Thursday, November 27, 2008


next day ,sunday , we made it to edinburgh. we had snow on the way!


With God in Heaven and the Queen on her throne, what more can one desire than to have a student [ex – student] in Scotland? I e-mailed Rajinder who is in Dumfries, Scotland, from my daughter’s house in Brighton, Sussex, wishing to visit him and see the sights nearby. And sure enough he promptly invited me, and knowing that Indian currency doesn’t travel far in UK also provided me with the tickets.

Friday the 21st of November I woke up early and to avail of the 6Âșclock National Express coach from Pool Valley, Brighton. A little after 8, I was in Victoria Coach Station London and I boarded the coach for Carlisle which left at 9Âșclock on the dot.

The view from the window was more than charming. Undulating greens floated majestically and with cows grazing and horses roaming it was reminiscent of Merry England as we remember her. Soon we were in Cumbria and the sheep on either side were munching away oblivious to the traffic on the motorway. We had a couple of halts on the way to stretch our legs and have some snacks too from roadside eateries. It was well after sunset when I got down at Carlisle and hopped into another coach to Dumfries. And sure enough Rajinder was there to receive me with genuine warmth and happiness and took to his quarter at the hospital.

His wife Nibedita and his daughter Gunjan, a sweet 6 year-old greeted me enthusiastically. After a hot tea and snacks, I had a warm bath and joined them for dinner. Nibedita is an excellent cook and had spread a table worthy of a genuine Eepicure: Rajma, rice and fish.

We had an early but sumptuous breakfast next morning and Rajinder and I hit the road by 7 am when it was still dark. We headed for Glasgow on our way to the Scottish Highlands and took the Glasgow bypass. The sun was now shining brilliantly although the clouds were threatening in the distance. Our first port of call was Loch Lomond, a cathedral of a lake indeed. We got down and sucked in the pure Loch air. It was cold, cold, cold all around and Rajinder offered me a cup of hot tea from his flask. It is at Loch Lomond that the Scottish Lowlands end and the Highlands begin.

Now we proceeded for Fort William, the centre of the Highlands being the biggest town of the highlands as Inverness has become a city. The hills rose sharply on either side and a well bred Scottish antler greeted us serenely. It was hilly terrain and grass was sparse, a couple of waterfalls caught our attention and we saw the vast fields where the Highlanders of yore fought among themselves leading to a decimation of the clans.

By noon we reached Fort William and we took a stroll on the main thoroughfare, High Street. A fish and chips shop stood invitingly and Rajinder stood a traditional English/Scottish lunch which we ate strolling down to the river Nevis.

It was time now to proceed to the Famed Viaduct of the highlands: the Glen Finnan Viaduct. It is a beauty and we spent the better part of a half-hour admiring the view. This viaduct has been featured in films of the Harry Potter series like
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Next we moved to the Glen Finnan monument on the side of Loch Shiel, a site where the bonny prince Charles had raised his standard. Scotland is certainly history personified. Atop this monument the Unknown Highlander stands majestically.

Our last visit was the Ben Nevis as seen from Loch Linnhe. Ben Nevis is the tallest peak of England and a popular tourist site.

With so much to see and so much seen we felt exhausted and Rajinder drove us back to Dumfries; a total span of about 400 miles.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


We had been here before on our earlier visit but the weather was gloomy then. I had totally overlooked it. Baker street with the imposing statue of Sherlock Holmes leads straight to
Madam Tussauds. Madam Tussaud's is a well known landmark of London and also occupies a permanent niche in my subconscious having heard it spoken about ever since I can remember. Well the 2 of us made it at about 4pm in the evening when the sun was bidding us goodbye. We had bought the tickets on the net at concessional rates 12.5 pounds instead of 25 pounds each and we were timed to enter not earlier than 5pm so we whiled our time shopping on Baker street and much admiring the Statue of Sherlock Holmes who has a commanding presence on Baker street. At 4.45pm we presented ourselves for entry and the kind ushers after verifying our tickets let us through. Immediately we were in a house of magic worthy of the Arabian Nights with tourists and crazy fans thronging the galleries.
Photo oppotunities lay galore and the trigger happy among us were having a field day. Celebrities of the celluloid universe, sportsmen and politicians from all over ruled the roost. Well known litterateurs and royalty stood upright. We were aghast to see our beloved Indira gandhi presented shabbily.
Winding up and down , I forget which, we entered the fabled Chamber of Horrors. Not for the chicken hearted certainly but an exhibtion to be seen and remembered for a lifetime. Torture chambers, mutilated bodies and ghosts looming in the alcoves gave us the shivers and all made of Wax! Simply unimaginable.
Later there was London Taxi ride where the History of London unfolded slowly. It took us two and half hours to enjoy the spectacle in totality and then we headed back for the Victoria Station to take a train back to Brighton
Feel free to click on the link below to see the pictures


After retracing our steps all the way back to Victoria Station, we boarded a bus from there , number 38, for the British Museum on Great Russell Street. The clock was just shy of 2 and we lost no time and headed for the star attractions: the Egyptian Mummies on the top Floor.


Saturday the 15th of November saw us in London once again and we headed for the Tower on a number 15 bus after changing at St pauls cathedral from a number 11
Please feel free to click on the link below to see the pictures

Friday, November 14, 2008


Yesterday wasn't as bright and sunny as the day before but even then we decided to go to a sleepy hamlet with a rather oddish name ROTTINGDEAN. we boarded a number 2 bus from George street stop and headed for our destination. I convinced my better half to climb upstairs for a better view and she willingly agreed. After many a Twist and Turn, negotiating Churchill square we climbed uphill after St James street and had the majestic Race Course to our right. As we entered Woodendean we saw horses grazing on the meadows. This was now Rudyard Kipling territory, literally speaking, where the grand old Indophile had spent the terminal days of his life.
On reaching Rottingdean our bus halted at the seaside with two pubs adding lustre to the sight and one having the outlandish name of SMUGGLER.
We spent some time strolling on the beach and the briny breeze cooled our nerves.
May Rottingdean survive in her pristine beauty for a thousand years.

Sunday, November 09, 2008


Last evening the two of us had been to Worthing, another sea side resort about 26 Kms from here. The weather was typically English and the only hint of sunshine we had was during lunch, that is from 2 to 2.30 pm. It was nearly 3.30 pm when we hit the road and another 25 minutes later we reached the King Edward Leisure Centre on the coast. A minute past 4pm and true to form the coastal service bus 700 arrived and headed for Worthing. The driver, an enterprising fellow from the subcontinent, in his early thirties asked me in English if we were from India and I replied that we were from Calcutta. A smile crossed his face and he said he was from Rajshahi, Bangladesh. Although it was now drizzling outside, we found it warm and comfortable where we sat. The view throgh the window was simply majestic: an English picture postcard. The sea was to our left and the small villages to our right. Nearing a quarter to 5 we reached Worthing and the bus dropped us off near the Pier. It was almost sunset now and we headed for the Pier after a brief visit to the loo. It was high winds and a downpour that accompanied us all the way to the Pier and upto the Amusement Centre. The Amusement Centre was similar to the one we have here at Brighton Pier where umpteen gaming machines attracted the players. On the aisles the hard core anglers had set up their gears expecting a rich haul of cod and haddocks in this windy sea.
Spending an hour or so we came back to Hove by another 700 bus. By 6pm we were back home. To cap it all we had an excellent dinner comprising an English chicken roast washed down with red wine. BON APETIT!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Dear friends
What remains to be said? Ah! the Buckingham Palace indeed! We boarded another Big Bus which dropped us at the Buckingham Palace road. The English weather was playing true to form and now baring her fangs; a slow drizzle and an icy wind gripped us in a vice. Undaunted we made it to the Palace and we were amply rewarded by the splendid view we enjoyed. Somehow the statues in front of the Palace resemble those we are accustomed to see in front of the Victoria Memorial in Calcutta. It was beyond me to understand or try to understand the significance of the various statues we beheld and a computetr search done later wasn't of much help either.



From Westminister, we boarded the Big Bus and headed across the river Thames. There are many bridges spanning the river, the most famous being the drawbridge known as Tower Bridge. We passed through what was the shady underbelly of London of yesteryears, including the East End, notorious for the Whitechapel murders popularised as Jack the Ripper's ghoulish acts. We stopped at the Tower of London where we disembarked and headed for the river cruise. Cruising on the River Thames was exhilarating and the English guide recounted the stories of the mansions on both banks of the Thames. The London Eye, which happens to be a FERRIS wheel, the tallest in all Europe at 135 metres and takes 30 minutes for a complete revolution is now the supreme attraction of all London.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008



The word Trafalgar has an important and everlasting place in the British psyche. It was England's finest hour and the hero was Lord Horatio Nelson, labelled 'the one-handled adulterer' by James Joyce. it is a massive square area on the northen side of which is the imposing National Gallery, the adnmission is free. Equestrian statues of English heroes are standing in glory and in the middle is a fountain. There is a tall column on the top of which is a statue of Nelson standing. There are other theatre halls nearby. Feeding the pigeons are no longer permitted and there are very few pigeons remaining.