Monday, December 22, 2008

London trip 2008: Part I

My first impression of London was of a confusing place, with a lack of basic facilities drinking water fountains and trash bins, aggressive/horrible drivers who knows not to yield to pedestrians and wet, cold, windy, cloudy weather. But, once I learnt to saw beyond these, a brilliant city emerges - one that is truly an international city with immense diversity, a people with more respect for each other, a city that is super-connected by a network of underground trains and most importantly a city with incredible historical heritage. You have such a continued history that you can keep walking around and say what happened to the place you are standing in, in say 1600 or for that matter 1200. And given the propensity of the Londoners to maintain their traditions, more likely the system is not too different from those of the yesteryears. Even when the great fire of 1600's burnt down the city and a brilliant architect gave a modern city plan with grids and nice layouts, King Charles II preferred to rebuild the city just as it was.

The London Bridge (not the more iconic London Tower Bridge) was burnt down 'n' number of times ("London bridge is falling down, falling down"), and various parts of the city destroyed by wars for the past 2000 years, from the Romans, from the people of Normandy (in Northern France), the Vikings, the French with whom Brits have fought wars for so long including the famous 7 year war and the Napoleonic wars, and of course the brutal world wars with Germany and rest of Europe. Fires have raged and burnt down the city multiple times, plague has ravaged the city and financial crisis like those that followed the World Wars, the 1929 Great Depression and the current depression have stung the heart of the city. But, after all this London is still thriving, still energetic and still hopeful. This incredible resolve of the Londoners is what keeping them alive and is what going to take them through the current depression.

I came to London to see if I could move to this city, in case I get admitted to a school here, and so far I'm extremely pleased. I always fall in love with history, and this is a place with such a quality and will also give me access to Continental Europe with equally long history. I will cover the details in the next part.

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