Hot and sweaty in the city

The Serpentine Hyde Park London
The Serpentine Hyde Park London

A few weeks back I noticed that there was a exhibition of photograph at the Royal Geographic Society. In fact it was the Travel Photographer of the Year exhibition. Helen agreed that we should go and see the exhibition and after having mentioned it to A& C they said they’d like to join us so on Saturday they picked us up from the house at about 9:15am so we could get the 9:45 train from Berkhamsted.

We parked up at the usual spot near the back of the station then went to the ticket office and managed to bag ourselves a £7 discount on the usual £20 travelcard tickets. We could not find 4 seats together but by the time we got to Watford and after a couple of changes we ended up with a set of 4 around the table which was perfect. At Euston we got straight on the Underground and after one change got out at Kensington Tube station. We had to walk up Exhibition Road to get to the Royal Geographic Society but on the way we checked Google Maps to find the way there and I noticed that the place is closed on a Saturday.

Art in the Sackler Gallery Hyde Park

We decided to go and have a look at the entrance anyway because that was the sole reason for going to London and when we got there much to our surprise the exhibition was open and so was the cafe in the Courtyard behind. Things were looking up. I had seen some of the photos in the Press in the previous few weeks but the exhibition of the whole I must say was excellent. I find it very interesting to see the settings and lenses that the people have used to take the photograph. It was very hot wandering around in the Courtyard which seem to be a sun trap. The hot temperatures were apparently caused by a Spanish plume whatever that is. We took the opportunity before we moved on elsewhere to sit down and have a cold drink in a sunken garden within the Courtyard, where the shade & slight breeze were refreshing after the strong bright sun and heat.

We weren’t sure what to do next so we decided to head off to Hyde Park to have a look around.  We wandered up to the Albert memorial that was sparkling in the sunlight.  There are a couple of art galleries in Hyde park which is something I was previously unaware of. We visited a couple (choosing the shadier paths to navigate the park) and found that the air conditioning was a very welcome relief from the oppressive temperatures outside which was in the low thirty’s.  The exhibitions were quite different; the first was oil character portraits which were well executed.  The second was rather more unusual. It was life size figures of people doing ordinary things, a chap on a sit on lawn mover, a lady seated reading, children playing.  Some were extremely realistic and Helen sidled past them suspiciously, half anticipating one of them to be a real person who suddenly moves as some sort of modern art interactive installation. They did’nt though.

Ferris Wheel Marble Arch

We managed to mislay one of the party on the subway when she nipped onto a train but we didn’t get there quite in time. We weren’t sure what to do but decided that as we had all agreed to go to Liverpool Street we would get on the next train and hopefully meet up further down the line. The Underground carriages were extremely hot probably maybe 40 degrees so we were very glad to get off the train, where missing A was waiting for us stating for a moment she had felt like a lost child.

C got a little bit geographically challenged when we were wandering around back streets looking for Spitalfields market, but eventually we found the place and wandered in to have a look round. There were lots of street food sellers there, the falafel samples were great but we couldn’t find anywhere to sit so we ended up in a pub restaurant called Smiths and we had some great food. I had a fish finger sandwich in some brown bread which was lovely.  The halloumi and avocado salads were much appreciated by the others. Iced cider also went down too with some of the party.

Lverpool Street Station

Suitably refreshed we had a look around and had a meander through the market back towards Liverpool Street tube station. It was too hot for shopping which was felt to be a wasted opportunity by the rest of the party. There were lots of interesting shops and stalls which will be visited at a later, cooler date.   The rest of the journey home was pretty uneventful. Air conditioned tube (wonderful!) to Euston Square then we had a 20 min wait for a train back to Euston. All in all a good day out with friends despite the extreme temperatures and that we thought the RGS might be closed.