Welcome back! When we last saw our heroines, they were flat-out knackered and collapsed once more in their beds in the Regency Hotel in South Kensington, their bellies full of delicious Indian food.
My sleep was whacked out for the whole week, really. What with jet lag, general exhaustion, and head colds galore, there was a tremendous amount of napping involved in just getting though any given day.
So I was entirely unsurprised to find myself awake well before dawn on our second day in London, peering out at a thoroughly grey sunrise that crept stealthily along the rooftops of sleepy South Kensington.
Rather than just lie there, waiting for the day to begin, I bestirred myself to get dressed and meander around the corner to the nearest Caffe Nero for a cup of coffee and a croissant. I nabbed myself a seat by the window so I could all the more easily watch well-dressed Londoners step briskly down the pavement, in their nattily tied scarves of many colors.
While I sat there, sipping cappuccino and munching a pastry, the cafe started playing the soundtrack to The King’s Speech, which I thought was a very nice touch indeed.
As if to make me feel even more at home, the Times was running a front page article on Dooce. I found it oddly comforting to discover her charming face smiling back at me from the newsprint that morning.
After a cappuccino or three, I headed back to the hotel to see if Melissa was up and ready to face the day. Once we were both well sorted and girded for a long day of tramping about, we made our way up the block, past the V&A and a few blocks further north to the southwesternmost corner of Hyde Park. Or, technically I suppose, Kensington Gardens.
In any case, once we arrived at the edge of the park, we were boldly greeted by the least subtle mourning statuary ever, the Royal Albert Memorial.
It’s hard for me to convey to you the scale of this thing, so I won’t even try. Suffice it to say, Victoria clearly really liked the guy. Poor old thing.
From there, we set off to walk the length of Hyde Park, sticking pretty much to the path just south of the Serpentine. We kept looking around for all the fashionable people in their curricles, phaetons, and four-in-hands, but the ton must have all been having a lie-in that morning. Alas.
At the far end of Hyde Park, we found the most remarkable gate, featuring an updated version of the royal coat of arms, sculpted larger than life and looming over a very busy intersection. We scampered across several lanes of traffic to get a closer look.
Needless to say, we loved it.
We walked around Apsley House, but, finding it closed, walked right back around to the gate at Hyde Park Corner and headed back in the direction of Kensington Gardens. It was still early enough that we would be able to grab another quick cup of coffee before meeting our Very Special Tour Guide in Piccadilly, so we took the more direct route back to the hotel.
OK, maybe not so direct a route, since we paused for pictures of Fairfax with His People, and also traipsed down many a side path to explore some of the more tucked-away of the area’s residential squares and mews.