“Our England is a garden and such gardens are not made
By saying “Oh how beautiful” and sitting in the shade.” — Rudyard Kipling, “the Glory of the Garden”
It’s been a week of London traffic, and we’re getting used to minding the gap when we “alight” (yes, they say “alight”) the tube, and heeding the signs painted on the curbs that warn “Look right” or “Look left.” Now, it was time for a little getaway to the Kew Gardens, a.k.a. the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew, just west of London. From the train station we walked a short distance down a charming street of single family homes until we got to the Victoria Gate.
Everything about London seems to be vast, and so were these gardens, about 300 acres. We visited the Palm House and its neighbor the Water Lily House, two beautiful (and muggy!) Victorian greenhouses, then walked down long, long paths to take in all that serenity and gorgeousness and to snap a zillion pictures of pretty stuff along the way. Like everything in London, Kew has a long and illustrious history. There’s a tree called “the old lion” that was planted in 1762, fourteen years before our Declaration of Independence was written.
We soaked up the peace and quiet for a couple of hours, had lunch at a cute place called the Tap on the Line, then rode back to the Earl’s Court.
Still time for one more sight to see! Not far from our apartment is the Stamford Bridge Stadium, the home ground of the Chelsea Football Club. Mike cheerfully trekked through the Liberty of London store the other day, and now it was his turn to check out a must -see.
We Chicagoans think Wrigley Field is a big deal, but this stadium and its team are world renowned. In our tour group, there were soccer fans from Italy, France, Saudi Arabia, the Ukraine, Canada, Kuwait, and Seattle, all eager to see this storied park. An affable, witty tour guide named Len led us through the stadium, the press room, the opponents’ and home team’s locker rooms, then through the tunnel and into the dugout at the side of the hallowed ground of the pitch. One big dif between this stadium and those in the U.S. is that there is no drinking in the seats, only out in the concourse. Hooliganism prevention. Imagine sitting through a game in the States without a beer in hand, or a hot dog or nachos. Unfathomable.
A pretty cool place. We think there are some soccer fans at home who’ll be happy with what we picked up in the gift shop, too.