Just hanging out with the dogs and the ducks in Hyde Park

With more than 8 Royal Parks to cavort, play and stroll through, Londoners do not realize just how fortunate they are, able to “get away” from big city life and retreat to the “countryside”, at virtually a moment’s notice.  Traipsing through the lush greenery of the more than 360 acres that encompass Hyde Park, my pink-sneakered feet had ample opportunity to walk, jog and run in this tranquil oasis, commune with nature and “put their feet up” in the multitude of cafés and bistros that are scattered about the picturesque grounds.

Blessed with uncharacteristically superb weather for the first two weeks of July, the British capital was awash with sunburned Brits and foreigners, frantically mad-dashing to drugstores to purchase “sold-out” sunscreen, a once plentiful item that had over-night become a rare and precious commodity.  Outfitted with fashionable rain weather gear, puddle-jumping rain boots, and cocooned by a chic golf-size umbrella, I was equipped to handle torrential rains and monsoons, yet unprepared for sun soaked beach California type weather. After all, I was in London, where grey skies and brollies go hand in hand and are an integral part of daily life on the continent.

So, what’s a gal to do, but retreat to the air-conditioned shops and be waited upon hand and foot by eager sales associates anxious to sell you that 50% off  “steal of a deal Ted Baker leather jacket (yup, mine!), which seemed quite impractical in the 30+ degree extreme heat, but a sensible purchase for the upcoming seasonal changes. But, there’s only so much material acquisition that one can drool over, and pocketbook drained of British pounds, Euros and Canadian dollars, I was forced to spend the remainder of my time pursuing activities of a non monetary nature and hang out in Hyde Park.

With my fabulous B & B located just across the street on the north side of the park, I didn’t have far to venture, as I was mere minutes away from my London digs, if I happened to tire of meandering alongside the tree lined pathways. So, it puzzles me as to why each time I stepped foot onto the immense grounds, I inadvertently stumbled off the beaten path, losing my sense of direction and looping around in endless circles, absolutely convinced that the approaching pathway would be the one that led to the direction of home. No matter how often I consulted the map and took note of helpful landmarks, I ended up going in the complete opposite direction than I had originally intended. Now, this random “change of plans” was an acceptable diversion at the start of my day, when I was fresh and eager to embark upon endless hours of walking, but a royal pain in the you know what (actually, bandaged and blistered tootsies, to be perfectly clear) at the end of the day, when all that I dreamt of is putting my feet up and pouring myself a well-deserved glass (heck, just give me the entire tetra pack, if you please) of vino tinto.

Had I not strayed from the well laid out pathways, I would consequently not have been privy to the adorable sight of the row of geese confidently waddling along the pavement en route to yet undiscovered territories, belly-laughed till I was blue in the face watching the adorable antics of the scruffiest dog on the planet cavort in the cooling waters of Serpentine Lake and lounge in my new favourite outdoor restaurant “The Serpentine”, set along the edge of the rippling water.

There is something to be said about just going with the flow, letting the wind guide you, allowing yourself to just chill and permit yourself to get lost (literally!!), delightfully discovering random moments of memories along the way.

Come stroll through Hyde Park with me, meander off the beaten path and embrace the wonders of nature, as you strive to stay out of the shops and not squander every last penny and farthing.

Next week – What next??  Where oh where in London do my pink-sneakered feet end up??  Stay tuned!!

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