Given this was not our first time in London, I felt no anxiety to squeeze in as much as possible. We wandered freely just as we love to do at home and abroad. I took fewer photos, partly because of some rainy days (which my eyes loved) and partly because I just lived in the moment and felt the joy of walking with my beloved in an inspiring city on the other side of the world.
On the day we arrived we took a long stroll from our friends’ house through laneways, drenched gardens, along the river encroaching upon old homes, past horses, long grass, avoided puddles and absorbed the country-like suburbs before heading into the life of the city for people watching and dinner with family. If it weren’t for the cow patties and slippery mud, I might have skipped through Petersham Meadows! We took reprieve from the drizzle and consumed warming snacks at Petersham Nurseries. A ta-dah! moment as the sun broke through the clouds to show off its view as we stood at the top of Richmond Hill overlooking the River Thames.
Strolling the streets of the Monopoly board game, grabbing a drink in Mayfair, a glance at real estate windows (oh yes Mayfair is waaay out of our budget!). Ducking up laneways where bikes and people rule over cars. Finding hidden gems. Following our noses to the guarantee of good things.
Hyde Park, Regent’s Park and Regent’s Canal had me marvelling aloud at the plethora of urban greenery and walking spaces. Such stunning spaces that make me feel rejuvenated and free but still within reach of all the goodness of a city. The symmetry of planted trees and hedges that always tickle my fancy. The dogs who panted around our feet as they too enjoyed roaming. The cafes that promise warmth with hot chocolate and a place to sit and people/dog watch or write in a travel journal.
Ahhh, these days of walking reach deep and fill me with the glow of happiness, freedom and health. Walking in a city makes me feel intimate with it, and a piece always comes with me and becomes a part of my walks around my home city. That emotional and sensory connection is my travel souvenir, held in my heart. London, you’re in the greenest greens, the calming clouds, the warm drinks, the cosy cafes, the classic trench coats, gumboots, the bricks that tell stories & nurturing rains.