MIND THE GAP!

“Please mind the gap between the train and the station. This is Hounslow Central. The next station is Hounslow East. This is the Piccadilly line service to Cockfosters.”

It was 5 degrees, 8 pm and the month of December when I got off at Hounslow – dark and quite. I pushed off the underground carrying my suitcase and a backpack and took off to the street. I knew no body, saw barely any people, barely any shops and with google maps found a hotel and checked myself in for 2 nights. I was a student back then and was on budget travel. It was also the first time I was travelling alone to London. I have been here before, with a few friends, but this time it was different. I was more responsible, more self-aware, and more alert to my surroundings. As I entered Days Hotel, I saw a big noisy gang of old men with friendly smiles and liquor spread across their tables. It seemed like they were celebrating something. I didn’t ask. I walked up to my room – a comfortable king size bed with a coffee maker on the bed side. Placing my luggage on the holders, I walked to the wall length window and peeked outside just to find a huge bunch of young boys and girls (probably undergraduates) walking to the train station. I was sure they were all heading for a party at the M.O.S (had overheard a chap)! I cozied up into the warm bed on that cold night all by myself, started some music and crashed in no time.

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The next morning I knew where to go, I had the entire Underground map registered in my head (also some help with the google maps! Wink wink). I headed straight to my favorite spot throughout London just to enjoy one of the best hot-chocolates in the city – The Zen café- right under the London eye. I took the underground got off at Westminster. I have my stories of this particular venue. I had been to this same place over 5 times in the past 2 years and it still seemed to connect to me in a way no other place in London ever did. Yes, it’s ‘The-place-for-tourists-from-around-the-world’, but for me it was about the chirpy voices of kids I didn’t know, the wide eyes of the old men and women I adored, the patience of men and women queuing up on the ticket counter. For me it was about my favorite hot chocolate made by the French guy I crushed on with hazel eyes. For me it was life. Seizing the beauty of that cold day with my eyes, I started toward this striking hidden beauty called ‘the-little-Venice’ of London. Although this place is most lively during London’s summer months, I decided to give my eyes a treat of its winter’s beauty. I started my walk from Warwick Avenue to the little Venice, and although I wasn’t as delighted as I was looking at the pictures of the place online, it still remains at the back of the mind. The dry leaves of that winter morning, the cold moisture that layered in the air, the colorful boats and the small street side pubs and cafes was what the place was all about.

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Post ambling around the beauty of the little Venice, I walked to Camden town and took an underground to Oxford Street to indulge in some retail therapy. I am a little brand conscious which makes me forget all my problems and fall in love with the entire stretch of what oxford street is. One can find all sorts of brands here – premium, mid-range, local – this place has it all. By 7 I was exhausted, literally. My backpack filled with all-things-shopped, my shoulders started to drop but I just couldn’t end my day without a final ‘english’ feel. I walked 10 minutes past the street to ‘Newman arms’, a traditional family run pub for a quick drink-and-chips session. I met a beautiful man there, 30 something years, and that place was no longer about drinks or the food, it was about the story that man shared with me and the sudden connection you feel with the unknown.

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I wrapped my day with some takeaway food and traveled back to my hotel. I read this quote inside a book my neighbor in the underground was reading and I can connect the most to it – “Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”

That was how I spent one day in the city that enthuses me to feel free. Many people I know say I exaggerate what London really is. I just say ‘You don’t see what I see; you don’t feel what I feel’!

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16 Comments Add yours

  1. mirela16 says:

    So nice post! I love London, I went there for 5 times. So true: Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life 🙂 Nice to read your blog 🙂

    Like

  2. RShores says:

    I have visited London for brief stints. I guess I have to explore more. Thanks for the post. It would be great to see London your way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You should. There is never enough time for London 💙

      Like

  3. Jen says:

    I have never been to London but is sounds wonderful. Your writing makes me feel as if I am there. 🙂 Sometimes it is nice to travel alone, to really take in your surroundings

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You really should visit london. Its a gorgeous city 😊

      Like

  4. anujas19 says:

    I’ve always wanted to go to London and your post gave me another reason to do so! The pictures look gorgeous and I’m sure it was great breathing in all the sights and sounds of the city on your own 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It sure was. I miss that country so so much. You should visit it. We have some good food there too 😜

      Liked by 1 person

      1. anujas19 says:

        Will do! The U.K. is definitely on my list 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  5. manikoheart29 says:

    Awesome post. I really like London even though I haven’t been there yet. But one day soon!

    Like

  6. Dan says:

    Hehe seems like some memories not being fully reported here! Did you go to MOS? What happened with the man?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha.. I didnt go to MOS and just crashed in bed. And the man, well we shared a few talks over 2 beers if i can remember 😅 it amazes me how easy it sometimes is to connect to the unknown. We strated talking about university and moved to talking travel. Although your comment looks like you having the red devil horns 😈 hahaha

      Like

  7. Mario says:

    Heh, I haven’t been been to London yet. When having days off, I try to get usually to… “warmer places” 😉 . But your writing makes this place sound quite interesting – maybe I’ll have to give in to my gf’s nagging about visiting London in Winter… 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha.. She is right. Listen to her. Its a nice place afterall😁

      Like

  8. Nikhil says:

    Nice post. Hope i will get a chance to visit london

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Very interesting, hope to visit London some day, though a friend of mine used to say some scary things about crossing the road in that most capitalistic of cities.

    Like

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