I’m determined to finish my show-off holiday posts because I know that despite best intentions, I won’t make a photo book or any other record of my brilliant fortnight in London (and The Continent). So, belated, but done. Here are my London highlights (which also include what I ate, what I drank, what I bought and where I got my Windsor-fix).
10. Hyde Park – London’s parks and gardens are spectacular. Although many claim they are at their best in summer, I like my view uncluttered by winter-white-flesh-sunbathing-in-weak-sunlight. Instead, bare trees and crocuses and snowdrops popping up through the grass is British-park-perfection.
9. London Eye – it’s good fun. I went at dusk, just as the lights of Westminster came on.
7. Victoria & Albert Museum – So. Much. To. See.
6. Kew Gardens – for all the reasons I loved Hyde Park and many more. We were there for hours and saw just a fraction of the gardens. My favourite spot was the astonishingly-unphotogenic-but-IRL-amazingly-beautiful Alpine rockery garden.
5. Part of the reason for my trip was to see my friend perform in Fulham Opera’s production of The Ring Cycle. Emily’s performance was brilliant. She is a beautiful singer.
4. The ‘Monopoly-ness’ of it all. And the Underground (I get jealous of public transport systems in other cities).
3. Matilda the Musical – you can just see the suspended letters and books that make up the spectacular set in my contraband photo. Based on Roald Dahl’s book Matilda, this musical exceeded all of my expectations. I’m still singing about revolting children.
2. St. Paul’s Cathedral – for the view of London (the eleventy-billion narrow, winding steps you have to climb are worth it). Click the pano to enlarge and you’ll spot the seemingly tiny Globe Theatre on the banks of the Thames. And lots of bright red buses.
1. My very first day in London, spent at Tooting Common. You probably won’t find Tooting Common listed in any guidebooks because it’s simply a local park. But I visited with my very dear friend, Steph, and her puppy, Leo (he’s a bit camera-shy). And we walked and talked and talked. Start out as you mean to continue, I say – we spent the next two weeks talking and talking (as well as quite a bit of walking). I miss not having Steph in the same country as me but we always pick up where we left off – time and distance does little to true friendship.
If you do happen to visit Tooting Common, make sure you stop by the Tooting Bec Lido. Built in 1906, and renovated in the 1930s, the Lido retains many original Deco features. I’m fascinated by the British tradition of pond swimming and outdoor baths (lidos) – I guess the Australian equivalent is sea baths (of which there are not enough of in Victoria). If I’d had my bathers with me, I would have joined the ice-breakers at Tooting Bec Lido.