Thursday, June 30, 2016

First full day: Am I officially British yet? (Part Two: Post Break)

Where was I?

Right...we headed back out of the house around 5:00ish after taking a quick break to change clothes (kids were cold) and use free bathrooms. Paying for public bathrooms is interesting to me. They attempted it in Seattle (perhaps other places as well?), but when we lived there back in 2004, people were using the bathrooms to lock themselves in and do drugs. I haven't really seen these take off in the states. Here, they are usually (so it seems) in train stations and cost like 30 pence.

Anyhow...we headed back out to explore. Decided to head towards Hyde Park and just take it from there. We near the park by the Marble Arch which was designed in 1827 by John Nash. It was meant to be the state entrance to the cour d'honneur of Buckingham Palace. In 1851, it was relocated to its current location on a traffic island at the junction of Oxford Street, Park Lane, and Edgware Road. Sadly, in the far right arch, a family was huddled, clearing living in this space. They had make shift beds set up and there were several adults bundled in the far end against the closed gate. People should not have to live this way. Society. Do better. No one should have to live this way. Ever.

We started our journey in Speaker's Corner at the northeast corner of the park, a place where open air public speaking, debate and discussion are allowed. There was nothing going on, so we kept moving. The park was huge, like Central Park huge (but a bit smaller). Lots of people biking, running, walking and hanging out. Beautiful waterways and kids' parks. Just overall a really great escape from the rush and bustle of the city.

The kids ran full steam ahead and Sky and I sauntered down the paths, taking in the views. At the end of one path, in the corner of the park, we came across a giant statue of Achilles.

The 18ft statue was installed by order of King George III to commemorate the soldier and politician, Arthur Wellesley, First Duke of Wellington. It was made from bronze captured in Wellington's campaigns in France. The head, interestingly, was modeled after Wellesley himself. I feel like you have to be a really big deal for a king to decide you needed to be commemorated via statue and that Achilles was the Greek god that best depicts your efforts during war.

After this epic walk, the kids were tired so we hopped back on the underground to head home, but with one quick pit stop. Apparently, and King's Cross Station there exists...wait for it...a Platform 9 ¾. We HAD to go. Had to. There was no way around it. When we arrived, there was a long line of people waiting to take their picture with a luggage carts plunged into a wall and a store dedicated to Harry and friends. The kids went wild.

It was a great day to end the day. We headed back home to the flat for some dinner and then an early bedtime (for everyone but me). I'm still not well adjusted to the time. As you can see, it is nearly 3am and I'm just posting this...


No comments:

Post a Comment