Since I had a lot of time to kill in between programs, I pretty much lived in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens for a week and a half, mostly because I’m nutty about squirrels. I love them! My second day here I bought a huge bag of peanuts, so I spent all kinds of time reading in the park and making squirrel friends. They actually come and eat right out of my hand! I need to figure out some way to capture one and take it home with me. I’m sure smuggling a squirrel into the U.S. won’t be a customs violation.Okay, end of squirrel tangent, back to the walk. In my excitement to feed the squirrels, I forgot my camera, but I’ll try to add some photos from earlier visits and other people’s cameras. I was glad to do this walk, since I didn’t really know anything about the park’s history before. It was first opened to the public by Charles I and has been popular ever since. In the 19th Century, Prince Albert had the Crystal Palace built there to house the first World’s Fair (the Palace was dismantled during World War II).
A big group of us started out at the famous Speaker’s Corner, where anyone can get up to share their thoughts on Sunday mornings. Since it was a Monday, nobody was up ranting, but I’ll have to come back some weekend. We did see the rather undressed statue to the Duke of Wellington, however, and took a picture of ourselves looking properly scandalized (I’ll figure out who has those pictures eventually) before going to Wellington Arch, which is topped by a statue of the Duke on Horseback. Earlier that day, most of us had also explored the Wellington’s home, Apsley House, so I’m feeling particularly knowledgeable about him right now. Ask me a question; I might just be able to answer it (might being the operative word).
Next up was the ironically flower lined Rotten Row, which brought us to the edge of the Serpentine. We stopped along the water’s edge to see the swans, geese, and ducks, who are just starting to bring out their babies. Fuzzy little ducklings can almost compete with squirrels for cuteness. Too bad they don’t like peanuts.