the world’s oldest steam locomotive. 1814
– One of the first Apple I home computers. 1976
– The 6 basic human emotions: anger, fear, disgust, joy, sadness and surprise

The day’s adventures are over and my feet feel tired, but I can have one beer for a sweet night’s sleep. Especially if there’s a bar in the basement of the place where I stay. The next day comes quite quickly, as I have to get up at five and go to bed at 12. By the way, the night before I had already practised getting up at five, because that night the fire alarm went off, which turned out to be a false alarm. So it’s a leisurely start to the day, with a full day on a tour company trip to three sites: Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and the Roman Baths in Bath. I have included links on how to visit them, in case anyone is interested. Through a tour company, it is more convenient for us if we want to see as much as possible in a shorter time. My ticket did not include the Roman Baths, but it did include a tour of the city itself, which was already more English and away from the multiculturalism of London, a point also mentioned by our guide.

– I use this nickname so that I don’t have to pronounce my name by letters

The tour has started, and it is important to mention that we had a very nice and experienced guide, who even mentioned 30 years ago in her narration. As I mentioned, the first attraction was Windsor Castle, where Queen Elizabeth II currently lives.

– View from the bus window. Windsor Castle in the distance
– The place where tourists start their tour of the castle

In the picture above, it is difficult to see the flag, which indicates whether the Queen is currently in the palace or whether she has left. When the Queen is not in the palace, the flagpole is the classic British flag, this time it was the other one, so it means that the Queen is in the palace. As the guide mentioned, today’s discovery was also new to her, as the mast was flying a “storm” flag, i.e. a flag of reduced size. The guide has been to the palace more than 6 000 times, and the story of the fire nearly 30 years ago, when guides could lead tours inside the palace, was not omitted; after the fire, tourists have to move around the palace grounds themselves and are not allowed to take photographs inside the palace. But the views inside are quite spectacular.

– Palace internal security

It is important to mention that the entrance to the palace is similar to an airport, the security check is not as strict, but you will have to take off your belt and empty your pockets.

– The square where the changing of the guard takes place. No one is allowed go out of the palace during the changing of the guard. You can get stuck for 20 minutes

The visit to the castle is over and I can move on to Stonehenge, as the guide told us, there are many “henges” in the UK, or places that are similar to Stonehenge, but this place has been given a special status because of the indigenous people who have lived here for a long time and developed the place.

– A classic view of Stonehenge, the rare object that somehow looks better in pictures
– An example of how the huge stones were moved

Stonehenge is the kind of place you want to see in the real time, but it’s unlikely you’ll want to do it again, at least anytime soon. The last place to visit on the day trip is the town of Bath. Didn’t get to go far, but overall a beautiful town.

– “Waterfall” on the River Avon
– Royal Crescent

Bath is a popular tourist attraction, visited by millions of tourists every year. So, a visit to this town is the end of my day trip and I can return to London for a local bar. Time is short, as many bars close at 12, in contrast to the Latvian nightlife, where 12 is often just the beginning.

The last day in London has begun. The plan for this day is not great. The day starts with a visit to Highgate Cemetery, home to several world famous people. The cemetery is located next to Waterlow Park, or rather is part of it. In the past, the cemetery was only open to tour groups, but it is now open to individual visitors. The cemetery is often used in films. In terms of famous people, Karl Marx (one of the largest monuments), Michael Faraday, George Michael (real name Jorg Kiriakos Panayiotou), etc. are worth mentioning. The name George Michael may mean nothing to many, but almost everyone have heard the song Wham! – Last Christmas.

– Typical houses in London. This one is right next to Waterloo Park

After the cemetery, there’s time for more museums, and the Imperial War Museum, on the other side of the River Thames, is next in the line. The museum mainly features objects from the last World Wars, as well as educational material specific to the period.

– The main entrance of the Imperial War Museum

The most noteworthy objects in the Imperial War Museum are atomic bombs and tanks, such small things that could bring so much destruction and misery to the world.

The visit to London is coming to an end. On the way back to the place of residence, one last visit is made.

– The Millennium Bridge, which had to be closed shortly after its construction to make technical improvements. Pedestrians crossing the bridge were literally swinging it
– The Museum of Modern Art, which I missed, is located at the end of the Millennium Bridge
– And ofcourse – Tower Bridge

Your visit to London is over and I can return home.

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