- Before Columbus set foot on the shores of the New World on 12 October 1492, the Mayans lived around




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- Do you like to travel?

- Yes, I do. Besides, I want to say that I can not imagine my life without travelling. Modern means of communication make the world a small place. Now it is possible to visit many countries and meet people of all nations. Today travelling is a way of life for some people. Moreover, in the past travelling was a specific driving force of human development. For example, the rudiments of mathematics were brought to Europe from Bagdad in the 13th century. In the past travelling was extremely dangerous, but it did not stop explorers to investigate our planet.

- Do you travel much?

- No, to my regret I do not travel much. Although I am fond of seeing new places and meeting different people, I can do it only once a year.

- What countries have you visited?

- I have visited Great Britain.

- When did you visit Great Britain?

- I visited Great Britain last year.

- What can you tell us about your journey?

- Last summer my classmates and I went to Great Britain for a holiday. We lived in the host-families in the suburbs of London. We went to London every day by the 12 o'clock train. We didn't go to England only for pleasure. We were learning English there. We had classes of English five days a week three hours a day. Our English teacher gave us classes of English at school. And when the classes were over her assistant took us round London and showed us the sights.

- Did you see a lot of places of interest?

- We took most of our stay there. We had never been to London before, but we knew a lot about its places of interest such as the National Gallery, the Tate Gallery, the Tower of London, the Houses of Parliament, Nelson's Column.

- What impressed you most of all there in London?

- I was greatly impressed by Changing the Guard. It is London's most popular spectacle. It takes place in the forecourt of Buckingham and lasts about 30 minutes. Every day a lot of people come to the palace to see it.

- What did do at the weekends?

- At the weekends we were looking around all day long. We went to Hampton Court, the residence of Henry VIII, Windsor Castle, the residence of Elizabeth II. We went to Rochester. There we visited Dickens's museum and a medieval castle. I was greatly impressed by Hampton Court. Henry VIII liked his palace on the Thames very much. We also could feel its beauty as we walked around the magnificent building. Every corner captured our hearts. Beneath the colonnade in Clock Court was the entrance to the king's apartments, restored to their full glory after the fire of 1986. History was vividly seen there.

- What other London places of interest did you like?

- I liked the Tower of London and St Paul's Cathedral.

- What do you know about them?

- St. Paul's Cathedral is Sir Christopher Wren's masterpiece. The construction of the Cathedral lasted for 34 years. It is crowned by the dome. Inside the Dome are scenes from the life of St. Paul. Here too is the famous Whispering Gallery. There are many memorials in the Cathedral including those to the heroes such as Wellington and Nelson. As for the Tower of London, it is connected with many important events in English history. It has served as citadel, palace, prison, mint, menagerie. Now it is a museum. The White Tower was built in 1078 by William the Conqueror to protect the city. The Tower is famous for its illustrious prisoners. Many great people lost their heads on the executioner's block. The Tower is guarded by the Yeoman Warders popularly known as 'Beefeaters', clad in their traditional Tudor uniforms.

- What do you know about British cultural life?

- I can make some general comments on British cultural life. First of all I want to say that English culture, enriched by the contributions of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, dominates in the cultural life of the United Kingdom. Widespread changes in the United Kingdom's cultural life occurred after 1945. The most remarkable was perhaps the emergence first of Liverpool and then of London in the 1960s as the world centres of popular culture. The "Beatles" were only the first and best-known of the many British rock music groups to win the world. British clothing designers for a time led the world as innovators of new styles of dress for both men and women, and the brightly coloured outfits sold in Carnaby Street and King's Road shops briefly became symbols of Britain.

- Does the British government support the arts?

- As far as I know, during the postwar period, successive governments shifted their policies toward the arts. The independent Arts Council, formed in 1946, supports many kinds of contemporary creative and performing arts. This support has supplemented the great expansion of the cultural market, mainly commercial, and of audiences and viewers for the arts generally.

- Were you happy there in London?

- Yes, of course. I was very happy there. I liked my host-family very much.

- What are usual meals in England?

- The usual meals in England are breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner. Breakfast is generally a bigger meal than that on the Continent, though some English prefer a continental breakfast of rolls, butter and coffee. It is said that the traditional English breakfast is porridge. But it is not so. They do not like porridge. They think that their guests from the Continent like it and serve it to them every morning. English people like corn flakes or cereals with milk and honey, bacon and eggs, marmalade with buttered toast, and tea or coffee.

- What do English people have for lunch?

- They have lunch at one o'clock. At lunch time in a London cafe or restaurant it is possible to find a mutton chop, or steak and chips, fish and chips, and something of the like, then a fruit to follow.

- Do all English have their famous five o'clock tea?

- No, not all of them. It is the privilege of the conference participants or the representatives of some leisure classes who take it as a kind of social activity with a chat and a cup of tea with pastries or a cake.

- What do English have for dinner?

- Dinner time throughout England is seven o'clock p.m. For some families dinner is the biggest meal of the day. But for others midday meal is the chief one of the day while in the evening they have a much simpler supper - an omelette, or sausages, or a glass of milk.

- Is British food specific?

- Previously everything people ate was home-made, and prepared in the traditional way. Nowadays produced food is replacing the slow, careful preparation of fresh vegetables and other ingredients. Canteens, cafeterias and even many restaurants serve course meals instead of individually prepared dishes for each customer. As far as I know British restaurants have not always been famous for their good food. Too often they offered fried food and chips with everything. But now healthy food is in fashion and so is international cooking.

- Where have the British taken food ideas from?

- The British have taken food ideas from all over the world. They can eat Chinese, Indian, French, Italian and Greek food in any big city, and in London there is a fantastic variety of restaurants.

- Do the British often go to the restaurants?

- Most British families go to the restaurants only on special occasions, like birthdays, or wedding anniversaries. The restaurant's best customers are business people, who meet in them to talk business in a relaxed atmosphere away from the telephone. For visitors to London, eating out can be fun. In some restaurants the menu and decor are just like they were in Queen Victoria's day, a hundred years ago.

- Where can visitors to London go to have special London feeling?

- If visitors to London want special London feeling, they should go to the "Ritz" in Piccadilly for tea any afternoon at about half past four. Or they can try England's favourite food - chips and fish. They can take it away and eat where they like - in the park, on the bus or while walking down the street. That's what Londoners do!

- Have you ever travelled by air?

- Yes, I have. It happened a year ago when we went to Great Britain. We got to London by air. On the appointed day we went to the airport by car. Soon we boarded the big air-liner. When we took off the voice informed us about the altitude we were flying. The flight took us more than three hours. Time passed quickly. The plane arrived at the airport in time.

- Have you ever used any other way of travelling?

- Certainly. There are different ways of travelling. I have travelled by train, car, and boat. When I travelled by car or train a blurred image of the countryside always smeared the window. It is a peculiar feature of our time not to use legs but to move about in cars, trains, jets, from a very early age. Today people travel hundred of miles every day.

- What kind of travelling do your parents prefer?

- My parents prefer to travel by coach, that is why of all the available tours they choose coach tours. Such tours are not expensive and my parents like them very much. Coach tours give a chance to do a lot of sightseeing and have a good rest at the same time. Last year my parents bought a coach tour. They enjoyed the tour very much. During the ten-day holiday they visited Germany, the Netherlands and France. There was no trouble with the luggage because it was taken care of at every night stop. Moreover hotels were carefully selected and booked in advance. My parents recollect this tour even a year later.

- What role does tourism play in the present day society?

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