If you wondered what did England ever have to do with Srilanka other than the branded clothes, silver tip tea and explosive cricket you are wrong! There is a mini Srilanka based in Wembley Central, UK. I got lucky to grab a few seats in a 90000 capacity ground the Grand Wembley Stadium – Europe’s second largest stadium, with 2618 toilets, the maximum ever. I had booked tickets for the England vs. Kazakhstan FIFA world cup 2010 qualifier match. Before this match I have never seen close to 90000 people at a single place.
Saturday morning was a misty morning, had to drag myself out of bed to get ready and board the 9:17 train to Waterloo. Then changed tubes as easy as shuffling cards to get to Black Friars station and walked along the Thames River along some beautiful bridges – Black Friar Bridge opened by The Highness Queen Victoria. The embankment walk along from Waterloo / London Eye till the Tower bridge of London should take about 30 – 45 minutes depending on your speed….ranks as one of the best walks for seeing places and the quickest snapshot of London’s glory. We (Naveen and me) went and visited Tate Modern.
These were some words that I got to hear about Tate Modern “A visit to London isn’t complete without a trip to Tate Modern. Britain’s national museum of modern and contemporary art from around the world is housed in the former Bank side Power Station on the banks of the Thames.
The awe-inspiring Turbine Hall runs the length of the entire building and you can see amazing work for free by artists such as Cezanne, Bonnard, Matisse, Picasso, Giacometti, Rothko, Dali, Pollock, Warhol and Bourgeois. For opening times and location please see website.”
We did enjoy the place and the best part was that it was free to enter…some good things in life come free as well.
Then we visited Globe…Shakespeare’s living place, where he used to write a lot and his theatre.
Then we walked on the cable bridge across Thames and went over to visit Paul’s Cathedral, a massive beautiful rendition of ancient architecture. Then we boarded the tube from Mansion house and after a few changes and meeting a few interesting characters some old, some young, some howling some dozing we reached Queens Park and then finally Wembley Central. We started seeing a lot of guys in England T Shirts and we started getting apprehensive if the England T shirt was a compulsory aspect to enter the stadium. We walked to Chennai Dosai with day long dreams of their meals and fish only to see that they have temporarily closed down with a vague reason saying that they don’t have electricity. But this was a blessing in disguise we started searching for more restaurants and any restaurant with the word ‘VEG’ on its display board turned me into their instant foe. We finally noticed the Srilankan connection, several Srilankan restaurants, we finally entered into Gana, café & restaurant – I have been to Kandy where the world famous Buddhist Temple is present with Buddha’s tooth relic and the famous Kandy Lake and tasted the extra tasty local meals (for Srilanka pictures click here). We ordered for some vadas, fish cutlets, a non veg meal and a veg meals and of course the legendary elephant drinks (the coca cola in Srilanka is a brand called elephant). The food was YUMMY, spicy and superb. We instantly decided we will be back in the evening for dinner. We paid and enquired from some England fans if the England Team T Shirts were compulsory and they said of course not. But still for the safety of our skulls we searched Wembley High Road for T shirts, finally ended picking up mufflers and caps with the England Flags proudly displayed. The entry into the stadium was as easy as getting into your pajamas and out.
For booking tickets
Wembley stadium was so beautiful that in first sight we were amazed to see something like this; the lush green fields the red chairs, words really can’t do justice. The stadium filled in and by 15 minutes of the kick off the stadium was jam packed. Before that the teams had warmed up and raring to go rather kicking to go. Terry was out and Ferdinand was the skipper. The crowd’s favorite was Lambert, Rooney, Theo, Gerrad, Ferdinand, Cole and the ever green Beckham. The first half was nice but goal less and I had horrid visions of watching a goal less match. The second half was goal full, goals pouring in as a leaking tap. The first was a header from Ferdinand second was a self goal from Kazakhstan (with some help from Rooney), third a header by Rooney, fourth a kick by Rooney and fifth a kick by Jermane Defoe. England gift wrapped a goal to Kazakhstan when Sabrykhan Kukeyev took advantage of a stray pass by Ashley Cole to give Kazakhstan some hope with just over 20 minutes remaining. Beckham though in late set up some superb goals; David Beckham replaced Walcott to give him his 106th cap, allowing the midfielder to draw level with Sir Bobby Charlton in third spot on England's all-time list of appearances.
All in all a true entertainer with Fabio Capello at the side of the field throwing in ideas, he must be a happy man.
It was nice to sing the England cheer song and clap along…though my voice is gone today.
The final count was 89,107 people.
We then fought our way over 90000 people and reached Wembley high road and after some Indian grocery shopping we were back in Gana – the Srilankan Café. We ordered vadda, Appam a.k.a Hoppers, Milk Hoppers, Chana Sambhol. Must say I have again fallen in love over Srilankan Food. Hope to be there again. Got back home by 12 after a tube and train journey and crashed in my bed under twin duvets for the fear of cold is always there.
Tate Modern -------------------------Tate Modern Art
Tate Modern Art ------------------------------------Tate Modern Art(100 blocks 100 words 20 lines)
Globe -----------------------------Globe Entrance
London Bridges ------------------------ St Pauls Cathedral
Me with England Muffler --------------------------------- Wembley Stadium
Play Time ----------------------------------Naveen & Me
Gerrard -------------------------Flags & National Anthem
The entire picture set can be found in the below link