Across the Eurasia and Urals - Entry to Europe

Beijing Travel Blog

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 It was already second day of trip. Now it is time to think about how we go to Europe. The first morning was very calm, and we watched tennis game in the tennis court in the hotel. The hotel was not in the center of Beijing but rather a bit suburb. So when drove out, I still could see the bamboo forests, and old style chinese farmers and old men but I am sure not any more these days as Beijing became one of the most modern city in the world. After having light breakfast, we got on the van, and headed for the airport. So full of people, hot, humid and uncomfotable. Still remember that people were waiting for the flight, and the passengers of three flights were sitting in the ground not knowing exactly when their plane is going to take off as all of them were delayed. We took FINNAIR, which I never thought we would get the tickets to go to England via Helsinki. Somehow, nine of us got delayed 30 min, and hopped into the plane. Everything became so new, and there were 70% Chinese, 20% Europeans, and 10% of others. I am sure we were those 10%. While flying to Helsinki, we had taken pictures, and also wondered what we are really going to see when we arrive in London. London as a first city has a couple of meanings when you are from Asia. London uses English, and for the most Asians and hence Korean youngsters, English is the most comfortable language to start with. If you start from Frankfurt, Budapest, or Paris, perhaps you will realize that non-English speaking countries are not so easy to travel especially you are the first-time traveler. Also London is quite safer than other cities, and it provides a certain level of decency.

 After 11 hours of long flight, we landed on Helsinki, and the only thing I could see in the airport was so clear sky and forests. Not more than that. I am sure Helsinki is a nice city, but if you be in the airport, those two things are the ones you can see almost exclusively. I was sitting there and looked at outside through the windows. So calm, so silent..and so clean, that is Finland. We had a connecting flight to London heathrow, and it took only 2-3 hours. Surprisingly, British passengers were quite drunken after they had wines and beers in the plane, and their voice became louder and faces were blushed. Imagine nine of you are the only ones from Britain and all of them are Japanese people and they started getting drunken and became loud. Enjoyable to say the least, but not the best moment you can enjoy.

 Finally, the plane landed in Heathrow, and the journey was about to begin. But i had really severe ear ache, possible because of pressure difference. All of a sudden, I could not hear anything, and my ear was just about to be blown up and so hurting. It took 30 min to manage that, even then, I could not hear very well and respond to immigration officer's questions. Literally I had to look at his lips and told him what i understood. But after that, I found Pharmacy Boots, and had some pills and liquids to soothe my pain in ears. We took the tube and went to Earl's court station. It was already 6 pm, and was getting dark. The first evening of London was so painful and dark. By 7, we finally managed to Barkston Garden's hotel just near Earl's court station. It was a very cozy and classic hotel, and the interior was very nice. After taking shower and sleep for two hours, finally the pain has gone. Seung-duk and sever other girls all yelled at me what are we doing. So, we went out finally. Still remember the pub "rats and parrots" and we had a half pint guiness. So crowded, so many people and talking from politics to gossips, and we were so excited that finally we made it to London, England. I can remember those cockney sound English, and British youngsters were so drunken and we stayed there to the last call. We were not, and we could not be drunken. Tomorrow we are supposed to see the guard ceremony in buckingham palace. If you have ever imagined that how much it would be exotic to be in different cultures, then this is the one. And the journey just began in Europe.

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photo by: Eric