Tuesday, 9 June 2015
Turns out we are B people; turns out B on this train is the quiet car…nice! The train-cars on this long-distance route (London–Edinburgh, I think) have alphabetical designations A through F, plus K and I forget what else. The Guru found mid-day, off-time tix for us for £13 apiece each way, London–York—a great deal!
While northbound our car, and I think the train in general, was lightly occupied; southbound, today, there were only a few empty seats. We got lucky, and only had companions at our table for about a half-hour of the ride, an older couple en route to visit their daughter in Sardinia for a month….
We’re staying in a “new” neighborhood, near Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. They are one contiguous green on my smartphone map with two named zones, confusing…plus I found this on an official website: “Kensington Gardens covers 242 acres and was originally part of Hyde Park.”* We strolled in both, after an early dinner….
We started at the Italian Gardens, where we began to discover heavy use across the park at this hour by Iranian(?) couples and small groups. The women tended to accent black with florescent or bright orange, e.g., in sneakers. Is this some kind of nationalism? A signal of availability? Mystery….
This Royal Park celebrates many royals, including this relief of Queen Victoria in the Italian zone. The quoted price of making the stone sculptures in the Italian Garden was around £200, if I remember correctly. Not sure what that is in modern £s.
Check out this giant installation honoring a gold-crusted Prince Albert. He’s seated in a style we saw the Romans use, and I assume they borrowed/imitated from the Greeks. For the Romans anyway, seated on a special chair was a big deal for the leaders. I don’t know if it carried more status than seated on a horse, or if it was a different connotation entirely (e.g., referring to non-military leadership?).
Anyway, the sheer extent of this park in such a populous city is amazing. After all the cities we visited in Scotland, almost all with a castle on a high point, London’s layout, on comparatively flat ground, feels quite different.
* Apparently, in 1536 good ol’ Henry VIII created the park as a private/crown hunting ground. It was opened to proper members of “the public” (thus, only the few) in 1637.