Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I Queue for Kew

Tuesday, August 22, 2006.

Slept well and woke up at 7:00AM. It was a bright morning, sun was shining, so I thought I'd make the most of the morning and tty to get over my jet lag outside. I wandered up to the South Kensington Tube stop. From here, I caught the district line towards Richmond. Kew Gardens is the stop before Richmond. Within 30 minutes I was at Kew, walking down the road to the Royal Botanical Gardens. Originally two royal estates, these gardens date from the 18th century. I went to the ticket kiosk and nearly died. It's £11.75 to get in! That's over $20!!!! Sure, it's 300 acres of amazing gardens and botanical rarities, and they're doing some great conservation work but I can't believe how much it costs to get it. But plenty of folks were paying it, so what do I know?

I joined the morning tour of the grounds. We went through the palm house, the waterlily house, and the cedar avenue. Very insightful discussion about the work that goes on at Kew. I spent six hours just walking and sitting under trees, trying to stay awake. Lunch was to be found at the Orangerie, a former building that housed an indoor orange grove. Didn't work so well in that capacity, but it is a fine lunch room. My favorite part of the gardens was the nosegay garden next to Kew Palace. It's a medicinal garden, full of plants used in folk remedies, as well as modern medicine. Mullberry, dock, lavender, shallots, etc. Pretty and fragrant.

After my lengthy garden stroll, I was pretty pooped. I stopped by a café and had a pot of tea and scone to carry me over until dinner.

Back to the hotel to freshen up and I went out to La Bouchee on Old Brompton Road for dinner. Tasty French place with an early bird special. Naturally I missed the special, but I did have some great, tiger prawns sautéed with garlic, herbs, and olive oil. I also had a open, goat cheese ravioli. Superb.

I headed over to Paddington Station to pick up my train tickets for the morning. Good thing, because Paddington is a zoo during rush hour.

Back to the room, where I had a stomach ache and then could not sleep. Stupid jet lag. My afternoon in the garden did nothing to help me sleep. Ugh.

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