Saturday, February 27, 2016

London Parks (London 2016, Part 6)

If Tuesday was about emotional re-connections to people and places, then Wednesday was about silliness and fun...and finally, finally, meeting another Duck Lady...which, I've decided, will have to be in the next installment, as I took so many pictures in the few hours before she arrived in London that they warrant their own blog post.

Sarah is the English member of our ducky fun, and, now that she has met me, she has the whole set. She has met Lindsay, Amanda, Maayan and Meg. I suppose because Keane are from England, it seems to be a place we all want to go (and obviously, I have a lot of history there).

So Wednesday, I woke up early, got ready, and set off to walk around Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park in the few hours before Sarah's train arrived. It was a cold, slightly-sunny, slightly-overcast type of morning, and the park is still in Winter mode, for the most part...but the daffodils are blooming, and the parks are very well-used by Londoners and tourists alike, so I had a very pleasant walk.

Just one quick tangent before I get to the pictures...the reason I love daffodils so much is because I first really took notice of them in London Semester 1999--London becomes almost blanketed in their happy faces and I was, at that time, undergoing a fairly significant transition from Sheltered College Girl to Adult Who Conquers Whole Cities (in the metaphorical sense, of course). For some reason, daffodils just became a symbol of London to me, and six years later, I wrote a blog post about them when I was having a difficult time during my year in Burnham. Daffodils, you see, bloom in harsh conditions...and so do I.

Now, back to present day, and my morning stroll through the acres and acres of parkland that make London special.

But first, Breakfast of Champions in my hotel room.

My hotel was about half a mile or so from the parks, and a quick jaunt down
the very diverse Queensway Road got me there in no time. 

Burger King and Subway. 

Amidst all the restaurants and tourist shops, a Catholic

I was delighted to find a Fenton's...but not delighted enough
to eat there in cold weather.

Into Kensington Gardens, and out of the noise of the city.


I loved watching the dogs run around, chasing sticks and generally loving life.

I crept gingerly through some mud to get this shot, managing to avoid dog poo.

Weak winter sunshine.

I would love to be remembered this way.

I am too lazy to look him up tonight, but I do recall the
plaque on this said he'd discovered a vaccination of some

Cali Swimmy got more time outside of my purse today,
especially because he had to make friends with the locals.

The Serpentine in Hyde Park.

The obelisk in the foreground? No idea. The huge monument
beyond? That's the Albert Memorial that Queen Victoria had built.

My advice? Don't grow up.
At first I thought, "Oh, how young..." and then realized this was a memorial
for a dog, and I was charmed. There were others for dogs along the path.

The British are so good at queuing. 

More communing with the locals. They had that typical British reserve.

Okay, so I like birds. 

Look closely--there's a human being swimming in the Serpentine in WINTER.

Some kind of duck? Who knows? But they're pretty.

"To the memory of Queen Caroline, wife of George II, for
whom the Long Water and Serpentine were created between

Large chunks of the park were getting re-sodded, creating some nice striped
I left Hyde Park by way of Marble Arch, where I caught the Tube to Euston Station, to wait for Sarah.

It's an arch. It's made of marble. So they called it...

London's pigeons are so famous, I even found a pigeon Christmas ornament
at the National Portrait Gallery. Shame about the poo everywhere.

Eh, he makes a terrible boyfriend...

Seems even the UK has its share of anti-police sentiment. While I fully support
the right of anyone to voice their displeasure, it seems do so on a
piece of history. 

Also? Enough with the locks. They don't guarantee longevity in your relationship.

Marble Arch Tube Station was fabulous.

A war memorial in front of Euston Station.

I was early to meet Sarah, so I settled in for a cup of tea (and free WiFi) at a Costa, texted her that I'd be waiting in front of the Accessorize shop (we're both short, so having a set meeting spot was ideal for finding each other), and waited. There was fun to be had...

...and that needs it's own post.

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