Parting shots: London

St. Paul's Cathedral, London

St. Paul’s Cathedral at sundown

Not many people would spend such a short time in London — only a day and a half for us. And most visitors would want to see all the places marked in bold print in their tour guides.  But since we’d checked off the Tower, Buckingham, and Westminster Abbey years ago, we decided just to stroll the streets in our few short hours, picking up city vibes from the sights and sounds in the Mayfair district.  We’d round out the trip with a ride on The Thames down to The Globe to fulfill an English teacher’s dream.

What it all boiled down to for us was a glimpse at the people and places that make Mayfair and Marylebone special.  A few shots from a brief stay in London.

The Bird Man at Marble Arch

Standing in front of Marble Arch.

Standing in front of Marble Arch.

A quick walk from our hotel, Grosvenor House, landed us squarely in front of Marble Arch. The structure, built in 1825 as a gateway to Buckingham Palace and moved to this location in 1851, faces Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park.  We came to see it and take the obligatory picture in front of it, noting our presence for future slide shows, I suppose.

But what we didn’t expect to see was a man feeding the birds.  So mesmerizing was the experience of watching him patiently throw out crumbs to eager birds that we took more pictures of him than of the arch itself!  Add to that, a closer look at the photos revealed notables in the background:  the back side of Still Water (largest free-standing bronze sculpture in London — it’s a horse head, by the way) and a double decker bus.  Pretty nifty London parting shot!

Feeding the birds at Marble Arch

Feeding the birds at Marble Arch

(By the way, we’ve discovered a fascinating blog detailing walks through London by Stu who dubs himself the London Wlogger.  His walking adventures like “Marble Arch to Mayfair: Streets and Squares” would make great guides to take along the next time you’re in the city.)

Carnaby Street

Call us hippies if you wish, but we really don’t have an identity tied to a particular decade. We do, however, remember the world spotlight focused clearly on The Beatles in the 60s when we were freshmen in college gathered round TVs in college dorm rooms watching the “Ed Sullivan Show.”   And later in the 60s, we were drawn to a skinny but svelte young lady from the UK who took the fashion world by storm: Twiggy.  It was a time when places like Abbey Road and Carnaby Street became household terms even for those of us who had never been to England, let alone walk the famous streets.

Carnaby Street in 2016

Carnaby Street in 2016

But here we were in 2016, and the banners just seemed appropriate.  After all, we like peace, love, and harmony as much now as we did then.  Maybe more.

The Lady in Liberty

We remembered the store called Liberty of London on Regent Street from the time we last visited (oh, gosh, has it been that long?) 42 years ago!  But now, we think it’s just called Liberty or, as the website calls it, Liberty London.  It was a luxury department store known for beautiful scarves — and still is if the goods displayed are any indication.  As a young traveler, I was enamored with fashion, but now I gaze admiringly at architecture —  especially old architecture — and finishes such as the floors, stairwells and rails in Liberty.

But our parting shot has to be this one: a refined, yet quite fashionable sales lady who approached us quietly and demurely just to see if we had any questions or needed her support.  She epitomized salespeople we remembered from the “old days” when department stores, those bastions of customer service and fine goods for “milady,” catered to shoppers and their every need.  Her dress, jewelry, even her personal stature made a statement, and also a memorable shot of the London we had remembered,  still here at Liberty!

Poised and fashionably dressed -- the lady at Liberty

Poised and fashionably dressed — the lady at Liberty

With all its vibrancy and history and frenetic big city bustlings, London remains one of our favorite destinations.

We take a breath.  Vow to come back.  And hope it’s not 42 years from now.

Lululemon sign in London

Do you have a favorite memory of London? We’d love to hear from you.

 

 

And to read more posts on London, click here.

Happy travels — Rusha and Bert

About Oh, the Places We See

Met at University of Tennessee, been married for 47 years, and still passionate about travel whether we're volunteering with Habitat Global Village, combining work at Discovery with pleasure, or just seeing the world. Hope you'll join us as we try to see it all while we can!
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35 Responses to Parting shots: London

  1. Love your post. Made me even more excited to visit at the end of this month after reading this!

  2. lifeintrips says:

    Pretty good for such short time…

  3. We be in the UK in 2 weeks and 4 days in London–great ideas to help us trim down our itinerary!

  4. Sophie Soubrettes says:

    Really enjoyed this. Carnaby Street is the best!
    http://sophiesoubrettes.wordpress.com

    • We love the vibes of London, if that’s an appropriate description. The hustle, the with-it clothing, the shops that lure you in with great displays. Can you tell it’s one of my fave cities? Thanks for commenting!

  5. agnesstramp says:

    Great post about London! The photos are amazing, you have visited so many beautiful places in London!

  6. The last time I was in London I was twenty years old! So it has been a while… Nice collection of photos abd descriptions. Sometimes just a few days does in an exciting place does the trick. And of course walking the streets is the best way to see a city. Totally agree.

    Abbey Road was my very first record! I listened to it over and over from the distant country of South Africa. And Twiggy? Ah yes….:)

    Peta

  7. We spent a week in London a few years back. We went with a couple that had been there numerous times and really knew their way around. We did all the touristy things, but that was okay because we were in awe of it all. 🙂

    • We still have a few more touristy things to check off our list, too. But what fun that would be! We love big cities with all the things to do and see — but we just love strolling and taking in the vibes, too. When you live in a suburban neighborhood as we do, a city feels quite energizing to us!!

  8. Glad you got to explore London! I adore this city, and Liberty is my favourite shop 🙂

  9. Amy says:

    A wonderful post of London! We were there in September. 🙂

  10. Lots of memories, Rusha, including getting lost in multi-story bookstores. I think you and Bert did a marvelous job with your short time. That pigeon/horse head shot is great. –Curt

    • Loved watching that guy feed the pigeons. So interesting what I’ll stare at when we travel, but that was fun. Thanks for the compliments. We try to pack in a lot when we travel. Don’t know when we’ll get back!

  11. Valentina says:

    I have fond memories of London. The craziness of Londoners way of dressing is what I remember the most and it actually influenced me so much. The woman in red skirt is one the examples.

  12. Jodi says:

    Fun to experience your glimpse of London ❤

  13. Carnaby Street brings back such good memories. I remember having my cartoon drawn by a Covent Garden artist. My eyes were impossibly blue. 😅

  14. miniontour says:

    Great picture of St. Paul’s Cathedral

    • Thanks so much! We were walking across Millennium Bridge at sunset — the glow in the sky, the people on the bridge, the view of this beautiful cathedral — well, it was a great sight! Thanks for noticing! Next time, I’m going to visit the inside. Happy Valentine’s Day to you!

  15. ralietravels says:

    We also have had a couple short visits and had to prioritize what we saw. On the last one, our priority was the British Museum, but I enjoyed a boat ride on the Thames more than I would have expected.

    • Oh, you’ve mentioned something we loved when we saw it on our previous trip: The British Museum. I would love a return trip since we didn’t seen anywhere near all of the acquisitions. I keep telling Bert we have to go back — now, here’s reason 75!!! Rusha

  16. I love Liberty!!! Such a beautiful store.

  17. There’s so much to see — and it’s not just the tourist stuff (although I love seeing old places!). Best wishes for having a grand time!

  18. 'Jadore says:

    I’m going to London this summer, this was very helpful!

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