Friday 11 December 2009

A walk through London with Christmas Markets and a bit of culture

I enjoyed an early morning meeting with Christian Berner and colleagues from Revacom in London. Not only was it an informative and enjoyable event, it also gave me an opportunity to go on a meandering perambulation through the capital afterwards. Part more business - looking at Christmas Markets for another client - and part pleasure by visiting the Anish Kapoor exhibition and the Rosetta Stone.
The route started by exiting the tube at Mansion House as Blackfriars Station by our meeting place in the Crown Plaza was closed. The walk down Victoria Street afforded glimpses of St Pauls in the rush hour sunlight. After the meeting, it was across Blackfriars Bridge to the South Bank, walking towards the London Eye.
The Cologne Christmas Market spread in a ribbon on either side of Hungerford Bridge. The little chalets were frequented by a smattering of visitors at around midday, with the Eye rotating majestically in the background.
I took the Jubilee Footbridge to cross over the Thames again and via Northumberland Avenue, found myself negotiating a Climate protestors village in Trafalgar Square before reaching Picadilly Circus in the throes of being a building site.
I found the Royal Academy, and the queue, off Picadilly. A half hour wait and I was in the Anish Kapoor exhibition that was ending this week. “Shooting in the Corner” was of brief interest but “Yellow” was surprising for the vertigo it induced when standing very close. Leaving the exhibition, I ate an excellent salad lunch in the Burlington house restaurant, before setting off again.
A long walk down Picadilly brought me to Hyde Park where the “Winter Wonderland” gateway incongruously stood. This Christmas market was large, and by 3pm, getting very busy. At one end were the many stalls, some constructs very large, whilst at the far end, the brash funfair lured in the thrill seekers.
The winter light was fading as walked to a deserted Speakers Corner and Marble Arch to enter the bright lights of the shopping parade that is Oxford Street. A portion of prime construction land had been fenced off and enclosed a smaller Christmas Market adorned by a German Christmas Pyramid that sold Bratwurst – at £3 a go, I gave the sausages a miss.
The pre rush hour crush had started as I walked the 2km along the illuminated Oxford Street to reach the British Museum off Great Russell Street. At 5pm, there was just time to pop in to see the Rosetta Stone, which gave the breakthrough in the translation of Egyptian Hieroglyphics. Another kilometer and I gratefully boarded the Piccadilly line at Holborn to start my way home again after a good 10km tour!

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