So on our second day with Jenny and T, we split up. Jenny and I went to Kenwood (HERE) in the morning while Rick and T hit the road on bicycles and ventured into and around London.
Let's just say that I preferred not to think of him riding around on the opposite side of the street (we Americans drive on the right, the Brits on the left!). But I knew he was with an experienced rider, which helped tremendously.
In the afternoon, the guys went to Fenton House, a National Trust property in Hampstead, known for its collection of early keyboard instruments. One of the bonuses of visiting is that these instruments, such as the harpsichord here, are often played for guests, and which Rick and T enjoyed. The house also features an extensive art collection but all I heard about from Rick were the instruments! (For more about Fenton House and an apple festival, check out Jenny's post HERE.)
Jenny and I stayed back at the house and she took me through her garden. OK, not her totally personal garden, but the communal garden for the area she lives. But I like to think of it as Jenny's because she is one of its primary tenders, doing much of the planting.
And it was beautiful. In those last, lingering days of the flowering season -- early October -- it was in full bloom.
The roses were especially beautiful and still going strong.
The Indian Summer certainly was keeping gardens looking their best!
I love nasturtium, so this made me smile.
And so, too, did this massive rosemary plant that was nearly as tall as I was!
Parts of the garden are surrounded by hedgerows, making it very private.
And yet on the day we visited we saw people walking, reading, with their dogs and with their children. There were spots to sit and savor.
And just walking through reminded me of how important it is to have your green space when you live in the city. Outside the enclosure, the city was bustling as all major cities do.
But within, tranquility and peace.
And a lovely way to spend an autumn afternoon.
(I would have said more about Rick, but he didn't take many photos!) When we return to London posts, we'll move to a London hotel -- and one I'd highly recommend. But for the next couple of weeks, I'm going full-on Christmas! Because it would look really weird if those showed up in March!)
- Part of the fun of traveling with someone is being with them, but if your interests are vast and somewhat differing and your time is short, splitting up is smart! In most cities you can work your way around independently (we were lucky to have Jenny and T!). And it's something fun to share at dinner.
- Look off the beaten path for attractions. Places like Fenton House, the Musical Museum and Gunnersby don't always make it into the guide books but they can be fascinating and beautiful and well worth the time. And a bonus? Smaller crowds.
- Don't feel compelled to go-go-go! I know. Time is at a premium and there is much to see and do! But I can't tell you how pleasant and fun it was to explore Jenny's garden (and later the bookstore and grocery, too!). It was a good break as we prepared for our move into the city center and I loved every second. If you're already in the city? Check out a park or the library!