I have many memories of London, but it all began when I arrived here age 18 (many years ago now) not knowing where I would stay. I actually arrived at Victoria Station, with one big suitcase, and asked the taxi driver to take me somewhere that is affordable, and he drove me to a bed and breakfast on Fitzroy Street.
On my recent trip last July, I had to go seek it out. When I first arrived here at age 18, all alone – I was somehow mesmerized by this area.
On first glance when you look at the picture above, you may think this is not a really spectacular street, but look what is around the corner! Such beauty, such historical elegance and exquisite architecture! Such a magnificent sight of the most wonderful homes – oh, how I wish I could live in one of them right there
Do you see how many famous people have lived here in these homes (look at some of my pictures below and you will see that Prime Ministers have lived here, so have writers, artists and architects.
I’m certainly not famous, but I can say I lived in one of the homes – well, it’s actually a bed and breakfast – for about 3 weeks! This place gave me such fond memories of London, that a few years later, I stayed here again, but this time sadly, I remember it for other reasons. I was staying on the very top floor, about two or three flights of stairs up. I opened the window, and unfortunately, it dropped down onto my finger that had a ring on it, and squashed my finger somewhat – the window also squashed my ring! I had to scream until some passers by heard my screams and alerted the hotel staff who finally came to my rescue, as I could not get the window back up or off my finger. I was in such pain, and had to then go to the hospital, where they cut my ring off in order to save my finger. What a horror story! But, true! You have to be really careful of windows I’ve learnt – please take note of this also, as some of London’s hotels are quite old, and you don’t want the same thing happening to you.
Still, I have good memories of my first visit there at 41 Fitzroy St Hotel, and nothing can take that away. That is when I first fell in love with London. I was a stranger to this place and showed up without knowing where I would stay or what I would do. I remember thinking this area in particular reminded me of the Oliver Twist movie in the good part of the movie, (I say the good part of the movie, as I categorize it into two parts – the good part is when Oliver was happy and well looked after, and the bad part is when he was taught to pickpocket to line the pockets of Bill Sikes, and Fagin). In the good part of the movie, where he lived with the kind elderly gentleman in London, Oliver would look out of his bedroom window onto the streets below, and he saw Nancy in one of the songs (the movie is a musical, and the song I refer to is “Who Will Buy These Wonderful Roses” and Nancy is Bill Sikes’ girlfriend). I remember the London I saw in the movie, looks just like the London I know in the Fitzroy Square/Fitzroy Street area.
The hotel is not at all fancy, it is simple, but very central – in a great location! Who would not want to be in an Oliver Twist like setting?!! This is a bed and breakfast, and I’m sure they have fixed up the windows since that time. I remember they served a wonderful hot English breakfast, complete with bacon, eggs, sausage, toast and jam, as well as coffee and tea. Needless to say, I went in to the hotel on my visit to London last year, and took a few pictures. After all, this place is part of my history! This hotel used to be only something like £30 or £40 (pounds) per night for a single room, now I’m sure it’s more like £80 per night, and you may have to share a bathroom. I believe I shared a bathroom back when I first stayed there, probably even during my second visit.
It is quite notable to see that High Commissions, and Embassies also are in this very same area. If the signs weren’t on the buildings in such a visible way, you would never imagine that it could be a High Commission or an Embassy.
This is Telecom Tower, as you head towards Tottenham Court Road tube station, which is also only a few minutes walk away.
The picture below reminds me of the scene from the song where Oliver looks out from his balcony. It probably was not this very street, but to me – this is what I remember or imagine it to be. I must watch the movie again – what a fantastic movie it was, and so memorable – just like London is to me. “Please sir, can I have some more porridge?” Then we all know what happened to Oliver, and how he was thrown out of the orphanage just for asking for more food!
George Bernard Shaw and Virginia Woolf both lived here.
Robert Adam, the architect, lived here.
Of course, i had to take a picture of the Indian YMCA – also very close to Fitzroy Street, and I remember this being here years ago too.
Just in case you are curious, “To Let” means to rent, and I’m sure you know that a flat is an apartment.
This is also nearby, but it is Bedford Square, just as pretty, but not quite as spectacular as Fitzroy Square. Bedford Square is shown in the next four pictures.
Back to Fitzroy Square again.
Well, hopefully, you got a feel for one of my favorite areas of London – the Fitzroy Street, Fitzroy Square area – near the Warren Street tube station. It is also walking distance to Tottenham Court Road tube station. I hope you enjoyed my little trip down memory lane, plus the pictures that show the surrounding area. Also, did you get to see the clip from the Oliver Twist movie – to compare it to my pictures, click here – so what you do think? Is it the same place? Here’s to good memories of where ever your travels take you to. Happy summer!
Yesterday, I had a glimpse of London again in a Bollywood movie starring Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif called “Bang Bang”. I loved the movie, what’s not to like when it has Hrithik in it, and London, and music and dancing!
So, you might wonder why I included a picture of the Tower of London? Well, that’s what the plot revolves around – around the Kohinoor diamond – actually that was supposedly taken from the Tower of London. I won’t give out too much more information, and just want to add that the Kohinoor Diamond is really stored in the Tower of London in real life too, it’s not just fiction. It was taken from India by the British.
Going back to the movie, if I had to tell you something that I didn’t like – it was the violence, and especially the guns as I detest guns – they are evil and not necessary. However, even that didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the movie. Also, you have to remember that Bollywood movies often have quite a bit of violence in them (just as Hollywood movies do). The singing and dancing are what I like the best though! Also, it helps that Hrithik is actually one of my favorite actors – he was brilliant in this movie. I think Katrina was really good too.
If you are wondering whether you should see the movie, I would say GO SEE IT – I highly recommend it.
You really ought to listen to the soundtrack or watch it on YouTube, and I will include it here. When I listen to it, I can’t get the tune out of my head for ages!
Also, if you are wondering where you can see this movie in the San Diego area, you can see it at Digiplex Poway on 13475 Poway Road, Poway, CA 92064, or AMC Fashion Valley at 7037 Friars Road, San Diego, CA 92108, or at UA Horton Plaza 8, 475 Horton Plaza, San Diego, CA 92101. You may know I love Horton Plaza, however, I saw the movie in Poway.
Well, now I think I tied in San Diego, London, India and Bollywood movies all together – to make one huge connection. We could say the Kohinoor Diamond travelled, and now Bollywood movies are thankfully available just about everywhere.