Please read also Part I of this article.
Next, the Covent Garden is definitely the place to be in if you want to combine the pleasure of shopping, having a stroll and watching live performances of amateur artists. Associated with The Royal Opera House, the former fruit and vegetable market hosts nowadays beautiful buildings such as Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and the London Transport Museum. On a sunny day, just hang around and visit the cafes, pubs, small shops, and a craft market known as the Apple Market.
Wandering on the most famous streets of the city, Old Bond Street, Piccadilly and Jermyn Street, one can see double-deckers, red telephone booths, out of which I expect Harry Potter to pop up, old mailboxes that mock at the new means of communication, black and red cabs which I feel a little bit reluctant to get in, fearing I might repeat the history of If Only, and policemen on horseback. Aceil turns my feet on the ground: “These streets are the best places to put on your Sunday best and strut around like a star. It’s a great way to see how the other half lives; this is window shopping at its best: Dior, Cartier and DeBeers eat your heart out!”.
After leaving the world of luxurious consumerists, make a stop in time, at the British Museum. Opened in the late 1700, it shelters a huge collection of artefacts and arts masterpieces, from all around the world, starting with pre-history and leading one through Ancient Egypt, Rome, Greece, and Middle East, Asia, Africa or Oceania. There are also several numismatic collections, mosaics, prints, drawings or manuscripts. Highly controversial, the British Museum holds an unimaginable treasure of human history and development from all continents. Just for the sake of putting you in the picture, there are over 6 million pieces coming only from Egypt and Sudan!
Then, we reach the top of the Tate Gallery, about which Aceil warns me: “At Sunset, this is the place to be! The Tate Modern is a great place to fall in love, whether you’re a fan of Man Ray, Matisse or Bacon the concluding part of your tour must be the 7th floor. A bottle of wine and the London skyline is to die for”. And she’s right; just take a breath of the city landscape, dominated by Big Ben, the magnificent Thames, Tower Bridge and London Eye, the youngest London’s attraction and the tallest Ferries in the world.
From the Tate, I cross the Thames over the Millennium Bridge built together with the London Eye and being used as movie-scene for Harry Potter. Nevertheless, one should not mistake it for other famous bridges that appeared in various films: London Bridge (made of stone, so strong will last so long) and Tower Bridge, another UNESCO World Heritage Sites and among the iconic images of London.
Aceil gets me to the metro, in a hurried Big Crunch in order not to lose my Eurostar for Brussels. Just in time, I reach London Saint Pancras International, a Victorian style train station, I board in the train, pass though the English Tunnel (La Manche) and leave behind the beautiful rustic landscapes, with wavy hills and meadows where lazy giant horses graze… We are now stopping. Please mind the gap when stepping onto the real world’s platform!