London Redux – 1 week in the capital – An assortment of things, part 2
One afternoon, I dragged Mum and my sister from Westminster Station to the Southbank to walk along the Thames and take pictures of iconic sites. We got to the Waterloo Bridge, not quite getting to St. Paul’s as I had planned, and went back to the flat for some R&R. I still believe the best way to see London is to follow the course of the Thames.
In other London happenings, I did get a chance to shop on Regent’s Street this time around. Also, my sister insisted on a pilgrimage to Harrod’s – and to be honest, I was more or less going for the food (hall). Perhaps also for shopping on the Harrod’s-brand goods floor as well. I couldn’t resist all the Union Jack-bedecked items that now reside in my kitchen.
Another foray we made was inside Fortnum and Mason. What a paradise of tea tins, biscuit boxes that played music, and sugary treats behind glass cases! It was insanely busy, it being mid-day on a Saturday, but it seemed a world unto itself. It was like being in a jungle of tea scents and samples of fudge, though in a decidedly more upscale manner than the usual “grandma’s homemade fudge” found in U.S. gift shops. I may or may not have bought a lot of tea. And biscuits. And clotted cream fudge.
I can’t deny that 28% of me!
I popped into Hamley’s just to check out the Star Wars and Harry Potter displays, finding it, as one would expect, extremely full of excited children, toys whizzing above my head, and meltdown tears – the store was packed to the gills with weekend shoppers. It was about five minutes in that I was definitely done and ready to move on. I had to admit though – I was tempted by the soft, squishy Paddington bears.
We also visited the Portobello Road Market, on my request, and got to see the crowds and curiosities that was the weekend market. After weaving through the people lining the streets and flipping through a few interesting booths and tables, we came upon The Notting Hill Bookstore, also known as The Travel Book Co., from the Notting Hill film. I was glad to have re-watched it before visiting again! In my usual tradition of buying things I really don’t need more of, I picked up Bill Bryson’s Neither Here Nor There for reading as I continued my European adventures.
On our final morning in London, my sister and I tried to visit the Churchill War Rooms. We hadn’t booked tickets in advance, and my goodness, the queue was long! We tried a few times to visit, but the queue never seemed to lessen. Ah, well – something to do on another trip to London!
However, we did enjoy a beautiful morning in St. James’s Park. The water fowl, gamekeeper’s house, and the bridge looking toward Buckingham Palace – all of this yielded gorgeous views on our walk, and our amble was a perfect way to lose an hour or so. We had coffee and scones at a cafe in the middle of the park, watching intrepid pigeons and geese try to rough up visitors for some snacks.
I’ll just leave these garden pictures here.
As we wandered back to the flat in Kensington, we skimmed along the main edge of the park, walking up from the South Kensington Tube stop, past the V&A Museum and other grandiose buildings, then toward the Prince Albert Memorial.
I was loathe to think that this was my last day in London. There’s something about London that has completely wrecked my heart.
Yes, I might even be cheating on Oxford at this point.