London, Where the Bridge is Falling Down


A Youth Backpacker in Europe

Part II Chapter IX

London, Where the Bridge is Falling Down


Whether it is

“London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down…”, or

“My London London Bridge wanna go down, My London London London keeps going down…”, London Bridge is certainly not the port of call for many, though inevitably you will be surprised by the structure whilst in your search to the internationally renowned Tower Bridge, a dominant landmark in London that has been confused by many for decades as the iconic London Bridge.IMG_7741

I don’t know if this mistake is so predominant amongst the world’s population that the Council of London actually signified the genuine London Bridge with its name on the pillars. However, it is definitely worth giving it, or the recently acclaimed wobbly Millennium Bridge, or any other bridges along the Thames River a shot as visiting to these bridges requires no fee, compared to the pocket-burning admission charge of the Tower Bridge that might put you off.


Besides Tower Bridge and the symbolic House of Parliament and Big Ben, there is also the modern London Eye/Millennium Wheel, allied with Madame Tussauds Wax Museum and many other famous tourist hotspots, vow to make the already insolvent backpackers go literally broke.

Yes, everything in the capital of United Kingdom costs money, and lot of it. However, despite the fact that visiting to London is so expensive indiscriminate the season of visit, I found it bizarre to observe that there was always a queue in front of something. IMG_7595IMG_7567

Why? The question actually could be answered rather effortlessly. It is London, how could you not visit this and that when you are in London? Oh yea, after the astronomical flight expense, one definitely needs the many after-flight-assurances that they indeed are visiting the one last place on earth. More importantly, the not negligible fact is that visitors are often armed with bills and plastics when they come to London.

I am not complaining. Instead, I actually think London does has the charm to fork out the money of visitors. The city itself is so amusing or literally funny. It calls itself the hub of Europe and is planning to expand the already the busiest airport on the planet to further strengthening its leading position. It is the economic hub of United Kingdom and an important settlement for two  millennia. London is just having so much to offer, whether historical or modernity.

IMG_7737 The one thing that I really love about London is to walk in the City of London, the world’s largest financial centre, and accompanied by hundreds of cute little cabs that has an appearance resembles to vintage car. Also not to forget is the uniquely London red double-deckers that creep into every corner in the city. It is the infusion of modern living culture and preservation of antique but still functioning features in London that truly makes it so interesting.


IMG_7784But to really narrow it down to my most favourite spot in London, it would have to be London Chinatown. I never found myself to have particular fondness to Chinatowns, not in Den Haag, not in Milan, not in Paris, etc. But it is different in London. Centrally located next to Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus, London Chinatown is true haven to everything Chinese. And my most enjoyable activity has always been an afternoon of shops-hopping in Oxford and Regent Streets before finally settling in one of the many dim- sum restaurants in Chinatown. The dim-sums are simply sinfully scrumptious!

IMG_7805There is so much to do in London, whether it is pubs-crawling at Soho, theatres-frequenting around Central London, or picnicking in one of the many beautiful parks in London. It is indeed very costly to stay in this capital. But if there is one place on earth that I would like to call home, London will never be the second choice.

Vatican City, the… Vatican City

A Youth Backpacker in Europe

Part II Chapter VIII

Vatican City, the…Vatican City

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It was a “holy” journey. It all started with the subway ride when everybody left the same  underground station. I wasn’t aware of the number of religious people surrounded me, but there were immense. I only started to realise that despite the unspoken conversation, we all shared the same destination – the Vatican City.

I didn’t even have to advise my map to get to the direction due to the swamp of tourists/worshippers/strollers that marched towards a single direction. I knew exactly where they were heading. I couldn’t beIMG_7498 wrong.

No one spoke a single word and the atmosphere was somewhat intense in the early morning.

And then I was there, stood in the middle of the St. Peter’s Square, observing this vast area and tried to imagine the crowd during the speech of the Pope. I was, hmm, emotionless. Excuse me but I am not a Christian or a Catholic.

It was bewildered to witness a large horde of people rushed towards the “conference room” this  early in the morning to listen to what the PoIMG_7488pe had got to say that day. Thousands and thousands of people were literally trying to test the capacity limit of the room.

It was confusing and I didn’t know where to go. The many entrances around the square seemed like a cobweb sprawling towards every possible direction and there were so many different queues and I had no idea which queue was for which purpose.

Therefore, I came out with the simplest solution – go for the shortest queue. And voila! I was in the building, walked pass aisle of aisle of “Popes” sleeping in serenity. And then I was in another level, observingIMG_7491 some statues and paintings under the glittering and glamorous golden coated poles and rooftops decorations.

The entire environment was literally an imposition of the wealth and virility what a religion is capable of grasping and portraying.
And I saw the Pope, not quite literally but via the massive screen set up around St. Peter’s Square. What was his speech about? I had no clue at all. First of all, it wasn’t in a language I am familiar with. And more importantly, it wasn’t even a topic I could relate myself to.

There were so many travel guides that promise an entire day of visit in the Vatican City. But I deserted the place before midday. Whilst I was leaving the square at my back, I wondered, if it wasn’t because of the Pope, if it wasn’t because of the religion, will this place has any other major significance?

That was an unanswerable question. And I didn’t really care. All I cared about was where my next destination was in Rome, or simply started to study on my London trip.