William Collier: Synopsis of a Memoir, Pt. 24 - Last Days in London

January 28, 2016

We were determined to visit as many tourist attractions as possible; we only had a couple of days to finish exploring this incredible city and its rich and complicated history.

We had reached the point where another museum was a struggle. Knowing we would be on our way back to Seattle soon encouraged our commitment to continue our quest. Buckingham Palace, with its pomp and circumstance, exposed visitors to Britain’s dedication to its incredible history.The history of this palace was overwhelming.

Next stop Westminster Abbey, often described as “the parish church of the world” certainly lives up to its reputation. The architectural magnificence dates back to 1245 and continued to be regarded in its full esteem well into the 16th century. The pointed arches reflect a Gothic style based on the continental system of geometrical proportions. Many English features are associated with the moldings of the main arches and the use of polished marble for the columns. The construction continued with the influence of each reigning monarch until the last phase was completed in 1745. As we approached mid-afternoon, Hyde Park seemed a welcome choice giving us an outdoor experience that offered a certain balance to Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey. The park occupies 625 acres including adjoining Kensington Gardens. Kensington Gardens is technically separate, a division was established 1728.

“Speakers Corner” located opposite Marble Arch, adds a unique flavor to the park allowing the public access to air their opinions. After our tea and crumpets in the park, purposely avoiding anything too filling...we were looking forward to roast beef and Yorkshire pudding for dinner. We moved on to the National Gallery, settling for observing from the outside, as we were beginning to feel the toll paid for a long day of walking and sightseeing. We decided we could muster enough energy to visit the famous “Harrods” department store. Arriving by cab, we knew that Brampton Road had a reputation for excellent food. Harrods is a must see whether you make a purchase or not. The extent of merchandise is endless. After an hour or so we were ready for dinner, as it turned out we decided to eat at Harrods, even though we had to give up on our desire for roast beef; we were pleased to settle for roast beef sandwiches and a couple pints of British ale.

With only one day lefmini-1967-kings-roadLondra-1967---King__s-Road- (1)t our sights were set on the fashion district of Kings Road. The street was alive with eager shoppers looking for the hippest of the hip garments and there was no shortage of choices. We agreed that we would limit our purchases to articles that would not require the purchase of additional luggage. We were totally enjoying the youthful vibe that saturated the entire experience. Lots of cool music being played in most boutiques, and an abundance of swag on the street. After a couple of hours it was time to zero in on our individual purchases. I had spotted an almost ankle length suede “Maxi-Coat” which was very fashion forward, like out there. I had not actually tried it on so we made our way back to the boutique where it was still in the window. Upon seeing the garment I was even more interested. The leather was a rich Cognac color, double breasted, with surprisingly decent buttons….very important. The young hip sales person was very accommodating, and the coat in the window turned out to be the only one left. As the clerk removed the coat from the window for me to try for fit I became concerned about the price and the size. As it turned out the coat fit perfectly, and the price was within my now finances were a concern.

Back at our hotel we began organizing for our trip home. We casually discussed how the trip went in general, which we agreed was a success on all accounts. Being able to look back at certain things that occurred, with hindsight as a buffer, allowed for a good chuckle. Our trip from London to Amsterdam, and then to Seattle went well. We were more than ready to be home. That trip pushed aside all barriers that previously may have prevented future trips anywhere. The rewards of travel beyond the predictable are invaluable...

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