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Showing posts from July, 2011

Harry Potter finale is the grandest ever

Ten years, seven books, eight movies and a mindbogglingly finale close to the Harry Potter franchise. And what better way to close the chapter in 3-D. To ensure we get confirmed seats, we booked the 9.30 am show at Imax, Wadala. I don't remember going to a cinema hall that early in the day, ever. The action starts soon enough; first a recap of the last scene of the first part, Voldemort's access to the Elder Wand, followed by a grim look at Hogwarts patrolled by the Dementors who seem to be standing right next to your seat if seen through those 3-D goggles. It's surreal; you know in less than three hours it's all going to come to an end, no more anticipating the release of J.K.Rowling's books, no more reading the morning papers with pictures of children with the happiest faces as if they've won the treasure hunt after braving 5-mile long serpentine (thankfully not the Nagini types) queues in cold weather of foreign shores, with their latest Harry Potter books- …

Visiting Lake District

Apart from the must-sees and must-dos in England, Lake District is right up there. This is a mountainous region in North West England. We decided to spend two nights here in a small town called Windermere. We caught the early morning Virgin train from London Euston station at about 9.30 (prior reservations were done online) and after a three and half journey that includes one to two change-overs (depending on your train timings), we reached Windermere. Virgin trains are fast but that apart,  British railway is a lot like Indian Railways. Unreserved passengers occupy reserved seats, though they are polite and vacate them when the rightful occupants arrive. Yet the trains have many standees and people squat at the entry / exit points. The good part though was that some compartments have a cafe; you pick up food items from the shelves, tea/coffee/ available, pay for them at the counter and have them at your seat. Whilst going we were fortunate to have such cafe in our compartment. But wh…

London - First impressions

For some weird reason I can't quite comprehend, I believe that your introduction to Europe should happen through England, specifically London. In other words, if you want to tour Europe, then start with London. Then, other cities or countries may follow. Maybe because London and England has so much history and culture and the place is so old.

Heathrow Airport sucks! Terminal 4's (Jet Airways) arrival lounge is unimpressive and belies the fact that England is a developed country. Hopefully, they'll renovate soon. And since my last visit to Singapore my expectations from international airports (what a vast difference) had reached the moon, they were just as quickly brought back to the ground. Few counters at the immigration to cater to one of the world's busiest airports meant that after a 10-hour journey, we had to spend more about 20 (or perhaps a bit more) minutes in the queue, waiting. The baggage claim area looks like a seedy large, never-ending godown. I was just …