Sometime over the course of burying myself in coursework I forgot that my favorite season was happening. London is a marvelous place to be in the fall -- the scattered parks blaze in fiery puffs against monotone greys and beige of the surrounding architecture, and the wind seems to urge you into every cafe for that perfect, strangely comfortable feeling of a porcelain mug between your fingers. Granted, most of this can be found in Seattle as well, but if there's one thing London does better than perhaps anywhere it's its parks. So I took this Sunday off, put on my boots and mittens, and took off in the direction of Regent's Park.
Walking through there again made me realize I'd forgotten to upload half the pictures I'd taken during my last few days at the hostel -- I must've gotten distracted with decorating my dorm then. Anyway, many of them featured Regent's Park, so I'll try and work them in here along with the fall stuff for comparison...
First off, Regent's Park is HUGE. I mean, there's a lot of stuff in this city that's huge, but it literally took me about an hour just to trek from one end to the other. (Add 40 mins from and to the hall, plus hill time, plus a coffee break and you've got about a 4 hour adventure!) My destination was Primrose Hill, a decent distance from the Baker Street entrance (way south). Here's a map, just in case you care:
On my way I passed through UCL:
|Muh school! Always reminds me of Suzzallo.|
The building in the photo above was apparently once the hospital where George Orwell died. Ironically, it is now where I have Modern Lit.
Entering Regent's Park I already knew I was in for a gorgeous walk...
Coming here in September was like entering a crayon box:
...and October felt the same, except someone had removed all the blues, purples, and pinks:
The summer roses were headed into hibernation, though this little guy was still holding strong:
Sometimes in summer I have this paradoxical feeling of everything being dead. Fall is like the last great breath before the sleep of winter, and it always fills me with a sense of energy that summer just isn't capable of. Compare:
|summer dead lake|
|autumn blazing tree|
|summer quiet brooding leaves|
|autumn tree armies in full combat|
|summer heron, lonely|
|autumn pigeon friends, munchin' berries|
I moved through the park, across the ginormous soccer fields, through a leafy forest, past this adorable gingerbread house:
It's not very fantastic at first glance. In fact, it hardly seems like much of a hill at all. But once you get up there you can see the whole London horizon...
It felt like being at Gasworks, in a way.
I camped out up here for a little while, then it started to mizzle, so I continued north and found the most charming cafe haven of my life. French pastry shops, Italian sandwich shops, Limonella-something-or-other for the fancy business suits, a Russian tea shop, a bookshop espresso.... just row after row of appetizing little eateries. Unfortunately I got so excited by all the places that I couldn't decide where to go, and I felt so ridiculous by the time I'd gone down one side, up the other, and arrived back where I started that I decided I'd just not decide, and press on.
I distracted my stomach and my cold fingers by oogling lovely array of townhouses and flats around here. If I could choose a place to live in London it would definitely be here. It felt like I'd entered Mary Poppins, and I was just in the midst of imagining an alternative life where I was a rich something-or-other with a well-groomed cat and fresh flowers in my dining room every day, who was baking pumpkin bread and buying candy by the cartload for trick-or-treaters (This would be the house that hosted a neighborhood Halloween party every year and where all the kids knew the best candy was at, of course) -- when I happened upon this church:
It was so picturesque, but I couldn't help thinking how close it was to Halloween and kept expecting a headless horseman to lurking just beyond that gate. It was awfully quiet around there for a Sunday *shiver*.
I never found a place that served chai lattes, though I did happen across a Whole Foods! I got so excited for this ounce of home that I raced inside, determined to find one of those silly iced pumpkin-shaped cookies or some other Halloween sugarbomb for my walk home, but there weren't any to be found. This Whole Foods was about a tenth of the size of the one in Northgate, so I settled on a bran muffin and stopped for tea back in the Regent's Park cafe.
It always feels so wonderful to get out! I'm always much more willing to sit down and edit an essay after spending 4 hours all to myself outside. Still, work is calling, and today it's back to the books before Halloween celebration at a club in Picadilly. I've been to this place once before, and though I'm not much of a club fan, it was pretty fantastic -- there was this one room that looked like Sherlock Holmes' office and had all these leather sofas you could relax in. Another level has those Dr. Evil (Men in Black?) egg chairs with these creep-o mannequins hanging off the ceiling above you. Hopefully I manage to keep myself awake long enough to enjoy it, cause we all know I'm a grandma when it comes to going out for drinks.
Best wishes and Happy Halloween to all! I've really been enjoying stalking errybuddys costume pics on the FB.
And after this (cause there's no Thanksgiving speed bump on this side of the Atlantic) it's a straight shot to CHRISTMAS!!!!
Even the park knows it.