This past weekend, we had a wonderful time. I’ll go more into our Architecture Tour around the financial district and Tower of London another time since that is a subject unto itself, but Sunday was the wild card.
Sundays have turned into our lazy day. We both are so go-go-go during the week with Jeff at work and me doing errands, writing at home, or napping, that we need a day to just be. Jeff doesn’t have to dress up or fight the commute, and I can step away from the computer and read. Granted, because of the state of our flat, we’ve had to do some cleaning on these lazy Sundays, but hopefully that will come to an end…hopefully.
But this last Sunday, I wanted to get outside. I had been holed up all week and Saturday gallivanting around London was such a tease. So I suggested we go for a little walk around the neighborhood and in the opposite direction we normally go. It was a beautiful day out. Finally, no clouds, no gray, no rain, but we saw blue skies and very little wind. It couldn’t be too perfect though, so we had the same chill down to our bones we’ve yet to shake off.
We walked a bit and conveniently found a little green! Jeff and I have been discussing whether or not we’re going to sign up for a marathon in the Fall, so coming across a little park not far from home is a good excuse to go for an evening run.
Our trek didn’t stop there. Jeff and I are very good about the extra step. “One more block.” “Want to see what’s around the bend, and we’ll go back?” Sure! Sometimes we’re so active, it kills us.
We made it all the way to Acton Town–which, granted, is not far. A good 15 minute walk East of the flat. It is amazing to see where lines are drawn in neighborhoods. This is the nice side, this is the side I wouldn’t walk in at night. Areas like that are littered all over the city. This area was one of those, maybe not stroll through at night places. But it certainly was no Whitechapel.
We decided that we would take a right and follow the path back by exploring what was behind the high street. That’s usually our first mistake. Streets are not linear around these parts. You may turn right, so you think it’s South, but it turns out you’ve actually continued going East because of the bend in the previous road. Nonetheless, the sun was still out, so we continued on down a side street hoping to find our next right turn home.
About 10 minutes more walking has gone by at this point and we have not found a connecting street to get our path home. I was about to pull out my phone for the trusty GPS when we looked straight ahead and suddenly we were in Gunnersbury Park. It is amazing, a couple of miles and you stumble on one of the bigger parks in London!
When Jeff was first being interviewed for this London position, he stayed in Chiswick, which is about a 10 minute tube ride from Ealing. He was also in the thick of his marathon training, so he would go running while on vacation and run through this very park. His face lit up as he was telling me about, “I called you from here,” “I took pictures of this!”
We walked through and found a small mansion which has been converted into an arts centre, and then just beyond the bend, we came across the large mansion, now a museum. We had missed the time by 15 minutes to explore, but we had plenty to keep us busy.
The park was enormous and beautiful. Tons of people were out with their dogs and kids, cycling through or playing fetch (you pick which goes with which).
When the sun started to set, we decided to head back home, granted, we didn’t exactly know how far we were from home. We went to Pope’s Lane and started to trek back. After several blocks of homes after homes, we took a casual look to the left and saw we were still walking long the park! Not wanting to waste our time on a street when we could be in the park, we ran over and finished out the park. It was brief but worth it to see the skyline, green and blue outside, and openness.
We finally made it back home through South Ealing and eventually back to the high street. We walked a casual six miles that evening, without even trying. But it’s pretty amazing what is in our backyard and how a simple stroll can turn into an adventure! That’s what coming to London and living here was all about.
Jeff and I both have lived in Texas most if not all of our lives. While we have yet to see everything in the state, we were done with Austin. We wanted to see what else there was in the world. And here we are. We are living in London and everywhere you turn there is history, beauty, and things we never thought we would see in our lifetimes.
The lesson I learned was: do not underestimate what is a short walk away. Go out and explore, just maybe wear more than a jacket and workout pants when it’s windy and a good 40 degrees out!