Saturday, July 3, 2010

A Different Side of London

What a fun time I had in London........again!

It started with a ride into our hotel in the most psycedelic bus I have ever seen.  If we had any ideas of sleeping on the way, well..........

The first day I took a nap, then headed out for a walk in the
neighborhood around our hotel.  I stopped by at Waitrose, for
a few groceries.  I encountered a cheese flavoured with Marc
de Bourgogne, a favorite of mine from the Burgundy region of
France.  Of course, I had to have some.

I returned to my room to enjoy my purchases,

and the view from my window of evening falling over London.

I was flying with my friend, Mary Jane, and she invited me to come with her and see her houseboat at a boatyard in Chelsea.  I was really excited to be invited, as this is a part of London and the Thames, that I am not familiar with.

We walked there
through many
that I had never
seen before, with
interesting shops,

and homes with beautiful gardens
and balconies.,_London

We passed this interesting building on King's Road, which is an Italian restaurant, and I stopped to take a photo. Mary Jane said that the somewhat hidden gateway to the left was the entrance to a Moravian Church and graveyard.

When we entered the cemetery, it looked vaguely familiar, then Mary
Jane began to tell me a story about two young men who used to play
there with their pet lion.

I asked her if she meant Christian the loin. She didn't know, so I looked it up later. It was the very same lion, and I had seen video from the early 1970s of him frolicking in this cemetery with his owners.

If you don't know this incredibly touching story,

or haven't seen the youtube videos, you should check it out.  The clip below is one of many, showing a reunion with Christian after he had been in the wild for an entire year and formed his own pride.
It also shows a lot of footage of Christian as a cub playing in the Moravian cemetery.

We continued our walk to the Chelsea Dock and Boat Company at Cheyne Pier.

We walked along the pier and checked out Mary
Jane's boat, and many other interesting floating

We continued on our way down Cheyne Walk to the Chelsea Physics Garden where, lucky for me, Mary
Jane has a membership.  I had never even heard of
this lovely spot, and what a pleasure it was to explore.

Hidden within walls,
in a neighborhood in
the heart of Chelsea,

the garden is surrounded by
classic homes.

We stopped for a
glass of sparkling
wine on the

The food looked wonderful, but we had other plans for lunch. As it turned out, we should have
followed our inclination and stayed here. Below is more information about these amazing gardens,
and a website about Chelsea and Cheyne Walk.

We continued along Cheyne Walk and the
Thames, past the London Peace Pagoda
with it's statues of Buddha in four poses.

We passed the Battersea Power Station, an unused
reminder of the past, with an unsure future. I have
seen various proposals for it's use, but I don't know of anything that has been decided.

It is one of the landmark symbols of the 2012 London Olympics.

We took a cab to Somerset House,
"an inspiring space for art, culture,
and creative exchange". You could
spend the day here easily.

We chose to view the exhibit called "City
Living".  The link below will give you
a sampling of all that is offered here.

We had planned on eating lunch on the river at Tom's Terrace at Somerset House.  We were sad to learn that we were too late for lunch and too early for dinner, so we made do with olives and nuts to accompany our wine.

We made a quick stop for an "old wood tawny port" at Gordon's Winebar, then caught a cab back to one of Mary Jane's favorite places,  the Mona Lisa Cafe in Chelsea for dinner.  

We finished the evening with a brandy at the home of a friend in the area, then returned to our hotel for a good night's sleep. I am looking forward to returning to this area and exploring the many places we saw, but didn't have time to visit.
I'll never live long enough to know this city as well as I would like.

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