Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Day 6 - 1st Day at London

If you have been paying attention so far, you would know that I am talking about my UK trip for the WWW conference. Earlier posts are here, here, here, and here.

So I reached London at 10:45 am, and travelled by tube to my hostel. I had stayed at the Indian YMCA, which is right at Warren Street. Given the size of the London underground, I thought it would be a little tough to figure out how to get there. But their maps are so clear and simple to read that I studied it for 2 minutes and realized that I had to take the Victoria Line which would take me there in 6 minutes, and I was soon at my hostel.

I had been booked into a ladies dormitory, but it turned out to be a 2 bed room, with a bathroom right opposite with 2 baths, so that was quite nice. My roommate was not in, so I took a quick bath, had lunch at the Subway right outside, slept till 7pm, had a early dinner in my hostel, and went off walking. I started walking with my map in my hand, with the intentions of going to Oxford Street, but kept on walking, and reached Trafalgar square instead. Trafalgar Square at twilight is gorgeous ! It basically has the Nelson's column (which is closed for repairs now), facing the National Art Gallery - which is a beautiful sandstone building, with huge pillars, and steps to sit on, and also 2 water fountains. A lot of people hang out there, from groups of guys drinking beer, to couples, to families with small kids playing around....

I sat there just taking in the atmosphere for almost 30 minutes, very happy to be all alone in the beautiful place, free to just "be", no work, no friends, just me. I was so happy that I smiled at random strangers (who surprisingly all smiled back), and on my way back started running and singing on the streets (not that many people around so its ok). On my way, I heard this amazing guitar(an electric one at that) being played by a guy sitting outside a club, who after the song got over said "Man, anyone not drunk here is wasting their time !! Go drink, be happy !" And I felt like I was drunk on the place, on just being here ! Passed Soho on the way, so went around and saw the sights, and then went to Chinatown, with all its Chinese people and Chinese restaurants with Chinese menus (didn't seem like London at all !!). It was great!

Came back to find my roommate Hannah was back. Found out that she is an American doing her PhD in Princeton on history, and she was in London to do some research for her thesis in the British Library. She was a very interesting person, and we spoke for quite sometime, about her life and mine... For each of the 4 days in London, I went back to my room at around 10:30-11 pm, and invariably Hannah and I ended up talking about life, future plans, philosophy, culture etc etc for an hour or 2. She was a lot of fun, and I was pretty lucky to have such a cool roommate !

Went to sleep all happy and excited, wondering what the next 3 days in Lodnon would bring ...


  1. Free to just "be" - okay

    No work - Also okay

    No Friends - That is SO not okay.

    It gets reeeallyyy hard sometimes without ppl u can talk to.

  2. There are sometimes that lack of friends is good. I so know the feeling.

    Your excitement is like so visible, and thats a great thing :)

  3. I feel very lucky to be in IIT cause I live in a hostel, and am with my closest friends almost every minute of the day - which is perfect.... never alone, never lonely ...

    But when I was in London, I realized that sometimes (once in a blue moon), just being with yourself is also fun ...

    And being alone for 4 days makes you extra glad when you come back to civilization :D, and find your family and friends waiting at the airport to pick you up :)

    When I said "it felt good to be alone", I was not referring to your kind of alone in Switzerland for 2 years at all :D