London – Beginning a new life
“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending” – Carl Bard
The last weekend of August/2013, I travelled to London to visit my friend Charlotte, who has recently started a “new life” in the English capital.
She has recently ended a relationship of 18 years. She moved out of the cottage in the country side, into her new apartment in North London.
For many people to start a new life would be to change jobs or to move house or to end a relationship.
For Charlotte it was all of the above.
For most people just one of these life changing events could be enough to send them into a downward spiral, Charlotte has taken these new challenges with courage and positivity, and is slowly but surely moving on and taking control of her destiny again.
Charlotte and I have been friends since University (we did a Postgraduate Diploma in Nutrition and Dietetics), and I was very much looking forward to visit her, to peep into her new life and to explore some of what London has to offer.
We arranged to meet up just outside Waterloo Station and from there we walked towards the London Eye, it was a lovely warm evening and there were lots of people enjoying the outdoors, sitting on the grass, drinking and laughing.
Charlotte and me with the London Eye in the background..
We walked along the River Thames towards the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank and we decided to stop for a drink at a roof top bar, with beautiful views of the river. The roof top bar is surrounded by beautiful gardens with wild flowers, fruit trees, vegetable patches and wood sculptures. It has been open since the London Olympics, but is only open during the Summer. Great place to stop for a drink.
Later on, we had dinner at a lovely Mexican restaurant started by one of the Master chef contestants. They have a great selection of Mexican street food.
We headed home after our Mexican meal. Charlotte’s apartment is an easy ride on the London underground to a tube station in North London.
The next day, she gave me a tour of her neighbourhood and later we went for a walk at Hampstead Heath. London has many of these great green spaces which make you feel that you are in the countryside.
We had lunch there at the outdoor restaurant …a trip down memory lane since we ate there few years ago with some of our colleagues from University.
We were so lucky to have a gorgeous sunny, warm day and we made the most of it.
From Hampstead Heath, Charlotte took me to see a Mexican exhibition at the Royal Academy of Art.
Again we used the underground and I took pictures along the way.
Here’s me inside Charing Cross Station.
From the Mexican exhibition we had dinner at a Greek restaurant and afterwards finished the night at “The Old Vic “, to see a Tennessee Williams play : Sweet Bird of Youth, with an amazing cast, including Kim Cattrall.
On Sunday morning, after breakfast we headed to Alexandra Palace (Ale Pali), an area of London, that although very beautiful, is not fully appreciated and not often on the tourist trail.
This is such an interesting part of London, the first BBC antenna is located there.
The grounds are very picturesque for walking, cycling or just lying on the grass with a pic nic.
We spent quite some time looking around. There was an Indian wedding happening inside Alexandra Palace, it is such a good place to have a wedding party.
Not far from “Ale Pali”, down the steep hill, there was a Farmer’s Market, selling some lovely local produce, such as smoked fish, cheese, etc. I bought a lovely picture for my lounge from a Photographer that was exhibiting some of his work there.
We ate our lunch at the Market and afterwards, Charlotte took me to the train station. The end of a perfect weekend in London.
As I said good bye to my friend, I felt reassured that her new life in London was going to be great and I was already looking forward to my next visit.