The Art of Exploration · a diary of day trips, natural places, and miscellaneous adventures

Harrington Hall

Friday, June 6th, 2003 in London
Harrington Hall

I’m in the UK now and in need of a holiday after months of stress and overtime. Phil, too, is exhausted from working too many long hours, so we decide to take a short break in London. Our intention is simple: to relax and recharge. We book a room at the Harrington Hall Hotel, our favorite of the limited selection of London hotels that we can afford to stay at. The Harrington is a quirky but comfortable hotel in a great location (Kensington). It is also close to the Gloucester Road Tube Station, so it’s a snap to get to the most interesting and visit-worthy areas of the British capital.

Happy little flower faces looking out at the world!

This morning, when we walk from the hotel to the tube station, I notice a flower shop where — on the sidewalk in front of the store — great bunches of flowers are arranged in metal buckets. The buckets are stacked atop rows of wooden crates and each row of crates is higher than the one in front of it. This creates a cluster of blossom-filled bleachers populated with happy flower faces peering out at passers-by.

Statue of Oliver Cromwell.

After mulling over our options, we decide to spend the day in Westminster. We wander around snapping photos like tourists. Big Ben, snap. Oliver Cromwell, snap. A hackney carriage, snap. We come across some booths selling tickets for boat trips up the Thames. Snap. Then we think why not? We buy a pair of tickets and hop aboard. Big Ben and Houses of Parliament, as seen from the river. Snap, snap.

On our second day, we return to Westminster and visit Westminster Abbey, Number 10 Downing Street, and the HMS Belfast. We take another river taxi up to Kew Gardens (further indulging our fondness for boat trips up the Thames). We linger in the various greenhouses and wander the lovely gardens at Kew. Then, in the evening, we go to see We Will Rock You. What a day!

This post is a long rambling mess, but I will at least come full circle and make mention of the first photo. That photo shows several posters by Cindy Sherman that are on display at the Gloucester Road Tube Station. Cindy’s images are of herself dressed as various female personas, each illustrating her interpretation of a different stereotype of women throughout history. Wonderful exhibit. Turns out, the tube frequently serves as a platform for art, displaying artwork at various stations throughout the underground. Worth noticing.

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