Monday, March 21, 2016

Daffodils, birds and spies.

Yesterday was a lazy the morning I sat in Costa coffee in Golders Green (close to where I am staying in Hampstead Garden Suburb) catching up with my travel journal with a flat white coffee.  I then took the bus over to Hampstead to visit Waterstones book shop (a huge bookshop chain over here) as I love love love the bookshops over here.  I am such a book geek but no buying for me...yet....too early in the trip to start loading myself down.  I then came back here stopping to pick up a sandwich and some fruit.   And here I stayed - napping on and off.  I was tired!

Today I was back at it.  I decided to finish the walk I had started on Saturday but first I fueled myself up with another one of Christine's English breakfasts.  I got the little H2 bus that goes by the house and then transferred onto the number 82 staying on until almost the very end.  I started the walk where I had left off...well close enough....  I headed up Gloucester place and walked over to Constitution Hill through a subway...meaning a tunnel for pedestrians.  Don't ever call the London Underground train system the subway or you will be in trouble.  It is called the Underground or more often the Tube - named for the shape of the tunnels.  Anyway here are some of the murals to be found underneath.  I don't recall having been here before but then again I probably have and forgotten! (60 plus forgetfulness)

Wellington Arch

Duke of Wellington statue

More daffodils!

I then walked beside Green Park and past Buckingham Palace where the tourists were jammed up against the rails waiting for the Changing of the Guard.  I've only seen the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace once which was my first trip over.  I managed to be in the front row but I remember being shoved right into the railings by the crowd behind me more than the actual ceremony itself.  Being a little prairie chicken on her first trip abroad I was terrified. Back then I didn't have as much padding as I do now!!! 

I then plunked myself down on a bench in St James's Park - my favourite place in London.  I love to sit and watch the world go by.  The variety of birds there are amazing...everything from blue herons to black coots to the gangly pelicans.  (no pelicans today)

Goodies for the gang - there was a squirrel involved at one point.   Why does this guy remind me of Roy Cropper in "Coronation Street"? 


I've been coming to this park for over forty years now and this is the first time ever I've seen police officers patrolling...first I saw a police car driving down the path below then two sets of officers on horseback who greeted each other as they passed.  I guess with the Easter holiday approaching and loads of tourist and residents out and about the terror alert is sky high. 

I just can't get enough of this will be seeing more of it trust me. 

The Horse guards had done their thing at Whitehall (I prefer this changing of the guard over the one at Buckingham Palace) and were heading off...I wasn't about to chase after them but I did catch the pooper scooper that followed them...I felt like saying "go into St James're needed there"!!

Trafalgar Square was heaving with people so I took myself over to St Martins in the Field church and went downstairs to their wonderful Cafe in the Crypt where I had some leek and potato soup.  The sun was in and out like a yoyo and I was feeling a bit chilled.   From there I walked down the Strand to Temple tube station where the walk  officially ended.  I then walked back to Covent Garden. 

This is a "ghost" underground station as in closed. I love the design.

My mecca in London - Stanford's travel bookshop.  Everything the traveler would ever need or want.  I think I actually drool when I am in there.  I got myself the Berlitz guide to Slovenia - I will be heading there on Thursday!  I highly recommend Berlitz guides as they are full of information and even better fit in your pocket.  And they are a lovely momento of your trip. 

Covent Garden tube station 

Covent Garden market...from the 1600's this was a fruit and vegetable market.  It moved out to East London in the 70's.  Now the Covent Garden area is full of theatres, shops, the Royal Opera House and depending on the day vendors sell antiques and crafts.  One of the fasteners on my North Face backpack broke so I took it in to the Covent Garden North Face store and they replaced it for me for free so that was great.   Somehow in the last couple of days I broke it and as it was the waist belt I need it to help balance the weight.

I had noticed a James Bond exhibit at the London film museum when I had gone past earlier so I headed back there.   A fellow in his 40's was coming out and I asked him if it was worth it.  He gave a huge smile and said "It was brilliant and I would have paid double but then I am a Bond fanatic".  He looked like a little boy with a new toy he was that excited. Sold! So I bought a ticket.  It was good but I sure wouldn't have paid double.  I have recently started a "project" of rewatching all the James Bond movies - in order - I am up to "Goldeneye".  So it was fun to see the vehicles used in some of the movies and I had to have my picture taken beside a vehicle and a mock up of Bond...of course!!!

I had a craving for some nice fat greasy English chips so tried to locate a fish and chip place I had been to in the area a few years back.  Well I came upon a shop that sold Portugese custard tarts and well.... as I stumble out with my belly full what do I see but the fish and chip shop I had wanted to visit right next door!  Ah well, tomorrow night I will be going to a theatre nearby so I will treat myself to fish and chips there.  I then went to Marks & Spencers and got myself a sandwich.   I only eat a proper meal out every third day or so.  The cost is so high here and I do enjoy the sandwiches and salads from Marks & Spencers so trust me I am not depriving myself!.  Once I am back at Claudia's at the end of the month and have access to a kitchen  I will once again be buying my ready meals there as well...when you travel for over two months you can't afford to be eating out all the time.  Especially over here where it is so expensive. 

I then got the number 13 bus back to Golders Green.  The bus went through Piccadilly Circus, along Regent St and crowded Oxford St.  I never get tired of sitting on the top of a double decker bus in the front seat.  I have the luxury of time so I prefer the bus when it is convenient.

Another good day in London!

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