Cities / Towns Visited: 1
Countries Visited: 1
Steps Taken Today: 30,255
Steps Taken Around the World: 50,229
We awoke to another frosty day. It was 1°C when we ventured to the nearby Tescos to find something cheap to eat for breakfast and lunch, while we explored, then checked out of the hotel and carried our bags to the hostel that would be our home for the next week; it was only expected to rise to 3°C.
After a brisk walk to keep warm, we arrived at Hyde Park. Now I’m sure in the summer it’s astounding, a sea of lush green; but in my eyes, it’s winter self is it’s most breathtaking. Stark yet beautiful; vulnerable yet eminating strength. The trees may have lost their leaves, but they are no less alive; and the early spring daffodils defiantly sprout from the snow covered soil, almost as if to shake their fist at mother nature; they will not be downtrodden. Life still continues even in the harshest conditions; plants grow, joggers continue unfaultering, and dogs frolic undeterred by the lengthy winter blanket. As in life, everyone basks in summer, but only the strongest brave the winter. May we all weather the winter of life as defiantly at these flowers.
After a good couple of hours wandering, we had seen many amazing things, like Rotten Row, the first artificially lit highway in the country in 1690. Lucky for us, there were some of the Royal cavalry being taught how to ride in formation to amuse us on our travels.
Finally it was time to move onwards on our adventure, as we had a tour appointment to keep. Thus we ventured onto our first journey on the tube. After navigating the complexities of purchasing an Oyster Card we hopped a train until we reached Archway Station. From here we clambered up the steep hill that leads to one of my most highly anticipated destinations; Highgate Cemetery. With an hour or so still to kill before our tour of the ‘guide-only accessible’ Western cemetery, we ventured into the Eastern section. Amongst the thousands of graves and thousands and stories, if you seek them out, there are a few noteworthy names: Karl Marx (the father of communism) and Douglas Adams (the father of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). It was eerily beautiful, the entanglement of nature and tombs, the visual proof that we all return to the earth in the end; from death, life anew.
After quickly eating our lunch on the curb, we went to meet our tour group, to enter the Western cemetery. What can I say about the tour other than if you ever have the chance, take it. The history; the grandeur; the quiet, solemn yet peaceful atmosphere; heightened all the more by the commentary and explanation or our passionate guide. It was everything I’d hoped for and more. I’ll let the pictures write the 1000 words I lack to explain it.
Taking a day to appreciate life and nature was exactly what we needed to soothe our travel weary souls, and prepare us for the enlightenment the rest of our trip will bring. May we never lose that appreciation, no matter the hardship.
P.S. I saw the most British person I’ve ever seen on the train ride back from the cemetery; a man in his mid twenties in a royal blue suit, with a white shirt and red tie, brown dress shoes, brunette beatle-esque haircut, and, of course, a briefcase. Just standing in the middle of the train looking as his watch. Now either I was viewing him through a bubble in the time space continuum, he’s a spy and that’s not a watch, or millenial hipsters have reached a point that they are trying to be old school but lack the physical ability to read analog time, but he stared at his watch for a solid 2 minutes. I almost reached a point I wanted to tap him to make sure he was okay; for your reference he left the train unhindered after he finally escaped the clutches of his watch’s mind control.