A generation has grown up with ‘Wanderlust’ posters on their wall, ‘Carpe Diem’ wallpapers and a shallow love for YOLO. I am no exception. So when the opportunity presented itself to publish a paper in a summer conference at the University of York, I put my heart and soul into making it happen. I thank my lucky stars that it did.
I sincerely do not want to make this read a bore, so here are 10 pictures that sum it all up:
10. Scotland and Booze
The Scots love them their booze. Its no secret, though experiencing is first hand is an adventure of it’s own. Of all the places I visited, I could see myself living a happily-ever-after in Edinburgh. This picture of Georgian architecture in the old town, above a picturesque little pub captures a lot of what life in the Scottish capital is all about.
9. Street Music
This particular gentleman with the enormous dog was one in a list of many talented musicians that I had the pleasure of hearing in person. Some were so good that you’ll forget about your itinerary for a few minutes as you join the crown sitting on pavements listening to them play. If I ever live in a cosmopolitan city that appreciates its music as much as Bath or Edinburgh, I’ll take my guitar and head off to play on the streets for a weekend. It’s so much more than just money.
8. By the River Ouse
York is everything that you’ll expect a tiny English town to be. Though evenings by the river Ouse, with the cheapest Pizza available, a couple of beers and a gorgeous sunset was one of the rare occasions when I hoped time would slow down just a little. Also, I have never been more terrified of ducks. They gang up on you for pizza.
7. The Midnight Drunk Parade
A tradition as old as time itself. Streets full of drunken people waddling about looking for home after a weekend that had a teenie-weenie bit more booze than expected. Met a girl running around with a traffic cone on her head in York, danced on the streets after the English World Cup victory over Colombia in London, got invited to dungeon bars in Edinburgh. Never had less regrets about a hangover.
6. The British East Coast
In a train with grasslands extending to the rocky coast. Horses racing on the grasslands, while rogue waves crash on the shore with a lighthouse standing tall. Ships emerging out of fog at the horizon, and all of this on a train ride. I almost teared up because my shitty phone could not capture what was, without a shred of doubt, one of the prettiest scene I’ve laid my eyes upon.
5. Tis’ Coming Home
I am not superstitious, but England were doing great while I was there. There could not have been a better time to be in London. Period. I’ll tell my grand kids I was drinking up in London, soaked in the beer raining down, joining in chants and getting bear-hugged by total strangers when England won their first ever shootout at a World Cup.
4. The Most Poetic Bench Ever
A trail from Castle Doune (The Original Winterfell), led downwards to river Teith, and on the other shore, I saw this one bench that represented an entire way of life. I wonder how many couples fell in love right there, on that isolated river front. Sitting timelessly, as the river shimmered by. If only benches could talk, that particular one would have some stories worth a listen.
A great time to be in London for more than one reason. It was the Pride week, and this traffic signal at Trafalgar Square captured the English view on openness of sexuality better than any number of pride flags hoisted across the country. Though it’s sad that the openness and freedom felt alien to me, so much for being from a liberal democracy.
2. Let There Be Love
Do google the Oasis song by the same name, it’s weirdly underrated. Brick Lane in London is better than any art museum I’ve been to, owing to the sheer creativity of graffiti. But then again, I haven’t really been to any art museums. I don’t really know how to appreciate art, but even I had to stand back in awe for the graffiti around here.
1. Parks and Gardens have a Purpose
I apologise for the giant face that just covered 36% of your screen. But this moment is right up there with the best of my life. Lying under a tree at the Prince’s Street Gardens with a belly full of McDonald’s and a bagpipe version of ‘Wish You Were Here’ playing somewhere within earshot; the slight breeze, rustling peach green leaves and a warm sunshine. I felt happy to my bones. Complete. I spent a major portion of my remaining days sleeping around in parks and gardens all over the city. No regrets.