Sunday, 14 January 2018

Destination Europe X: London

"To London and Paris, 
I may not be able to take you,
But to all Bhutans sacred heritages,
I would take you on a pilgrimage." 

A Bhutanese song resonates in my mind whenever I travel around. Not that I am taking my beloved one to wonderous places but because of some fate and fortune, I could make the travels. Studying in Europe is full of opportunities and choices; the opportunities to intricately blend with the rich culture, explore the most historic civilizations, tour the cities and contemplate on the wonderful architecture and clean environments, learn new languages, meet new friends and of course immerse in the pool of knowledge. The choice is all ours as visiting places even as a backpacker is not so cheap. Staying idle in the school and totally immersing in our academics would not only enhance my knowledge but also help save some penny but then won't I regret once I get back to my home for not having seen Europe? I decided to explore on. Having visited Paris the year before, in December 2017, I could visit London. 
The Thames River and Tower Bridge

22. London: Because London cant be traveled on Schengen visa, its difficult to obtain the UK visa without a valid reason. I am glad to have come across a wonderful course on conservation at Cambridge and more glad, I got an assistance from Friends of Bhutan in Germany to pay the course Fee, which gives me the ticket to visit the UK. Yet unfortunate, the Visa application center in Berlin was closed and had to travel to Dusseldorf, a city which is 8 hours by train from my place, making it costlier. The UK visit visa costs 170 Euro processing fee and 30 more to ship the passport after processing. Travel and a night logistics in Dusseldorf cost 100 so its already 300 Euro expense before I got my visa in hand. However, the airfare to London was cheap as I could book the tickets much earlier in Ryan airlines, which flew me in less than 40 Euros. 

So 7th December 2017, my winter trip for 2017 started with the much-awaited travel to London. London, the capital city of UK is the most populous city and ranks 5th in the costliest city to live in Europe. Berlin, on the other hand, is ranked 38, no wonder how we are sustaining with a 750 Euro monthly stipend, and making numerous travels in between. Consumer price in Berlin is 18% lower than London. So, my embarking a 10 days journey to London and Cambridge will cost me a fortune as compared to my stay in Greifswald and visiting other cities in Europe. I flew from Shonefeld to Stansted and took a bus from Stansted to London which costs 10 pounds for the 1-hour journey. A three-hour journey in Germany costs only 11 Euros so I saw the aforementioned sharp contrast at first glance. Then followed the costs of city transports, hostels, and of course food. 

I planned two days sightseeing trip in London before I move to Cambridge so I am glad to have visited all the major points of interests in the two days. It was also an awesome feeling to see the snow falling while I was in London, but later realized it badly disrupted the transport services as my bus to Cambridge from London was delayed by 3 hours. However, here are some of the beautiful glimpses fo London through my Lens.

Buckingham Palace

House Guard Parade

The Street and Buildings

Trafalgar Square

Palace of Westminster

Westminster Abbey

London Eye

Madame Tussauds 

Kings College, Cambridge University

River Cam

Travellers Note: If the interiors of the monuments are not visited, a majority of the place of interests can be covered in a single day provided you take an Oyster card for city transport. Oyster card costs 5 pounds and one can recharge it with 10-20 pounds and use the card in all public transport services. If not a single journey will cost nearly 5 Pounds and it is expensive. For a backpacker and solo traveler like me, I save lots of time and don't leave the sites unvisited. My trip to Cambridge is covered through the post on the training that I attended there. The last two images are from Cambridge. 

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