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Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music 2008: Day 3

img  Tobias

I am late for today's concert, even though I started my journey on time. It's the logical result of not properly planning my trip with the London tube. Instead of driving all the way to “Monument” and then boarding the Northern line, I accidentally get off at “King's Cross” and find myself at the outer edge of the Circle Line, which seems to be driving all over town before finally taking that turn towards Westminster. When I come rushing onto Smith Square in an effort of still making it on time, the doors are just being swung shut by the ushers. Luckily, St. John's is well prepared for this. Quickly, I am redirected to the “latecomer's” entrance, where I simply have to wait outside until the first piece has finished. In this short moment of rest, several other belated guests arrive and I have some minutes to think about the tube system.

The underground, for all of its discrepancies, is still the nervous system of the City. Even though buses offer an alternative and may even look more charming in the eyes of a tourist, the tube's carriages are still unmatched in terms of speed and efficiency. You can almost forget about the size of this town: It hardly ever takes more than half an hour to get from one corner of London to another.

What I find most interesting about it all is that the London tube system represents a world of its own and each line seems to have a unique personality. There's the Circle Line, which looks like a snake biting its own tail, almost like a oversized toy train and the Central, which cuts through the heart of the city like a light sabre. The Piccadilly, Disctrict and Metropolitan ascend from the South to the North diagonally, while the smaller local lines (such as the Northern or East London) serve outer boroughs.

The more you travel with these lines, the more you discover their idiosyncracies and the way these change your experience of the journey. There is plenty of time to read a book on the Central and it even pays off to look out of the window at times, as it shortly escapes the narrow tunnels to come up for air at the surface. The Central, on the other hand, already sports newer and bigger carriages, which allow taller people like myself to stand freely without having to watch their head.

Construction is also constantly reshaping the looks of stations and the tube itself. At the moment, “Cannon Street”, for example, is currently not being served at all, the train driving past a haunting ghost station. In many of the mezzanines between two long flights of escalators, local musicians are demonstrating their abilities, filling the air with singer/songwriter-tunes, Harmonium improvisations, wild cross-overs and classical music. Even though the walls store the heat of the Summer like a sponge, a journey with the tube is therefore not only strenous, but thoroughly diverse and entertaining.

When I come back in the evening, Nadja and I decide we are still hungry. It is by then long past twelve and most restaurants turn us down, as their kitchens have closed. We decide to take a walk in the refreshingly cool air instead. On Upper street, we discover an Indian place by the name of “Raj Moni” and glance in through the curtained windows (see picture). There are some guests in the back and we are waved in by one of the waiters. Without any hurry, we are given plenty of time to choose and are treated to a midnight dinner of spicey Aubergines, Naan bread and a delicious vegetable dish. Only when we pay, we are informed that they have already closed half an hour ago. Kudos go out to the crew of this friendly place, which we leave satisfied and with smiles on our faces, headed straight for hours of well-deserved sleep.

(To read on, use the table of contents on top of the right hand side)

Article in serie

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1 Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music 2008
A rare case of dedication: ...
2008-05-22
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2 Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music 2008: Day 6
London, May 20th: Concerto Soave ...
2008-05-22
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3 Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music 2008: Day 5
London, May 19th: Ensemble Pierre ...
2008-05-20
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4 Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music 2008: Day 4
London, May 18th: The Wallfish ...
2008-05-19
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5 Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music 2008: Day 3
London, May 17th: Concordia & ...
2008-05-18
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6 Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music 2008: Day 2
London, May 16th: Philippe Herreweghe ...
2008-05-17
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7 Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music 2008: Day 1
London, May 15th: English Concert, ...
2008-05-16

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