Travels with Dick and Karen

London, Part 4

Bus to north of Hyde park, walk the Canal to Camden, return via Regents Park, British Library, British Museum & Soho area

It's going to be a long day of walking so we take the bus a bit north to save a couple of miles. london

Standing at the bus stop across Brompton Road from Harrod's, we discovered this chunk of art: a stack of thick glass plates with an enclosed drop of red.

The building it's in front of had cleared out all of their tenants during the past year, so it may be an abandoned piece! (Dick is relieved that we didn't discover that until preparing these pages just in case someone thought of carting it home). We couldn't find the name of the artist or name of the piece.


Bus 414 takes us around Hyde Park, up Edgware Road and then left to reach Little Venice, a branch pond for the canal system. The canals are now used for recreation rather than commerce. One of the reasons they didn't get filled in and paved is because the government used the right of way to run utilities. This provided enough inertia that a strong preservation movement had time to develop.

We're setting off to walk the north-east branch called Regent's Canal towards Regent Park (part of the south branch shows up in part 5 as we exit Paddington station) london
Very picturesque and filled with canal boats, many being lived in. london
The streets cross above, and we walk below...   london
Some sections don't have any mooring points.  london

The clouds and reflections were wonderful

There is even a floating house for birds. london
london Tunnels
A boat returning a load of tourists from the zoo. london
Somehow it was fairly easy to tell when the moored boats were live-aboards... london
...with "mod-cons" (modern conveniences). london
As we neared Regents Park we hit a section with quite visible Fancy houses on the other side, and on our side was suspiciously groomed wilderness. london


Then the banks transitioned to the wild of the park

These marks in the bridge column are from years of barge ropes london
another boat full of tourists london
Half-way through the park, the London Zoo occupies the southern bank. We take the opportunity to hike north, away from the zoo and canal to climb the west side of ... london
Primrose Hill... a pleasant grassy expanse with a view back to the city. london
Then it's back down with a drift to the east to come back to the canal... london

and more serene walking (with only the occasional bicyclist)

Does anyone but the sign writer consider a $25/day fine to park in downtown London a threat? london
Perhaps a pirate attack would be more useful london
We finally get to the Camden locks/Camden market and drop in for lunch london
Camden Market is a densely-packed warren of tent-covered food stalls of all descriptions and nationalities. We'd already picked up some Philippinean dishes, and sat down here. A vibrant young woman was enthusiastically hawking Argentinian empanadas, which brought back memories of our trip there over 20 years ago. london
Back before petrol-powered boats they were towed by horses. Camden is where the animals were stabled and cared for. london
A one- (detailed) frieze lesson in the care and handling of tow horses london

The below-ground stable area is now home to a chaotic street market.
Including a used book shop...


Emerging from the market a few books richer/heavier, we paused at Camden Locks to watch some boats pass through

We finally rise back up to street-level and walk a bit of Camden High Street london
Unlike the rest of staid London, this street has exuberant building attire.
(if you look closely at these two scenes, you'll notice that almost 50% of the storefronts are tattoo parlours)
(and half of the others are T-shirts to hide them) 
We retreat into Regents Park. Many of the parks have sub-sections remembering past royalty's love of the space or the gardens. This statue is in Queen Mary's Gardens. london
As is this topiary london
other areas are less formal london
or formal in a different way london
At the southwest edge of the park is Baker Street, site of the Sherlock Holmes Museum.
The "Blue Dot" on the 2nd floor is the London County Council's marker for historic sites where people were born, domiciled or died.
Memorabilia for the discerning collector.  london
Adjacent to the Museum we find other businesses trading on the visitor's memories. (Mrs. Hudson was his houskeeper's name, but she didn't run a restaurant) london
Even the dry cleaner across the street claims famous patronage.  london
And, two doors down from the museum, a Beatles store(?) london
Ah, well, we resume our walk southward. Heading east a bit we pass a school and were amused by the scooter-park. The sidewalk must be a dangerous spot when school lets out. london
Apparently the parents need a bit of education/reminding, too. london
We reach our next goal: the British National Library. Newton is measuring Dick's head.
(Old engineer's dictum: F=ma
... and "you can't push a string". (Newton's unwritten 5th law?))
Sort of the equivalent to the US Library of Congress it holds all works published in the UK. But it also serves as storage of many older historic works . Here's a model of the deep vaults.

A display room (no photos allowed) featured a Gutenburg Bible, many original manuscripts by famous composers (Handel's Messiah, works by Purchell, Bach, Mozart, Gluck, Puccini, Elgar, Debussey, Bartok (to name a few)). A display of a few illuminated manuscripts and a wealth of their printed equivalent as literacy and reading became wide-spread... and even then half the room was empty as they were renovating it.

Coming back out to breathe, we found grand old St. Pancras Hotel. london
And gardens even where there is no soil. london
Walking south we reach the British Museum. london
Inside, its relatively-recently roofed central courtyard melds together several buildings. For more of its collections, mostly archeology, see part 7 london
Just steps away down Charing Cross Road is the most famous (at least to us) science fiction bookstore in England: Forbidden Planet. london
Then we walk through the theatre district london
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will be opening on July 30th, 2016,
with the book of the script being released the next day. 
And the small Chinatown, centered on Gerrard Street london
which has 3 major gates within a couple of blocks of each other. london
as well as other artwork london
We pass Carnaby Street, happening place of the 60's london
To find the home of Liberty fabrics (which has been on Karen's bucket list for a long time). Unfortunately, it was a bit disappointing: all of the displayed fabric patterns Karen liked were "last season" and no longer in stock! london
From upstairs we had a good historically-tinged view of the street. london
As we neared Hyde Park, we stopped by Hamilton's Gallery on the last day of its Guido Mocafico photography exhibit (if you want an array of gorgeous jellyfish for your wall they sell limited editions of his prints). He went to museums all over the world taking pictures of Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka's glass models of invertebrates (see part 7 for our photo of one of their glass models from the British Natural History Musesum). We eagerly await publication of his book. london

Speaking of things scientific, the next stop is Burlington House, home of the various Royal Academies


We were able to visit the Geological Society london
Which had a very small display of rocks in an impressive library. london

Burlington house is also home to the Royal Academy of Art.

Initially we thought this was a smoke stack or something similar...


... until it started to move.





Next door was Burlington Arcade, an enclosed walkway of small, luxury shops. It is one of four similar we walked through when we tripped over them.

Quoth a guidebook: "Built for Lord Cavendish in 1819 to prevent garbage from being thrown into his garden. It is still patrolled by beadles who make sure an atmosphere of refinement is maintained."
Luckily, we weren't spotted...

With interesting jewelry (at only slightly astronomical prices) london
and displays. (Rolex, anyone?) london
We had lunch at Selfridge's, a famous department store ranked a bit below Harrod's. The view reminded us of the Parisian stores' restaurants, as did the Crêpes we were able to enjoy. london
Back down on the street, we never knew what sort of building ... london
... would appear ... london
... in the next block. london
Or what sort of strange mode of transport.
(A Peel P-50 from 1962)
You'll never guess whose doorstep it was parked upon.
a cyclist who wants to be sure you see him london

We close with another department store display: the clock strikes 3


and the men go back into the houses on the wall of Fortnum and Mason london
Their display windows were a celebration Alice in Wonderland.
We'll let this photo serve as a wonderful way to close this section.

Part 5: Further afield by rail: Reading, Kew

1: Local area 2: Thames river trip 3: To the Tower 4: Canal to Soho 5: Further afield by rail: Reading, Kew
6: Chelsea Gardens
7: More Museum To Iceland  

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all text and images copyright Karen and Dick Seymour 2016,
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