Despite waking up ridiculously early, I had a pretty slow start to the day, dawdling along by washing my hair, blogging, sort of hanging out with Mocha and face timing Amy. I had another tough choice for breakfast and so had both savoury mince and my newly purchased Croatian Nutella.
My annotated tube map said it was Kew Gardens today, but I rebelled against the plan and headed to South Kensington to see, firstly, the Victoria and Albert Museum which has a subterranean path leading directly to it. I was a bit overwhelmed by the volume of art I had to process, but my favourite pieces were in the casting court. I felt even more dwarfed than usual amongst the massive, intricate pieces.
I also particularly loved the stained glass windows, which reminded me of home, where I have a medieval Viking ship (a souvenir from another exhibition).
With my London pass, I was able to get a complimentary cream tea (what would have been deemed Devonshire tea back home). I enjoyed my tea in opulence in a beautiful space with mystical orb chandeliers.
Given that my free scone was my lunch, I was able to spend my allocated lunch money on a vintage look V&A bag!
I walked across the street to the Natural History Museum to continue my museum excursion.
The collections were brilliant! I think my favourites were the reconstructions of early human faces and the bird collection with annotated feet and wings, and my favourite NZ birds – a kiwi and a kakapo!
I was also particularly fascinated by the animatronic dinosaurs (as were some small children visiting the museum too).
I wish I had spent more time at the museum and had brought my sketch book, but it was very crowded with a large group of obnoxious French teenagers who arrived and left at the same time as I did.
I walked to Harrods next and contemplated whether I would be able to afford to eat at the food hall. Alas, I could not. Everything was beautifully ordered and presided over by staff in aprons and boaters. If I was going to fork over a stack of cash, I would have eaten at the Rotisserie which had a rose gold coloured range hood and fittings. I left the building via the tea and chocolate section and was offered a sample of hot chocolate, which was incredibly sweet, but at the same time had a hint of salted caramel.
My mentor, Jenny, originally from Finland but who has also lived in London (amongst countless other cities), recommended seeing Sloane Square instead of Carnaby Street as the quintessential high street experience. It started to get quite cold as I walked from Harrods to the square, but it was worth it to see the “Upstairs Downstairs-esque” houses and quaint little shops.
Huggies had selected a charming burger joint, which served their delicious burgers with a pickle on the side. It was wonderful to see Huggies, although we had had a catch up over Christmas. It was wonderful to see that the stressful hours and cold winter hadn’t dampened his perpetually sunny disposition. And this was the whole point of the trip. To reunite with those of my friends who had followed their dreams overseas.
Despite it being absolutely freezing (so much so that an English woman in the WC started up a conversation with me to complain about the weather and expressed disbelief at my selection of London as a holiday destination when I lived in Australia), we had gelato ‘cos sometimes you’ve just gotta tough it out!
I made it home, after having walked almost 20k steps and almost fell alseep in the bath watching a Kate Winslet and Alan Rickman period film about French gardening. (Totally my kind of film, but I was just incredibly tired.)