Monday, June 6, 2016

Thoughts on Adventure - Installment 2

Day 2 - Impressions 
The weather doesn't know what the hell it's doing.  Pouring down rain, wind, cold, sunny, 70s, sweating...  all in one day.  Hell, all in about 4hrs.
Edgware Rd -  lined with heavenly smelling middle eastern restaurants, all with tables outside under awnings.  Only men at the tables, smoking, eating... watching.  No women.  Cultural?  Or smoking ordinance?  You decide.  (I passed down this street later in the day and there were women at the tables.  I was probably just too early.)
Accidental find:  Churchill's residence - at the corner of Edgware Rd & Bayswater Rd.

Churchill's residence

Marble Arch at the corner of Hyde Park.  Huge statues/artworks... Pigeons. RAIN.  
(Camera didn't work - it was after this that I switched & just used my phone as a camera.)
Drenched.  Opted for a chocolate croissant & tea in the café.  Shared table, but no talking.
At the next table a young man was tutoring an elegant young woman with shocking RED hair in languages. (Polish? French? English?)  An artistic looking woman walked by with turquoise blue hair.
 HYDE PARK in the rain!
My first  Magpie

Queen Elizabeth gates - stunning                 Wellington Arch & statues - imposing
RAF Bomber Command memorial -  fittingly somber & emotional  (I've lost the photos)
Walking thru Green Park - not paying attention to the heavily fortified wall (cleverly disguised) across the street - bought a (horrible) sandwich from the vendor & looked up .... at BUCKINGHAM PALACE.
O. M. G.    Magnificent. 
Buckingham Palace

Walking down Constitution street - Drum corps from behind the gates at Clarence House & St James Palace.  I couldn't see them, but I could hear them.  
St James Park -  achingly beautiful... everything is blooming 
Entrance - St James Park

St James Park

Birdkeeper's cottage - St James Park

From the bridge - St James Park

Churchill's War Rooms (not a replica) - everything I wantd & more.  
(The sense of urgency and a sort of close-quarters-intimacy is prevalent.  The only thing similar I could compare is probably a submarine.  A friend looked at the picture below of the green doors that say 10 Downing Street.  He asked if there was a passage behind the doors?  I said No. This *was* 10 Downing St for the duration.   OH, he replied.)

Thousands of students everywhere - speaking every language.

Young hopefuls at entrance to 10 Downing

Entrance to 10 Downing St

The Cenotaph

Memorial to Women of WWII

Cleopatra's Needle
Trafalgar square & Nelson's Column...crawling with people like ants
Trying to find Temple Church (built by the Knights Templar) I found instead...  The Thames. The London Eye.  Millennium Bridge.  Cleopatra's Needle.

The Thames

Mistake - what did I buy at the War Rooms?  Books.  What did I have to carry for the rest of the day?  Damned books.  My arm was about to fall off.


  1. Yes, the war rooms are great. There are fewer people around now, of course, than 20 years ago, but when I first came I could still tell people's lives were impacted by living through a war and being bombed, also the rationing years that followed. Green - I didn't get used to it for so long, it being brown a lot in Oklahoma. People watching is a great hobby - and London is a great place to do it!

  2. I completely understand not being used to the green - it's mostly brown/dirty faded green in N TX.
    I volunteer with a WWII museum, and have met so many WWII vets/survivors and/or those who grew up during that time. Yes, their lives were severely impacted, often for the rest of their lives. What I wasn't expecting to see was the real evidence of the bombing in so many places. The antiquity of the city itself. It's something we don't have here, where we consider anything over 100yrs *sooo old!*

  3. On the other hand, my Dad served in Italy and mom's cousin Belmont in England. Whenever they talked about their war experience it sounded more like the best holiday they ever had. It was for both of them the only time they ever traveled abroad. They never talked about death or fear or anything like it, just the pretty girls, the food, the excitement of it all. I'm sure they risked their lives - my Dad flew reconnaissance missions and those planes were priority targets to take out - but they had a much different perspective to those here in England being bombed and threatened with invasion - if not starvation.