Tuesday, September 15, 2015

London trip 2015: Day Three 23 June

Heather and I said goodbye to the lovely seaside and to quiet small town England life and hello to busy, always on the go London.

It is quite the contrast.  In Paignton, a quaint place to "pop up for the week-end," there were couples young and old and everywhere in between strolling along, holding hands; loads of families on a mini-break; restaurants that closed their kitchens at 7:00 pm and shops that closed at 6:00.  Everything was casual and leisurely.  Most people were English.

London, however, is always on the go and full of smartly-dressed people rushing from here to there.  Few families are seen out on the streets -- I imagine most of them live further out and get everywhere by car.  Walking the streets, it was rare to hear an English accent; I found it to be rather like Disney World.  Shops and restaurants held later hours.  And everywhere I went I was being shouted at by advertisements.

Heather and I had a room at Durrants Hotel.  "Our" tube station, our hub if you like, was Baker Street.  Durrants Hotel is about half a mile down the road from Baker Street tube station and lies on George Street between Baker Street and Marylebone (pronounced "Mar-lee-bone").

It's a bit posh.  The porter carried our luggage to our room for us -- I awkwardly tipped him, probably over-tipped him as England is not a tipping-society like the US.    The room key had a big paperweight on it, and Heather and I joked that if someone tried to harm us on the street, we could always use our room key as a weapon, though we discovered later, the idea was to leave your key with the porter so you wouldn't have to lug it around.  There were two twin beds separately made, but oddly they were pushed together; a little Ricky and Lucy.  The room was fairly small, but comfortable enough.  There was only one outlet in the room, so Heather and I had to take turns charging our electronics, and we had to do without the radio.  We had our own plug adapters, but the hotel had extra, if needed, at the front desk.  The hotel seemed a very gracious place.  The staff would often seem to be there one minute and the next vanish, and it was rare we saw staff in the halls.  I decided they must have "servant stairs" that they used.

Heather and I decided to explore the area a bit, grab some take-away and maybe enjoy it in the park.  We got our take-away (carry out or "to go" for we Americans) and walked up Baker Street.  We passed Baker Street station heading for Regents Park and along the way located the Sherlock Holmes Museum, which we would be visiting the next morning.

On my last trip to London, now ten and a half years ago, I'd visited Kensington Park and Hyde Park, both of which are lovely, but I hadn't made it farther north.

Upon my first trip to Regents Park, I fell in love, and now it is one of my favourite places on earth along with Camp Accovac in Clifton Forge, VA and Scotland (the whole country -- if Scotland were a man, I'd marry him).

Regents Park is large: there are ponds with marsh birds, swans and geese, there are the Queen Mary gardens that were full of roses, fountains, there's a university, a restaurant or two, a cricket field -- cricket the game, not the frightening bug -- and the London Zoo.

Heather and I were so enthralled with just the little space where we ate our dinner, we decided Regents Park would be a good place to kill some time the next day between our visit to the museum and our ride to Leicester (pronounced "Lester") Square for our London walking tour.

Oh to have a grand, peaceful park such as this one near where I live.

Enjoying our take-away and watching dog-walkers, joggers and some geese:

(You'll notice both Heather and I are in tank tops.  Heather was kind enough to let me borrow hers.  The whole week was unexpectedly warmish-hot, except for 30 minutes on Sunday.)

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