Monday, September 5, 2011

Regent's Park

After weeks of cool, rainy weather, we finally had a glorious 76-degree day on Friday.  How did I spend it?  Doing laundry, mostly.  So sad, but my clothes dried very quickly on the clothesline!  I did go for a walk in the late afternoon and ran a couple errands in the town center, and when Josh came home from work, we walked to Nando's for dinner just to take advantage of the lovely evening.

The weather was equally lovely on Saturday, so we studied our London map over breakfast and decided to spend the day exploring the area around Regent's Park, since we hadn't been there yet.  We started at the Baker Street Tube station, which is decorated with silhouettes of Sherlock Holmes.  Until then, I hadn't really made the connection between Baker Street and the fictional detective, but right down the street from the station was the Sherlock Holmes Museum.
Sherlock Holmes Museum
It even had a fake historical marker claiming that Sherlock Holmes once lived here at 221b Baker Street.  Oddly, 221b was located in between 237 and 241 Baker Street.  Hmmm...
Sherlock Holmes lived here?
We chose not to visit the museum, but I couldn't resist taking a peek inside the Beatles store next door.
All you need is Beatles merchandise
Fortunately, I was disinclined to want to carry anything around with me for the rest of the day, so we just took a look around at the walls of t-shirts, refrigerator magnets, and posters, and then headed down the street in search of lunch. 

A couple blocks away, I started jumping up and down and pointed excitedly across the street.  "Chipotle!"  Now, back home I maybe ate at Chipotle four or five times a year, but there's something about the scarcity of decent Mexican food in London that makes you CRAVE it.  And since Chipotle is a franchise, there's a good chance that the food is going to be exactly what you expect, unlike all the other "Mexican" and "Tex-Mex" places I've tried.  In fact, I had heard that the husband of one of the ladies I had met through the AWC was responsible for bringing Chipotle to London, but I thought there was only one in the West End, so I was surprised to see another one in this neighborhood.
It's come to this:  We were excited to eat at Chipotle.
As we headed towards the door, we were greeted by an employee who asked for our invitation.  What?  It turned out this Chipotle was so new it wasn't officially open until Monday.  It was only open on Saturday for a "friends & family" event.  Josh volunteered that I knew the wife of the owner.  Of course, I'd only met her once and just knew her first name, but when I mentioned it, the woman at the door brightened up and invited us to come in and enjoy lunch on the house.  (But politely asked us not to invite all our friends to come for free food.)   The only difference I could see in the food was that they used whole wheat tortillas, but otherwise, my barbacoa soft tacos were just as tasty as I remembered.  I think I need to lobby for them to open one in Wimbledon...
Marylebone High Street
After lunch, we wandered around the neighborhood a bit and then walked up the Marylebone high street back towards the park.  Marylebone ("Marley-bone") is one of the swankier residential areas of central London, which was reflected in the variety of high street shops and the architecture.  As we were walking past a large churchyard, we were drawn in by this sign.
The WHAT market?
We didn't see any cabbages for sale, but there were plenty of frocks -- both new and vintage -- as well as baked goods, crafts, jewellery, and prepared foods at this little outdoor market.
Where are the cabbages?
 It was a good thing we had just eaten lunch, as there were many tempting treats.  Instead, we browsed briefly and then continued towards the park, passing quite a large historic marker on the way.
Dickens lived here
 We entered Regent's Park from the south, through the York gate, and followed the path to the circular area known as Queen Mary's Gardens
Regent's Park map
 As expected, the park was filled with people enjoying the rare, sunny day, but the park is so huge that it didn't feel crowded.  The gardens were lovely, and we enjoyed the scent of late-season roses in bloom.

I liked the name of this one...

Impressive delphiniums!
Nice use of color!
 We headed north through the gardens and across the boating pond, which was full of the usual assortment of waterfowl.
Boating pond
 At the north side of the park, we crossed over the Regent's Canal...
Regent's Canal
 And walked to the top of Primrose Hill, which has a spectacular view of London.  In the picture below, you can see BT Tower, the London Eye, and Parliament (on the right).  The net in the foreground is the aviary at the London Zoo, which is in the park.
View from Primrose Hill
There were lots of people picnicking and playing sports in the big grassy fields at the bottom of the hill.  And probably an equal number enjoying the view from the top of the hill.

 We stopped for (iced!) tea and carrot cake at a nearby cafe and then walked along the canal towards Little Venice.  As we passed the zoo, we caught a glimpse of a few animals, including this warthog.
 We had come this way by canal boat back in April, but on foot we were able to get a better look at some of the huge mansions that overlooked the canal.
We'd be willing to live here...
Water taxi
Minaret of the London Central Mosque
Many people live in canal boats that are permanently moored in the canal.  Walking past them feels oddly intrusive, especially as many residents were having barbecues on the path.   Must be an interesting neighborhood...
Canal house boats
After wandering around a bit more, we ended up in St. John's Wood, another affluent neighborhood that has a large American population.
St. John's Wood
By then it was nearly 7 pm, so we had a light mezze dinner at a Lebanese restaurant, and then stopped for gelato on our way to the Tube station.  After all that walking, we were happy to flop on the couch for the rest of the evening.  It was nice to spend the day enjoying the sunshine, for a change.

No comments:

Post a Comment

To prevent spam and other inappropriate messages, all comments are moderated before being posted.