On my days off from work, it has been decided that we must explore the vast metropolis that is London. An immense landscape, with such diversity, it boggles the mind that all of its’ corners fall under the same jurisdiction.
At any rate, day off so to the tube we took. Rumbling through the underground, a few line changes (as well as the rescue of a man who had got his arm, avec full coffee cup, jammed in a train door and couldnt get it out, I had to pry open the doors) and we were exiting at Hampstead. Now Hampstead is a something to behold, the home turf of the rich and likely famous. Mercedes, BMW’s, Rolls Royces, and the ubiquitous Range Rover fill every possible parking space. Neighbourhoods full of multi-multi-million dollar homes, such an established and secure neighbourhood (the lack of any visible litter, dog dirt included) that windows are left un-curtained for all to see within. Over burdened bookcases line the walls of most of these spectacular homes.
Cafes fill the village-like streets of this calm corner, we of coarse stopped for refreshment, Americano and a cookie for my dearest.
Off through the side streets we tread, through to Hampstead Heath. Beautiful scenery, sunbathers lounging, dogs with their wagging tails, grandparents with their grandchildren, and nannies, nannies, nannies everywhere (it is a well heeled community after all).
The remarkable thing about rich neighbourhoods is that they exist cheek to cheek with poor areas. A magical invisible line divides the two and allows them to co-exist with out intermingling, least the poor should have any aspirations of upward mobility; this is the UK after all, with it’s entrenched class system. So amongst the common man (myself a member) we walked. Our goal being High Gate, the reputable grave yard, full of reputable historic figures.
High gate must surely get its name from it’s vicinity, high up towards the clouds. And so we tread, up, and up, and up, choosing to take the scenic “quiet route” as a sign declared. This route wraps itself around a body of water, people in bathing suits walking all around in all their glory. The agony of each progressive step upwards reduced only by the glorious habitat. Magnificent homes surrounded by high walls serving to keep out those without the proper pedigree. Finally we summated the top of the hill and were in the quaint village of High Gate. Pee break, followed by a jaunt to a charity shop, where I succumbed to temptation and purchased a Paul Smith jacket, my second on this short UK stay. But village hours still remain and by 5, everything was closed, so much for sight seeing. So on we tread, over vast expanses of sidewalk, at one point I noticed a sign for the M1 and knew we were in trouble!
I can’t begin to describe to sheer distance that we traveled by foot, pilgrims of the North end. Finally we boarded a bus that dropped us off in Muswell Hill, the walk was over.
They say that the best way to experience a place is to walk, and walking we do (on this notorious day we must have walked 10kms). However, perhaps it’s better to have some sort of itinery planned so as not to find oneself on a death march, my legs, my legs, my LEGS!