Friday, June 19, 2009

The Royal Observatory, Greenwich

Another interesting and important place I visited was “The Royal Observatory, Greenwich,London”.The Observatory is home to the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and the Prime Meridian, and is one of the most important historic scientific sites in the world.

The Greenwich Meridian (Prime Meridian or Longitude 0° 0' 0" degrees) marks the starting point of every time zone in the World. GMT is Greenwich Mean Time is the mean (average) time that the earth takes to rotate from noon-to-noon. GMT sets current time or official time around the World.

The Zero longitude – Prime Meridian lines are represented by Stainless steel strips in the observatory courtyard. In the night time, a strong laser beam is projected from the observatory to mark the Meridian lines. The lines divide the East and West part of the globe and defines longitude for every country/region.

See my fingers pointing at the longitude of Bombay - 72° 50' EAST engraved on the Meridian lines.

The Royal Observatory and Museum are fantastic and the surrounding park is lovely. You can have a bit of a science lesson if you like and learn about Greeenwich Mean Time and the history of timekeeping…. Definitely an important and great journey in my history.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Tower Bridge,London

After the Trafalgar square, I moved to Tower Bridge station. Now the weather’s little better; Rain slowed down and the Sun started to shine.

From my school days, whenever I saw any picture of London, it always had either Tower Bridge or the Big Ben. As a kid, I always dreamt of visiting those places in the picture. Seeing them real in-front of my eyes… it’s a wonderful feeling.

This bridge spans the Thames. The walkways between the Towers afford excellent views of the surrounding city and the 20th Century’s unique cruiser - HMS Belfast Floating on the Thames waters.

There are also numerous interactive displays and such about how the bridge works, in addition to displays on the history behind its construction, maintenance, and ceremonial use. .. in the museums on both towers.

It becomes a special moment when the bridge is lifted from center when the tall boats/ships pass under the bridge. The road traffic on bridge is stopped for the time being!!!!!!!!!! I had the fortune to view that wonderful scene and captured the video too.

A real pleasant and life time good experience!!!!!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Trafalgar Square, London

A 145-foot-high monument, bearing a statue of Lord Nelson guarded by Lions on the four sides, marks the spot considered as the center of London.

Infact, I was not at all interested to visit Trafalgar Square, but went just because I was on one of those “Hop on and Hop Off” tours and decided to take a stop there.

What a fantastic square! It was busy and lively with the lovely weather. Kids were playing, there were tourists and the space was jammed. It is great to sit down for a while and people watch.

It's defenitely one of the best people watching site in London :-)

Sea Life Aquarium, London

I'm not usually a big fan of Aquariums, but I loved my visit at the Sea Life Aquarium, situated near the London Eye.The SEA LIFE London Aquarium is home to one of Europe's largest collections of global marine life.

It has a beautiful,calm atmosphere and is organized and presented excellently.The mysterious experience starts in the depths of the Atlantic Ocean. Along the journey, a stunning Glass tunnel walkway offers us an unforgettable experience by walking underneath a real Ocean.

Other stars of the show include green Jelly Fihses,Turtles, Seahorses, Octopus, Zebra Sharks and the ever popular Clown fish.

The true highlight however, commences as guests complete their journey in the deeper darker zone of the Pacific Ocean - take a walk on the wild side and watch 6 species of Shark swim beneath your feet from a floating glass platform. Wow! You should have the courage for the Shark Walk. Yeah!!!I was brave enough :-)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Houses of Parliament & Big Ben, London

I like places with nice architecture and rich history, so Westminster Hall was one of my "must sees" when I visited London.

The business of England Parliament takes place in these Westminster Halls. Westminster Hall is a striking building, standing on the banks of the river Thames.The great Bell of the clock at the north-eastern end of the Palace of Westminster is called as “BigBen”.

Every single corner, even the smallest detail of the Westminster Hall has a history to say! Every single tomb, every single statue, every picture, every item!

The feelings you get when you are actually there... It's like you get a taste of history. It's not easy to describe how beautiful, When you watch the building while sitting on the banks of Thames.

Buckingham Palace, London

Definitely one of the greatest places I have been to. The palace is very beautiful and there is a lot of history behind the Palace. Unfortunately,I couldn't take a tour inside of Buckingham Palace, but I had the luck to watch the changing of the guards.

The ceremony of Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace is a focal point for the many thousands of tourists who visit London. Change of guard is a custom of renewing the guard at the end of its duty, ‘the Old Guard’. It is relieved by a refreshed detachment referred to as the ‘New Guard’. It’s no way lesser than an army parade.

The outside of Buckingham Palace is stunning to look at. Acres of Huge lawn, Beautiful Flower Gardens, small Ponds, Birds, Channels,.... all inside the Palace fence!!!.

It was wonderful watching

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

May Flower Park, Southampton

May flower Park is just adjacent to the Red Funnel ferries and Southampton Docks. It’s is very interesting since it provides good views over the water and is a place to relax.

There is an excellent playground for children and young people with slides built onto hills etc... It has large well maintained lawns that provide good sitting grounds to visitors.

You can view all the ships touching the coast of Southampton in few meters distance. The coast also shows you the pleasant view of Sun rise (It’s hard to see in the summer, around 4AM ;-) and sunset. You should visit the park during evening time when the sun sets….

Ocean Village, Southampton

Though I had covered most of the attractions of Southampton, unknowingly some wonderful places were missed out. This time, I have decided not to miss a single street at Southampton ;-).

Ocean Village Marina is one of the places I barely wanted to visit last time. But I couldn’t. Yeah! It is the first place I went out during this trip.

This waterfront is one of the UK's biggest marinas and situated in the shelter of Southampton waters. Ocean Village is not mere a marina. It’s surrounded by Huge Cinema Halls, Open bars, Big Shops, Restaurants, and it offers outstanding recreational facilities.It's nealry two times larger than the Redfunnel ferries, I visited last time.

Cine World - One of the beautiful theatres, fenced by the Ocean Village back waters. I badly wanted to see the “Terminator Salvation” at Cinema World. But the ticket fare made me to download the DVD rip from internet ;-).

My UK Trip - II: Travel with KingFisher (Contd..)

Shhh!, Fun apart!!! … Let me have some serious analysis on Kingfisher airlines.

I am not a very regular flyer. I do not know if I am truly qualified to make comments and observations on an Airline, which I just flew twice or thrice. But still I would like to give my thoughts about the Airline.

Some of the pleasing things, which I value about KF are,
1. End to End service and they refer to passengers as their “Guests”. They never use the word “Passengers”
2. Leg Space in Economy Class is much better.
3. Eye Candy .. [ Mr. Mallaya really knows what men want ]
4. Unlimited Drinks,Beverages and snacks [ In jet you have limited distribution]
6. Moderate in-flight services

But, I’m not impressed with KF’s Personal entertainment system. Though it has some games,movies and live TVs, It has limited options. [I liked the Jet Airways System which had a touch screen feature and covers movies in all regional languages, music, TV shows, book reviews, book summaries etc., and lets you pick anything you want. ]

Food : Still some way to go.. Jet’s food is better than KF [ may be an exception.. but I will update when I have a better experience ].

Overall, it was really a pleasurable experience and will love to use Kingfisher again.

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Ok!!. I have had shared enough of my expeiences with Kingfisher Airlines. Will continue with the interesting places I tour, during this trip.


Monday, June 8, 2009

My UK Trip - II: Travel with KingFisher (Contd..)

I reached the KF boarding counter , and was greeted by several girls in red outfit. Kingfisher promises a really different flying Indian experience. I was all set to enjoy this ;-).

“Anything to declare, Sir?” young girl whispered to me at the Security/Declaration counter near the flight gate. I had nothing to declare. She checked my boarding pass and wished me to get into the flight.

Got through the door and rushed to the plane - Wow!! – a brand new A330 Plane - with nice seats and monitors in each seat with Satellite TV. Kingfisher’s interiors looked very fresh and colorful whereas Jet interiors were more subtle. Kingfisher seats were more comfortable than Jet.Heard that Kingfisher is the only Five star Status flight from India.

Seat 26H - Window seat- settled in - can't believe it is going to be a full flight. But soon the crowd started pumping in. As usual, I was looking at the girls who’re going to fly with me :-D.

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Are you aware of the PGK’s Law of Airlines?

One of the laws says that the most beautiful girl in the flight will never sit next to you, and if you see two of the fattest blade guys in the flight, you know that your seat is between theirs’. (Well, I’m the proud composer of this PGK Law;-).

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As the seat next to me was blocked for my teammate, the PGK law was not applicable there.

The KF flight attendees (All are girls; not even a single boy there) took their positions in the aisles, but not for safety demonstration, since they already have a super cool video for that. (Yana Gupta Introduces the security features of the plane.. tell me, who will not watch the video ??:-D).

The attendees are all young cute, hot, with mini skirts - Vijay Mallaya,the Chariman & CEO knows how to make Kingfisher a glamorous airline. All passengers are amused and behaving relatively well ;-)

Will continue…

Friday, June 5, 2009

My UK Trip - II: Travel with KingFisher

Last time, I travelled with Jet Airways. But this time, It's Fly Kingfisher . I thought, I should share this experience considering the hype that surrounds this airline and its service.

As I entered into the Airport with my luggage, a man wearing a kingfisher shirt [ Bright Red, you will not miss them.. ] came up to me and asked if I was flying kingfisher and took my bags and walked me all the way to the security check point.

This service is available for all kingfisher passengers and the check-in lines were very well staffed making it an easy experience. Boarding was good.. I think, it was the only airline which board passengers by seat numbers in India so far and it made my life easy since my seat was pretty close in the head area of the plane :-D.

The service off-the flight was wonderful. But the flight i flied from Chennai to Bangalore was below average.

Mallaya should have got the flight as a second hand item from Indian Airlines. It was a oldest flight,that you could imagine. கரகாட்டகாரன் கார்தான் எனக்கு ஞாபகம் வந்துச்சு!.

I strongly believe, my company have put their best effort to findout this Super Flight!!.

Don’t mistake about Kingfisher by my statements!!!. Wait for the next post, in which I will say about the flight from Bangalore to London.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

UK Trip- II: Bangalore Airport

It was the first time I visit the much hyped BAIL (Bangalore International Airport Limited). Though the new Bangalore airport was never in news for good things, I liked it very much from the first sight.

The airport looked so calm and beautiful. It’s very nicely done like most of the international airports like Delhi and Mumbai (don’t ask about Chennai International Airport :D).

There were very less crowd. I did not find people running in different directions like headless chickens. I completed my Emigration check and start roaming in the Shopping and duty free area. It’s definitely very small when comparing with other international Airports.

One look at the ‘Taste of India’ cafe menu, made my sleepy mood away. The Idli Vada,Dosa and the like on their menu are something that I really wanted at the airport. Finally someone understood that people who get into airports are normal human beings eating normal food, and don’t live on re-heated and overpriced Breads,Sandwich and machine coffee.

Don’t miss the ‘Taste of India Café’, if you get a chance to visit BAIL.

I had 3 hours waiting time for my connection flight to London. Even after roaming around the complete airport shopping area, only 30 minutes had gone. Still I need to spare 2 hours to board the next flight. Got bored and pulled out my Laptop.

I was sitting in near the Cafe Coffee Day stalls. Incidentally, my Lappy’s Wirless Assistant said “There are some Wi-fi networks available inside the airport”. After the enquiry, I happended to know that BAIL has provided complete Wi-FI connection in the waiting area at free of cost.

Immediately,I tried to connect to the network. It then asked me to send a SMS to a number 56767 so that I could get a password in a reply message to use the Wi-Fi connection. I did the needful.

I waited… and waited…. and waited, but no password arrived. But the Boarding call for my next flight had arrived.

Will continue on my experience with “Fly KingFisher” :-).


UK Trip- II : Writing from Southampton

Yeah!! It’s almost a week stay at Southampton. Breakfast-Heavy work at Office-Evening Walk- Dinner…. was my daily routine for the whole week. It was very tough for me to touch the blog site between the tight schedules.

Happily, I’ve got some breathing space for now and turning back the memorable moments during the trip. And I have got enough interesting things to write about too.

From where, I shall start the story ? OK, as usual from “The Airport”. As there’s nothing special/exciting about Chennai airport, I ll start with the newly built Bangalore International Airport.


Monday, June 1, 2009

UK Trip- II

Thank God! I have safely reached Southampton (Just now, I saw the tragedic Air France crash on TV). And getting settled here….

This is my second trip to Southampton. The same Country, same Place. But “Different Season”. Last time it was wonderful winter and now it’s a splendid summer. Start from the Day-night timings, Climate,Shops, Behaviour and the mood of people…. everything have changed a lot this time.

While the thrill and excitement of the first trip is missing, it’s undoubtedly a different experience. Though the work at office soaks-up most of my time, I don’t fail to roam around the town. There are quite a lot of interesting moments to share. Will try to capture most of them in the coming posts.

Stay tuned :-)