London is a big city, and there is a lot to see. My aunt, uncle and I spent a day cycling around all the city sites: from Tower Bridge to Greenwich and back to Bucking Palace. We all fell a little bit in love with the freedom of Boris Bikes- such a great way to get around.
We rode up to Greenwich on the Saturday morning, and spent quite a while exploring the observatory there. As well as a general exhibition on timekeeping, the observatory hosts the Astronomy Photographer of the Year Exhibition, displaying the world’s best photography of the stars and the universe. It was fascinating to see the progression of timekeeping over the years, and to see time viewed as an event, as a continuum and as an invention.
Sunday was more relaxed and included brunch at Lantana café. Named for the Lantana plant, an Australian weed of national signifigance, Lantana is proud of it’s Australian roots. The afternoon was spent at the National Portrait Gallery, where we lost hours walking through the different periods of English history. Grayson Perry’s Who are you? exhibition was bright and the colour choices a little alarming, but the ensemble of works created an intriguing portrait of today’s England (especially London), viewed through the search for identity in a world that is so culturally diverse. I was glad not to have missed the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize (no longer on display) which contained a diverse array of quality photographs, presenting people and their stories.
After a mostly sunny weekend, the London rain finally caught up with us, and after exploring Camden Market we took shelter in a local pub to drink a warm and comforting Hot Toddy. Dinner was at another local pub – fish and chips, and sticky treacle pudding for dessert.
Before leaving to catch my train on Monday, I took a long walk through Regent’s Park and up to Primrose Hill. Before I knew it, it was time to catch the metro back to King’s Cross-St Pancras to head back ‘home’ to France.
I loved my London adventure. The city itself is fabulous, but it’s the people that really made the weekend special.