Friday, October 06, 2006

Tuesday, 3rd October – London

Our last day!! We found London fairly tiring – we were very busy ourselves, and walked for miles every day. But London itself is exhausting, I think – everywhere is crowded, and people are always rushing, in a hurry to get who-knows-where. But our last day dawned sunny & clear, so we were eager to get out and enjoy the day. We still had a few hours left on our bus tour (the tickets are valid for 24 hours) so we picked up where we got off yesterday, and finally finished up at Hyde Park Corner. We had a look at the Australian War Memorial (very modern, but quite moving) then walked through Knightsbridge (very classy – read expensive – shops) to Harrods, the famous department store, where, they claim, you can buy anything you want. They certainly have some impressive items – I spotted a jewellery case I quite liked, till I saw the price (₤899.00); or a “toy” Hummer for kids, about 1/3 life-size, with an engine that went up to 15 miles an hour – a steal at only ₤6000 – I would have bought one for all my friends, if it wasn’t for the weight limit on my luggage. The décor is incredible – pure kitsch from top to bottom, including the Egyptian escalator, with hand carved sphinxes featuring the face of Mohammed El Fayed, who owns Harrods. The food hall is quite fantastic, an incredible range of delicacies in wonderfully decorated rooms.

We bought a filled baguette at Harrods (the only thing we could afford!) and took it to Hyde Park for a little picnic. We sat by the lake watching the geese and resolutely enjoying ourselves, despite the fact that by now it was really cold, blustery and rain was imminent. We walked through the park to the Albert Memorial, which is much bigger than we realized, incredibly gaudy but impressive at the same time. Queen Vic must have really missed her hubby. We also passed the new Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain, which we thought was particularly underwhelming, looked like a storm drain really.

Since it was actually raining now, we headed for cover and popped back to the V&A. It was a nice way to finish our time in London as we had started it.