Traveling

One Sweet Day In London

Probably, one of today’s state-of-the art cities of human civilization is London. Where world’s culture, business and economic activities centered. For me, as one of young people born in a rural village in a developing country, having an opportunity to visit this city is a priceless experience.  Here, let me share my story to you my dear friend. In the near future, you must come and see London by your own eyes.

It was at the beginning of Spring 2014, again I visited London. It was the forth time, if I can remember, I visited this city. But, spending days is never enough for this lovely city. And it is just like ‘a dream come true’, finally I came along with my small family. Unfortunately,  I am not a poet, capable to beautifully tell the story in wonderful words. So, Let the following pictures captured unprofessionally by me during the travel, tell you the story, instead.

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Yeah, the story start here. It is Ilyas , my lovely  3-year-old son, with his pink balloon found by him in front of the train station. We were waiting for the train, east midland train, heading to London from Nottingham, where we are currently living. He is always excited to travel by train.

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After approximately 3 hours of travelling, finally we arrived at King Cross / London St. Pancreas  International train station. Everyone looked very busy in this station. It is a very big train station combining traditional and modern architectural building. In this station, you must find 9 3/4 platform, where one of blockbuster film, Harry Potter, scenes taken. But, you should wait for extremely long queue to get exclusive picture with the legend trolley. And I will never sacrifice my time, just for taking that picture.

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To travel around London, the effective way is by Tube, under ground fast mass rapid transport train. Though, it was quite expensive for me. You must buy an Oyster card and top up it with enough money to get into tube station.

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It is a church by London bridge, that I can not remember the name. What a sunny day it was,  wasn’t it? Beautiful sky, green leaves, enchanting bird really boosted our travelling time at that time.

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It is my dearest wife. It was her first time landed her foot in this city. She looked very happy and still could not believe that her dream had come true. But, unluckily the sky started crying just few minutes after the shiny sky. It was so London. Little rain could come every time, all the year. So, be ready with your umbrella, whenever you visit this city.

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Finally, it is me by the Tower Bridge. It is one of must visited spots in London. There was a long historical story behind this bridge, that I can’t tell to you because I have no idea about it. But, I believe you can find it, in Wikipedia. It crosses the River Thames. It must be very beautiful view at night.

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It is The Big Ben and the red double Decker bus, two mascots of London. It is also a landmark of London as Eiffel tower in Paris. It is at the north end of Westminster palace. Actually, it is a clock tower. So, take picture here, to memorized what time it was.

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Another mascot of London is this red telephone box. Though, I do believe that no body still uses this telephone, but they are still maintained around the city of London. As what I believe so far, British people really appreciate each little  step advancement process. I think, they do believe that each single great advancement does not come over night, but through long not trivial processes. Thus, I bet it is the reason behind the existence of this historical red telephone boxes, where in many other cities have been destroyed and forgotten. This telephone box has become an identity of London, so almost all new visitors will take photo by the red box.

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You can also enjoy the beauty of the city of London from the sky by riding London eye. It will be an unforgotten moment in your life. Or enjoying London from The River Thames by riding a boat can be alternative choice as well. It will be a priceless romantic pleasure in your life, especially when it come up with your life partner by your side.

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It is Trafalgar Square, one of main tourist attractions at the heart of London. Old Romanian buildings dominated this place. The past of London still remains in this modern city. In the square, there are always seasonal events, such as Eidl Fitri bazar or Halal Food Bazaar during Ramadlan or Eidl Fitri season. If you are a Muslim, looking for mosque while visiting London, the nearest one to the center of London is Muslim World League. Here, there is praying space for both brothers and sisters. It is located at 46 Goodge Street W1T 4LU.

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In London, I  was imagining that I can view the past, the present, and the future of the city. Old historical buildings remain while modern and futuristic buildings are also built. I can see multi-cultural people from around the world here too.

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It is a spot in the center of London. It is typical view in European cities, indeed.

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Another tourist attraction in London is Buckingham palace, where the Queen is living. The palace is surrounded by beautifully and naturally designed park. I think visiting this palace is a must, when you are in London. Unluckily, it was  during very late twilight when I was arriving this palace.

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It is Ilyas with hundreds of doves, in Grosvenore Square in London, when we were visiting the Indonesian Embassy in London. London is environmentally friendly city, where people, plants, and animals could live in harmony. None threats the others.

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It is British Museum. I bet it is one of the most self-contained museum in the world. You can find the history of the world in details here. From this history of Egypt and the modern era of European countries are well documented here. For sure, it is also free of charge entry. One full day is not enough to visit thoroughly this museum.

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No need to worry to be boring being inside this museum. The interior is beautifully designed and the collections are equipped with high end multimedia technology that will make us feel cozy spending hours inside the building.

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They are Tulip flowers. It was not in Holland, but in London, instead.  Though Tulips are the identity of Holland, but you can find a bunch of them in the UK.

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If I don’t tell you in advance, can you guest where is this place might be? A beach in a coast city? No, you are totally wrong. It is at the heart of London. There is a huge green park at the heart of London named Hyde Park. It is just like the living lung of the city of London. You can feel as you are in the middle of jungle, or on the waterfront. Though, actually it is only a park and a lake in the middle of a Metropolitan city.

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My son was extremely happy being in this place. He can run, shout, and play around the park. I bet, it is a perfect place for Londoner for releasing their stressful burden from their work. And to feel the sense of living in harmony  with nature.

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By the way, you can still find people riding a horse in London quite easily. This past human being transporting mode is still alive in this world modern city. In a single sentence I can describe London as a city where people can live in harmony other people and nature and a city where people can see the past, the present, and the future of human civilization in the world. Eventually, only time limit make us have to say good bye to London. Thank you for reading my story. I do hope you can create you own story about you and London in the very near future !

 

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Good Bye Edinburgh, we were back to the Habitat, Nottingham

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Finally,  we were returning to Nottingham back. Three days of fantastic trip to the Scotland must reach its final end. Yeah, if only we could stay longer, we would. However, as matter of fact, nothing is eternal in this temporary world. There is not everlasting happiness or sadness in this tempting world.  In here were the end of our fantastic adventure to Scotland. and Eventually,  at the end of the day in the future, I do believe it will be too nice memory to remember s. Thanks a bunch for the friendship. Dear friends, please promise me that you will never forget the time we spent together and hold tight this bond.

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We were leaving from Edinburgh at 09.30 PM and be scheduled to arrive at Nottingham at 10.50 PM. We were sleeping in the bus a long the journey between Edinburgh and Birmingham. We were so tired, indeed.  We arrived at Birmingham coach station at around 07.00 am as scheduled. While waiting for the next trip to Nottingham, we took a bath in the bus station and looked for breakfast at Birmingham City Center. I and Arif tried to find Dixy Fried Chicken, but unfortunately it was still closed. Luckily, we found Chicken Kebab Tiki at halal food stall in the city. It was quite cheap, £3.25 per each, and we got one free because we bought four pieces.

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The bus leaving for Nottingham at 08.30. Along the journey, we had the breakfast and long chats until the bus arrived at Nottingham coach station. Alhamdulillah, finally we arrived at our habitat, the city of Nottingham. We caught the Skylink bus from the bus station to our home. and that was the end of the adventure the Scotland. It would be one of unforgettable moments in Life.

In the evening (Tuesday, 28th May 2013), I went to the University Park campus for being exams Invigilator in Coat Building. The exam started at 04.30 and ended at 06.00 pm. After the exam, I went to the lab at Jubilee campus to warm out my brain with my PhD stuff after three consecutive days of break. I went home at 09.00 pm for the tight sleep.

Thank you very much for the day ya Allah. I love you as always.

The Scotland Adventure: learning, travelling, and brotherhood (Part 1)

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It was Friday (24/05/2013). It was the day I rarely waiting for. It was so special day, because I will start my first travelling adventure to Scotland. In the early morning, I went to the lab as usual for doing my PhD stuff. But, to be honest, my mind was in the Scotland already. Again, it made me not too serious and less productive in doing my PhD stuff. I left the Lab at 12.45 am for Jumah Prayer at Portland Building, In the University Park.

After Jumah Prayer, I went home to get my lunch meal and for packing my stuff for the travelling. I just brought a medium size bag, a jacket and two sweaters. Before going to Nottingham coach station, I must be Invigilator for an examination in the Sport Center. The exam started at 04.30 and finished at 06.00. Promptly, after the exam ended, I run to the bus stop to catch the bus to Nottingham coach station. Fortunately, I got on the bus, in 1 minute afterward.

Leaving from Nottingham Coach Station

In Nottingham coach station, I met my travelling mates i.e. Mas Walid, Mas Udin, and Arif (from right to the left in the following picture). We are from different knowledge background and we learn in different school in the university, but we have many similarities. We share the same mother language, i.e. Javanese, We are in slightly different age, and each of us is a father of  round two year old child. Another important thing was we grew in fanatic Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) family.

To begin with, we would travel from Nottingham to Birmingham, and followed by another Bus trip  Birmingham to Edinburgh (read: edinbra) by National Express Coach (Bus). National Express was the only public  coach (Bus) transport connecting cities  in the England and other area in the UK. Compare to other transportation modes such as Train or Plane, coach was the lowest cost. Train and Plane could cost twice than the coach fare. We got 4 adult return tickets (include leaving and returning ticket) for  £304 that I bought online a week in advance. It could be much more expensive if we bought close to the day. Yeah, in the UK, all transportation mode devised dynamic pricing system (or revenue management system). There was no fixed price, it highly depended on the demand. If you bought the ticket quite long before the travelling date, you could get fairly cheap ticket. Conversely, if you bought the ticket very close to the travelling date or the date was the peak time because of weekend, or holidays, it could extremely expensive.

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The national express coach was quite convenience. The interior was like in the economy class plane. It was quite different with the system in Indonesia, in the UK, you are required to wear your seat belt by law. It was simply for safety reason. The bus was leaving quite on time with the schedule. To be punctual was typical transportation scheduling system in the UK. Not only the plane and the train system, the bus system in the UK was also tightly scheduled. Apparently,  The Bus was not directly heading to Birmingham but it temporarily stopped at Leicester (read Lester),  and Coventry first.

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From Nottingham to Birmingham, it took 2 hours and a quarter time. During the time, I made Ashar prayer while seating on  the Bus because I run out the time to do it before. It was Spring  in the UK, in which the Maghrib prayer was at around 09.15 PM, so I had quite enough time to make Ashar prayer on the bus. In the rest of the time to the Birmingham, we had never ending chats among us while enjoying ASDA smart price snack i.e. potatoes, corn, and union rings crisps from Arif :D. It was extremely cheap, 10 packages of snack just for £0.5 and the taste was not different with £1 per package snack.

Finally, we arrived at Birmingham coach station at around 09.15 PM. The landmark of city of Birmingham is the bullring building. At glance, it looks like Durian Building in Singapore. Birmingham is also the Host of All England Events in the UK. In my view, Birmingham is more vibrant city compare to Nottingham.

In the Coach station, we took urinate and Wudlu in the toilet. Similar to the toilet service in the bus station in Indonesia, it is not free toilet services. Here, you must pay £0.3 for toilet  service. There was a blocker system to the toilet that will block you until you insert in 30 pence coins. While waiting for the next trip from Birmingham heading to Edinburgh at 10.30 PM, we made Maghrib and Isyak prayer altogether. In the country where Muslim is minority, it was extremely difficult difficult to find  a prayer room in public places. Fortunately, the coach station was very clean, cozy, and there were many waiting seats available there.

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The problem was that we were forgetful to bring a prayer mate. Finally, we decided to make the prayer while seating. We made jamaah prayer for Maghrib and Isyak altogether. Since, we made jamaah prayer, the prayer should be recited loudly in the bus station. We really did not care about people around us. It was very likely that they thought that we did something weird.

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After making the prayer, we managed to buy our dinner meal. However, it was not trivial  thing to find food in the Bus Station in the UK. We just imagined that we could find food stall for Rawon and Soto like in Indonesia Bus Station.  The only available one was Starbuck Coffee and unfortunately it had been closed as well. We had the last hope for the vending machine selling for snack and hot drink in the bus station. However, again it did not work at that time. So pity we were.

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Time was ticking so swiftly. At exactly 10.30 PM, we continued the journey from Birmingham heading to Edinburgh. It would be very long journey i.e. 9 hours. We had prepared a sleeping bag for sleeping on the Bus.  Since we did not get our dinner yet, we were extremely starving. Luckily, Arif brought a dinner box. He cooked rice and delicious cuisine consisted in Tempe and eggs. Although, it was prepared for one person only, Arif kindly and generously shared his food with us. He had only two dinner boxes, one box for Mas Walid and Mas Udin and another box for Arif and Me. We ate our food without spoon. Somehow, there is always genuine happiness in each single caring, sharing, and simplicity.

At the rest of the time, we were sleeping on the Bus. It was tiring yet a pleasant and joyful trip. A long the Journey, the bus temporarily stopped at Manchester, Preston, Lancaster, New Castle, Glassgow, and finally ended the Journey at Edinburgh. Thanks God, We had a very pleasant and safe trip.

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