Wednesday, 12 December 2018

London, England (Kensington Hilton, Holland Park) 

The day started early by meeting a friend for breakfast. I’ve been sleeping in most mornings and it was good to be up and about earlier in the day. I used to be a morning person when I was working. Up at 5:00 a.m. (or earlier) to get a jump on the day. Of course I try to fit a nap into my daily activities. That is something that I like now that I’m retired. 

This is my first year when I don’t have a steady travel buddy to share the London Christmas experience. Just meeting up randomly with the few people I know. A travel buddy helps to make sure I’m getting the most out of being in London. Perhaps I’ve been here so many times that it doesn’t doesn’t have the awe and wonder that I found unique when I first visited. Though, at the end of the day, it is a great place to be. 

Last night’s benefit Christmas Program performance (or I should say performances) at the Royal Albert Hall was an experience. Actually any event at the Royal Albert Hall is considered to be exceptional. The venue is massive, well-managed, and the lighting and sound are tuned for the great hall. The Keller Auditorium in Portland doesn’t even come close. 

As for the event last night, being a benefit (for Bloodwise, a charity that supports funding for blood cancer research) there were appeals for funding and testimonials, but the quality of the performers (and singing the Christmas carols) made it special. We had the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra providing the music, an organist, and many guest performers. I had a box seat near the front of the stage, so got a up-close (though I had to keep my head turned towards the stage) look at the performers. But to look out at the mass of people who attended the event (in a 5,200 capacity hall) was awesome. Yet again, no one to share with me the experience. No matter, I still had a great time.

This afternoon I walked over to Westfield (the nearby shopping mall, which is massive) to have a Chinese chicken-noodle dish that I like. Then stopped off at Waitrose to pick up a few healthy snacks for my room. I shouldn’t need anything more to eat for the rest of the day. On the way back I started to get a migraine so I laid down for a quick nap. Before doing so I made reservations to see the movie Bohemian Rhapsody in Piccadilly. 

When I woke from my nap I still had a slight headache, but left for the movie anyway. I had tickets for the 7:40 p.m. showing. I went to what I thought was the place showing the movie, but it turns out many people get it confused with the Vue Movie House at another nearby location. It was getting close to 7:40 p.m. but I knew that there would be 20 – 30 minutes of commercials and previews before the movie. So, no rush. On the way I got to walk through Leicester Square and past a number of West End shows that were playing. The friend I met for breakfast saw Hamilton the night before. But paying over 200 pounds for one show? 

The movie theater had large comfortable seats that reclined slightly. Nice! I had reserved a seat (Row E, Seat #1) but when I got into the theater, I found it was located on the far end of a row next to a wall. I would have to crawl over all of the people who arrived before me. And if I wanted to use the restroom during the movie…  I found an empty seat closer to the screen (one the aisle), which was okay. The movie was very entertaining. Brought back a lot of memories of the music from the period. I can tell when I like a movie when I’m not checking my watch for the time. (I only checked my watch once.)

After the movie I found that the nearest underground station (that would put me on the Central Line that goes to a stop near to my hotel) was a nine minute walk away. This route took me through another part of the West End that I hadn’t been to before. 

The weather is London is turning cold and I forgot to wear a hat. I’ll also need to remember to take along a scarf next time I’m out. It was a cold walk to the underground station, then from Shepherds Bush station (near to my hotel) to my hotel. I was thankful that it wasn’t raining. Was thinking that snow would be welcome though. 

Not sure what I’m doing tomorrow. I’ll decide after I wake up. 


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