As the first weeks of being in London began to seem more real, I began to explore the city and what it had to offer. During my first weeks here, I visited the Kensington Place which is directly a block away from my flat with one of roommates. As we walked there, I noticed how relatively close it was from Hyde Park and how close it was to where I lived. Once at the park, the people around the palace were tourist and natives taking their dogs out for a walk or out on a walk with their families. To my amazement, I was right outside of what is the residence of a couple of royals you might have heard of, like Will and Kate. From that point on, I made it my goal to visit different places near me as well as far off.
After that small weekend afternoon exploration, I was able to take the underground to unexplored tube stations due to class excursions. For example, upon my first weeks, I was able to go to the Docklands museum and take a look at the history behind what was once a trade based dock that helped the economy of London. I was able to adhere what the history of the UK was and how it integrated the docklands to its past. Through my British Culture course I began to notice similar patterns between the British and American past. I really enjoyed my time at the museum and what I got to learn from it. Besides the Docklands museum located in Canary Wharf, a business filled area from one of the many boroughs within London, I was also able to visit the British Museum.
At the British Museum, it felt the opposite than at the Docklands because I wasn’t learning from the British history but rather from the history of the entire world except Britain’s. Yes, the name can be deceiving but in reality the British Museum is filled with artifacts that belong to almost any other part of the world except the UK. Within the museum you can find relics of the history of any stretch in the world and I was impacted by the most I think about the history behind the Chinese and Indian relics. I’ve grown up learning about these two cultures within the text books or through friends I have made throughout the years who come from these countries yet, I don’t get to witness they’re history represented in museums as much as I have seen the Greek or the Roman monuments, pillars, sculptures, etc. I was amazed by certain artifacts and I felt as though I discovered some hidden history. Not to mention that I got to see the Sutton Hoo and the Rosetta Stone in person.
Besides my excursions to museums, thanks to my travel writing course, I was able to walk through different hidden parts of London that I would not have known if it weren’t for the course. On my first couple of weeks within the course, we were able to take a tube to the Chalk Farm station from which point I walked with my classmates to the Primrose Hill. Since it is a late afternoon class, it was already dark by the time I reached the Hill. I remember hiking up hill and not looking back because in words of my professor, “if you look back it would be a waste of the hike”. Again, I would mention that I was just getting used to the stairs at my place and as I walked up the hill, I walked even faster than my peers because I eagerly wanted to see the view. By the time I reached the top, the view was definitely worth it. I could see the city of London from a hill point of view where the night allowed the lights of the London Eye to be noticed vividly, along with the Shard and the BT Tower.
The view from the Hill as really amazing and alongside the top pavement, there was an inscription from the poet William Blake that said, “I have conversed with the spiritual sun. I saw him on Primrose Hill.” I remembered this quote specifically because I had wondered what sunrise would have looked like upon the Hill. The greenery was really pretty besides the fact that I would have probably liked it more if it hadn’t rained so much beforehand. Specifically, if it hadn’t been for my professor who suggested that we walk down the hill through the wet and muddy grass. You see, I was walking down in my white converse and they began to slide over the mud. So I thought I turn on my flashlight on my phone and that was of no help for it was “cheating” to turn it on. So as soon as I turned the light off, I almost slipped backwards and by a sheer miracle, I was able to stop myself from having my bottom covered in mud.
If you ask people who have traveled to London, I can assure you that they probably won’t mention to you the beauty of Primrose Hill. Primarily because it is not on the most touristic sites a tourist would know. Yet, it is extremely well known for the locals. Everyone known of the hill and the beauty it relates to its inhabitants. If you ever have the opportunity to go, I would recommend that you hike it up without looking back because it is honestly the most rewarding feeling to look back and breathe in the view.
Besides this hidden beauty, I was able to also make time to pencil in Buckingham Palace and the London Eye. I went to visit both landmarks throughout a cloudy London day and was able to find a small cute Italian gelato restaurant in Covent Garden. I had the marvelous idea of choosing a set of gelato and I remember selecting chocolate chip along with Raspberry and Mango. It was wonderfully delicious. It has to be one of my favorite places to go to in the area.
This concludes another adventure within the area of London throughout my week and hopefully for next time, I can tell you about a different area that you may not have heard of here in London and its hidden treasures.
Till next time…