This weekend in London the weather has been beautiful! In fact it has been almost too warm. I think when the sun come out all the Londoners head to the parks and proceed to take off all their clothes. Saturday I wandered around Hyde Park. It was thick with sunbathers and footballers and frisbee throwers. Not that I can blame them for being outside; it was gorgeous weather. It's kind of shocking how many people live here in the city though. I can't imagine any of our parks in Salt Lake getting so crowded. And here EVERY park was full of people. There are a lot of parks in London, and they're big.
Anyway, Saturday morning Mike, Ben, Katherine and I rented paddle boats and went around our little lake in Regent's Park.
We had the option of a paddle boat or a rowboat. Mike and I started with a rowboat and quickly discovered that we both were really bad a rowing. Since we actually wanted to get out into the pond (and not waste the whole hour we had for the boats getting 20 ft away from the rental shack) we quickly exchanged our rowboat for a paddle boat. It was a very pleasant way to spend the morning. Regent's Park is so picturesque, and it was nice to see it all from a different perspective - on the boat.
Saturday afternoon I struck out by myself (I couldn't find anyone from my group after lunch) and headed to Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. I'm not really positive where one ends and the other starts. It's all one gigantic green space when you're there. Like I said, it was positively thick with people. I passed several hours wandering around people watching and hunting Peter Pan.
I also took a nap under a very lovely tree and snooped around Kensington Palace. I then headed out of the park and wandered around Kensington/Notting Hill (I walked up Notting Hill Gate, which is kind of the border between the two areas, as far as I can tell anyway). Off the main roads there were a bunch of adorable and colourful apartments. It was a really lovely neighborhood actually.
Anyway, I made my way over to Holland Park. Holland is a smaller park, but I think I like it better than Hyde. It's very shady and dense with trees and plants. It feels much more intimate. And by the time I got there, the weather had gotten really warm, so it was nice to wander around in the shade for a while. There is a theater in Holland Park too where they put on operas. I will have to see if I can catch one.
This is the little Japanese Garden in the center of Holland Park:
You can't see it in this picture, because I am a very clever photographer, but there were a bunch of people lazing about. There were "keep off the grass" signs all over the place, but anywhere that it could be argued that people could be allowed, there were people lazing.
By the time I was done wandering Holland Park I was rather exhausted. I had been walking for about 4 hours straight. So I jumped on a bus and went back to the college.
Saturday night I managed to have another adventure with a group of people. A handful of guys said they were going to a jazz club. They said it was right off a certain tube stop, there would be a live band, and there was no cover. I was still pretty exhausted from walking around all afternoon, but it sounded fun so I allowed myself to get talked into going. Well, it took two trains to get to the stop. Once there we had to walk about 20 minutes before we found the place we were looking for. The club, as it turned out, was not free (there was a 9£ cover), it was fancy dress (people were in full out 1920's costume), and there was no band, just a DJ playing jazz tunes. If we had been more prepared, it might have been fun to go to this club. Most of the people I was with were dressed really casually. Plus none of us really wanted to pay a cover.
At that point we all decided to head back at least to the area near the college. By the time we got back to the tube station (we just made it before the tube stopped running), I was falling asleep on my feet. When we arrived back I fell into bed and slept.
Yesterday was another beautiful day. It was a pretty relaxed day too. I walked up to Primrose Hill, just north of Regent's Park, with Cameron and Matt. There was a little street fair going on in the area. It was kind of fun to walk through that. I bought some fudge at one of the booths (Rum & Raisin fudge, Mom. It's so rich!) and we all three got Churros. They were super fresh, we literally watched them being made, and really good. Then we walked up the hill. From the top of Primrose you can see a view of most of London. It was very impressive. Apparently (if you don't mind getting up really early and hopping the fence because the park is not open yet) that is a really nice place to watch the sunrise. I believe it. It would be really cool to see the sun rise over London.
Today is another not-much-going-on day. I'm planing on going swing dancing tonight so I don't want to spend all day walking around. It's just as well though because this is a heavy class week. I'm using the afternoon to get a little ahead with the reading and to write a short paper we have due on Wednesday. Now that I mention it, I suppose I should get to it. This blog has probably distracted me from working long enough.
And, of course, I have more pictures you can look at if you want.