It’s 5 AM, 2 July, the morning of my second day in London. I’m already out the door and taking a walk around Hyde Park. During my first day, I had a chance to see Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Parliament (I even saw the House of Commons in session!), the Horse Cavalry, Trafalgar Square, and the Thames.
None of it really sinks in until this morning, though. While in the Kensington Grounds of the park, I notice Royal Albert Hall across the street. I am also standing underneath a monumnet for Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria. The monument is majestic, with a golden Albert in the center, surrounded at four corners by distinct tableaus. I look at one corner: quite Greek. “Europe” is engraved underneath. Then I look at the next: is that an elephant, a woman in a saree, and an Arab? “Asia” is engraved underneath. The next corner takes me to “Africa,” and when I see the headdresses on the last corner, I realize I’ve reached “America.” Then it sinks in: they controlled the world!
I continue my walk around Hyde Park across the Diana, Princess of Wales, Memorial Walk and continue past the park into Paddington Station. I walk back to Royal Albert Hall and notice that it’s not a monument but an active theatre. How can they afford all of this? Then the grandeur of it all sinks in: I am walking around an empire that is still alive!
I spend the rest of the morning walking around Regent Street in Picadilly Circus and then Covent Gardens (Quincy Market is essentially the Covent Gardens of Boston… in fact, a lot of London can be seen in Boston, but more on that another time.) After I get my fill of the city, I head over to Wimbledon to see tennis played on freshly cut grass. It’s quite magestic: fit for royalty.