- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- What do you know about British
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- What kind of travelling do your
- 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?
- I think, it is very useful to
visit different countries and get familiar with different cultures. People
today are travelling far more than they ever used to. Some people think that
tourists damage either the districts or cultural and historical places they
visit. Certainly, it is a sufficient reason for tourism to be stopped. Others
consider that today tourism has been elevated to a kind of religious ritual
which is gradually exhausting our planet. Moreover, when people travel at high
speeds they live in the future because they spend most of their time awaiting
the arrival at some other place, and the present stops to be a reality. One
should remember that travelling at high speed is a means not an end in itself.
- Did people travel much in the
- In the past people did not travel
so much as we do today. Tourism is the phenomenon of the 20th century. In the
past people set sail in search of new land and trade routes. The period of
extensive travelling in called the Age of Discovery.
- Is it possible to date the
beginning of the Age of Discovery?
- Some historians think that the Age
of Discovery, which opened the world to European shipping, began around 1419 when
Portugal's Prince Henry, known as "the Navigator", established a
maritime training centre on his country's Atlantic coast.
- What were the consequences of the
Age of Discovery for the peoples of Africa?
- They were disastrous. Africa had a
slave trade. In 1434 Portuguese adventurers brought the first black slaves to
Lisbon. As Europe's transatlantic colonies grew in importance, so did the need
for manual labour. It is supposed that as many as 10 million slaves were
transported to the New World, perhaps 5 million of them in the 18th century.
Nearly two million more died aboard the crowded prison ships that carried
slaves to work the sugar fields of the Caribbean or the cotton plantations of
the American South.
- Was the Age of Discovery damaging
to the New World?
- Native Americans were victimized
by colonialism: millions died of imported diseases like smallpox, which their
immune systems could not handle. The conquistadors ruthlessly suppressed the
cultures of Aztecs of Mexico and Incas of Peru.
- Did the cultures of the Aztecs of
Mexico and the Incas of Peru give anything to the world?
- They made a lasting and invaluable
contribution to world cuisine. Tomatoes, potatoes, corn and peppers, tobacco,
and many other delicacies, came to us from the New World.
- What do you know about the native
inhabitants of the New World?
- Before Columbus set foot on the
shores of the New World on 12 October 1492, the Mayans lived around the great
cities and temples their ancestors had built in the south-eastern Mexico. It is
a well established fact that the Maya civilization reached its zenith during
the Classical period, from about AD 250 to 900. After AD 900 it began to decay,
perhaps owing to stresses in the social structure, overpopulation, and
deforestation." A number of important cities emerged in the late Classic
period. The inhabitants of the cities were building striking stone
architectural monuments, but their scientific and artistic achievements were
not remarkable. Their economies remained underdeveloped. By the time of the
Spanish conquest, the Maya civilization was in decline, yet they resisted
subjugation longer than either the Aztecs of Mexico or the Incas of Peru. Spain
ruled Central America for about 300 years. The Mayans maintained their autonomy
only 1697. Unfortunately, disease and the social disruption brought with the
Spanish conquest annihilated a large part of the native population during the
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