London Google Office in Pictures

Google has several offices in London, and through a rare opportunity I was able to get a tour of their office in Central Saint Giles. Throughout the tour I was just thinking of how unique the interior design is and how creative the place is, so here are some pictures.

IMG_1965 IMG_1966 IMG_1967 IMG_1968 IMG_1969 IMG_1970 IMG_1971 IMG_1974 IMG_1975 IMG_1978 IMG_1980 IMG_1983 IMG_1989 IMG_1990 IMG_1994 IMG_1996 IMG_1995 IMG_1999 IMG_2006 IMG_2016

If you have watched the movie “The Internship” with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, you may realize that some things they portrayed in the movie were quite accurate (maybe not their internship process, but definitely the free food). Apparently just like the phrase “freshman 15” used in the United States about gaining 15 pounds after your first year at University, at Google office its called the “Google stone” where new employees gain a stone.

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The London UndergrounD – As it is!

The London UndergrounD Head Office

The London UndergrounD Head Office

Living in London you will travel through the London UndergrounD (trust me, that isn’t a typo) either several times a day or a few times a week. Most times the tube journey will be splendidly smooth and at other times you may feel like pulling your hair out.

When traveling on the tube I never really thought about how the London UndergrounD was built or how it has evolved. However, after a tour of a disused hidden underground station and a presentation by David Leboff (our expert on Transport of London) we found out that there is a lot more to the UndergrounD that meets the eye. Since then I have noticed the hidden beauty that lies beneath the omnipotent structure of what we now call the London UndergrounD.

10 new things I discovered:

  1. Have you ever wandered why the oyster card (which can be used to go on all of Transport of London) is called an “oyster” card? Apparently it could have been inspired by the phrase “The world is your oyster” or it could have just been because one of the marketing guys at TFL had a fetish for seafood.

  1. The first underground tube was the Metropolitan Railway (aka Metropolitan line), which back in 1863 only traveled from Farringdon to Paddington.
  1. Baker Street Station looks pretty much like it did in the 1980s, except the fact that you won’t see Sherlock Holmes there anymore.

  1. The Bakerloo line was previously called Baker Street and Waterloo Railway and was later combined and named as it is today.
  1. Due to corporate branding all the London Railways became the “UndergrounD” with the big “D” at the end. However, now the logo has changed to the “UNDERGROUND”.
The Old "UndergrounD" Logo

The Old “UndergrounD” Logo

The current "UNDERGROUND" logo

The current “UNDERGROUND” logo

  1. The colorful lines were introduced in 1908 as a feature of the rebranding. After living in London for over a year I still like to use the colors to refer to certain lines rather than the actual names of the lines. I guess the marketing technique does work.
David Leboff showing us the colorful lines.

David Leboff showing us the colorful lines.

  1. The first escalator at a tube stations was introduced in 1915 at Kilburn Park. It must have been fun climbing all those stairs after a night out pre-1915.
  1. At one point the metropolitan railway went all the way to Buckinghamshire and almost as far as Oxfordshire. Trust me, Oxfordshire is very far.
  1. At some point in history one of the tunnels along the central line was used as an aircraft factory.
  1. White City station was named after the 1909 Imperial exhibition where there were white buildings around that area. I wouldn’t have guessed.
The view from the TFL office building

The view from the London Underground head office 

Touring The Palace of Westminster as an International Student

A tour of the Houses of Parliament, or by its proper name ‘The Palace of Westminster’ leads you through a journey into the history of the English Monarchy. Through the yearly State Opening the Palace of Westminster brings back the historical traditions. During my visit our tour guide told us many memorable facts, 10 of which, I thought were the most intriguing from a foreign perspective are:

10 Interesting facts I found out from the tour:

  1. The royal family name is the House of Windsor however up until 1917 the Royal family name was the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
  1. Inside the Palace of Westminster there are several Frescos paintings made by William Dyce, however there were difficulties in drying and preserving paintings in London’s damp and cold climate. Therefore people are working on them to this day to make it look as good as it looked when initially painted.
Fresco Painting  © http://www.parliament.uk/

Fresco Painting
© http://www.parliament.uk/

  1. When Margret thatcher saw here statue for the first time she made a comment regarding how the statue is made of bronze but as she was known as “the Iron Lady” in her time she thought it could have been made of iron.
Margaret Thatcher's Statue © http://www.parliament.uk/

Margaret Thatcher’s Statue
© http://www.parliament.uk/

  1. The queen visits the Palace of Westminster only once every year for the State Opening – pictures of the state opening
Queen on the day of the State Opening  © http://www.parliament.uk/

Queen on the day of the State Opening
© http://www.parliament.uk/

  1. On the State Opening of the Houses of Parliament one of the ministers leave for the Buckingham Palace as a ‘hostage’ when the Queen goes to visit the Palace of Westminster as a symbolic guarantee for the safe return of the monarch.
  1. From around 1649 UK was ruled as a republic of the Commonwealth of England, however the parliament later decided in restoring the monarch in 1660.

    Chamber in the House of Lords © http://www.parliament.uk/

    Chamber in the House of Lords
    © http://www.parliament.uk/

  1. Parliament is split into two houses: the House of Lords and the House of Commons, both houses differ distinctly in their design and color scheme. The House of Lords is decorated in red while the House of Commons is decorated in green tough there is no official reasoning given. Some of the theories for the houses of commons are 1) Green is a cheaper dye than red 2) Green is the color of grass and so symbolic of the countryside 3) Green is distinctly opposite color of Red – pick which one you prefer!

    Chamber of House of Commons  © http://www.parliament.uk/

    Chamber of House of Commons
    © http://www.parliament.uk/

  1. From the public gallery you can view debates held at the House of Commons and the House of Lords Chambers (this is what you see on TV).

    Entrance of the House of Commons © http://www.parliament.uk/

    Entrance of the House of Commons
    © http://www.parliament.uk/

  1. The public gallery in the House of Commons is separates from the Chamber by bulletproof glass. This is due to the infamous incident which forces a review of security procedures.
  1. There are 650 members of the House of Commons but the Commons Chamber can only accommodate for around 427 people.

As seen in much of London, the Houses of Parliament are not the singular attraction in Westminster with the London Eye located a five minutes walk away and a night view of London from the London Eye is just astonishing and cannot be captured as well in a picture despite my attempts. Also Trafalgar square is in walking distance and its always fun to walk around places, absorb the area and spot interesting things around.

view from the London Eye

view from the London Eye

View from London Eye

View from London Eye

In the London Eye

In the London Eye

Thanksgiving Dinner with our International Students Family @ISH

Thanksgiving is a day that is celebrated mostly in the United States of America and Canada but also celebrated in other parts of the world at different times and is known by different names. For example in Germany it’s called Erntedankfest and in japan it’s known as Labor Thanksgiving Day (勤労感謝の日 Kinrō Kansha no Hi?) and to an extent here in London Guy Fawkes day is consider an unusual thanksgiving day.

Thanksgiving is traditionally known as a day to be thankful for the blessing of a good harvest. Nevertheless nowadays it is celebrated to remind us to be thankful for what we have. At International Students House (ISH) as a big international student family we came together on this occasion to enjoy a traditional thanksgiving feast, and some musical & dance performances. However I can’t upload videos so here are the dropbox link to the musical performance: https://www.dropbox.com/s/7nxmyqmnqubwj3e/Video%2026-11-2014%2019%2029%2035.mov?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/nlf2jpgpor3ve7w/Video%2026-11-2014%2019%2051%2055.mov?dl=0.

Here is the link for the cheerleading dance performance:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/dq4jvoxwaobavt1/cheerleader%20video.m4v?dl=0

Our table

The menu

My vegetarian main course

Dessert – Pecan and Pumpkin Pie

London Unseen

©Monika S

©Monika S

London has countless tourist attractions and when I first came to London a year ago I thought that even as a student I would be visiting the London eye and the Madame Tussauds. However, that was not the case, not only was it a “touristy” thing to do but also I discovered the alternative side to London. A side to London that not many foreigners would normally go to see, just simply because it is not heard of as much as the typical sightseeing places.

©Divya R Dalani

©Divya R Dadlani

©Monika S

©Monika S

Mainstream tourist attractions are there for a reason, however there is a lot of information on that already, so I want to explore alternative places to go and things to do as students, some of which are more common to Londoners and others that most Londoners are not even familiar with.

©Divya R Dadlani

©Divya R Dadlani

©Divya R Dalani

©Divya R Dadlani

©Divya R Dalani

©Divya R Dadlani

London like other cities is organic, it changes every so often. While there can be no full guide to London as it is perceived differently by individuals, I want to discover different aspects of London that can appeal to people with different interests.

©Divya R Dalani

©Divya R Dadlani

©Divya R Dalani

©Divya R Dadlani

©Divya R Dalani

©Divya R Dadlani

©Divya R Dalani

©Divya R Dadlani

The pictures on this post give you an idea of what you may see on my upcoming posts. Also having a personal interest in culture, art, music, fashion, food, architecture, history and my curiosity to learn new things, I will try to include as many of these things in some way or the other in my blog.

©Divya R Dalani

©Divya R Dadlani

©Divya R Dalani

©Divya R Dadlani

©Divya R Dalani

©Divya R Dadlani

©Divya R Dalani

©Divya R Dadlani

You might notice that some of the photography on this page are ©Divya R Dadlani, as they were taken by my friend who is studying at London College of Fashion and has been capturing great pictures of some places we have been to and things we have seen.