My first evening in London was full of catching up with birdie and meeting her flat mates, three smart, driven, intelligent young women! It takes a special spirit to leave your family and friends and spend a semester in a foreign country. They were incredible and I was pleased that I was allowed to share their flat and take a peek into their lives.
They returned from an evening class with questions about Jack Johnson, The Great White Hope, and raving about a play they had seen about his life, The Royale. It turns out the evening class was actually a play they had attended, loved and they encouraged me to go to it. (You can get college credit for attending London plays? Where was this when I was in college??) So, I made plans to attend the play the next day.
My first London morning was cool and foggy. And noisy! I had spent so many days alone that I was surprised at the sounds of other people in the same room. It was also odd to hear English spoken in the flat and to me. But hey, I was in London! So I got up, got dressed, did a bit of yoga and left the flat for my first adventure. So what did I do?
Go for a run, of course!
I’m a morning runner and London mornings are perfect for me. I received instructions on how to get to the park a few blocks away and I took off. I met a few guys in suits who gave me second and third looks (was it my hair, strong legs or were they surprised to see me running in the morning?) I almost stepped in front of a bus (I forgot about the left-sided driving!) And I was getting whiplash looking at famous NGO’s (OXFAM!)
and ancient statues in a modern world.
I eventually found The Regent’s Park and it was lovely and serene. There were a few other runners out and I began an exploration that led me along a canal (yes, that’s a floating Chinese restaurant),
past the Snowdon Aviary
and incredible private gardens.
I made my way back to the entrance of the park and looked back to see these stunning gold plated gates.
Well, this was The Regent’s Park! I certainly recommend this park for a run or a stroll. It was mostly flat, winding, visually interesting and you could increase the difficulty by running up and down the stairs or ramps to the access roads. I didn’t notice any public water fountains and the bathrooms were closed (it was early) but it became my go-to place to run and I enjoyed it every morning. The streets were too dangerous for me (one way streets, left sided driving, drivers hurriedly trying to get to work), the sidewalks were just as busy and I couldn’t relax and run confidently because I was zigzagging through pedestrians. The Regent’s Park is one of many in London and when I return I’ll have the opportunity to run in the others.
Have you visited London parks? Which were your favorites?