We have been silent for two weeks but not inactive. The day after the wedding, we toured Kensington Palace which sits at the west end of Hyde Park. It’s open to the public as a museum but it is also the official residence for a number of select royals, 15 to be exact. The most notable is the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, aka Will, Kate & their three children, and of course now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, aka Harry and Meghan. The next day Caitlyn, Wendy and Sandy had high tea at Harrods then met Jim and Pierre at the Hippodrome Casino in Leicester Square for drinks followed by bar hopping in the West End. Wendy flew home to Boston the next morning. Caitlyn and Pierre left us on May 22 and the next day we went to Chelsea in Bloom. The Queen and her daughter Princess Anne were at the Flower show, but much to their disappointment we did not pay the big bucks to attend the Flower Show and they missed us there. We did view all of the store front flower displays and they were mostly very impressive. This years theme is “The Summer of Love” named so because of the recent Royal wedding. San Francisco also celebrated the 50th anniversary of the summer of love last year when we were there.
We then began a run of London West End shows tapping into an App called Today Tix, snagging same day 10-25£ tickets in the front few rows of the stalls which are called orchestra in some countries. The first show was 42nd street, 25£ (33$)for a fourth row seat, a musical which won a Tony award when it debuted on Broadway in 1980.
The next show was Consent where we sat dead center in the first row. The stage was above eye level in front of us which was worrisome, but most of the sets were elevated a bit above the stage floor which made our seats quite acceptable. The third show in six days was Young Frankenstein. We are absolutely mesmerized by the talent of the London Theatre actors and have become theatre junkies constantly looking for the best deals and prime seating to the next show. There was one museum interspersed with the shows, The Victoria & Albert which is the worlds largest museum of art and design. Like other British National Museums entrance is free which will entice us back a few more times as we barely touched the surface of all their holdings and displays in our two hour visit.
We have been doing regular runs of 4 to 5 miles along the Thames preparing for a 5k Road Race through Richmond Park on June 2. On top of our running we are also doing long walks as we explore the wonderful boroughs of London averaging 6.4 miles per day for the month of May. Our long walks have taken us to Soho, Portobello Road/Notting Hill – reminiscent of Haight Ashbury and Hayes Hill in SF, Holland Park, Covent Gardens, Grenfell Towers memorials, and Mayfair.
Especially memorable has been a walk through the rose garden of Hyde Park and strolling the high fashion Savile Row, Bond and Jermyn streets. Jim just loves the British men’s clothing stores but he has not spent any money on them in London so far.
Friday June 1 we climbed the 200+ steps to reach the Tower Bridge glass walkway/museum which has a special display of “Famous Bridges of the World” which we quite enjoyed as we have seen and run or walked over many of them.
We next headed to Borough’s Market for a late lunch then ended this day of adventure by climbing the 311 steps to reach the top of the Monument to the 1666 Fire Of London which devastated ⅔ of the city. It is a free standing fluted Doric column topped by a flaming copper urn and the reward of the climb is an amazing birds eye view over the Thames and iconic London landmarks.