Monday, 17 May 2010

Kew Gardens

What a nice way to spend the weekend!

Saturday, and we had decided to go to Kew Gardens in London for the day, as I hadn't been for...ugh...27 years, and A had never been. Parking in the area, as in all of London, is a nightmare, and so we had planned a very early start to arrive by about 10am. And so it was, with iron determination and resolve that we slept in as the bed was so cosy that morning and set off two hours late. I have driven along the roads of most of Europe, but none are as frustrating as the roads in this country. Apart from the constant roadworks, the other annoying factor is the british driver, who today had decided to take his eye off the road on one occasion, causing a major problem on the M3/M27 junction (I imagine that only british drivers know why this is such a problem!). The crash, and I honestly do pray that all concerned were ok, involved a Landrover towing a very big yacht, the former ending up flat, and the latter being lifted by crane onto a huge flatbed truck. Enough of the crash, suffise to say that the traffic queue stretched for miles and added another hour and a half to the journey.

And so it was that at gone midday we arrived at our destination and parked up under some lovely cooling trees next to the Thames river and the entrance to Kew.

I won't go on and on about every aspect of these superb gardens, if you want to know more then click on my link under gardens, on the right of the blog page. Many, many pictures were taken and I could ramble on for days about the place but I will try to summerise.Above is the Palm House, a vast glasshouse full of tropical palms and plants, with a walkway around the inside at canopy height for some good views within.
We started off through the Rhododendron area and continued through the Bluebell Woodland where vista after vista of bluebells open out before your eyes....absolutely beautiful! These beautiful vistas end at Queen Charlottes Cottage, which you can just see in the photo above.

Of course, Kew is vast, and refreshments are needed. Being from German stock usually something such as a Warsteiner would be looked for, but a Bud had to suffice today....I tried to make it last as long as A's camomile tea but lost the battle as one does!

The Temperate House is a colossal victorian structure of iron and glass. Truly immense and impressive, with different zones within and a walkway around the inside about two thirds of the way up. I could go on about whats inside but I will leave that to you to either visit yourselves or click the link. In the summer, Kew have open air music concerts over a series of days here, with the glasshouse as the backdrop. Jools Holland and his band are one of the performers that I would love to go and see this year.

The Temperate House

The Palm House

We had been walking for hours through the grounds, stopping to look at or stroll through the many places that there are. We had run out of time to see the Princess of Wales Conservatory, the houses, and all the other things nearer the main entrance, even the treetop walkway, but we couldn't leave without visiting the Waterlily House where the famous Victoria lilies are kept.

Of course, there are other wonderful plants to see in here, but these large lilies steal the show, and are surrounded by Nymphea of other varieties and stunning colours.

The one below was particularly stunning and had attracted a horde of professional photographers, me not being one of them!

And so it was that our day had to end, and so we left this magical place with a determination to come again very soon to see the things that we hadn't this time.
Kew runs alongside part of the Thames, where if you still have some energy, you can walk along the path next to it for miles and enjoy the sights that unfold. We had to settle for walking back to the van, some half a mile or so, and couldn't help but notice the guy who had made his home on the boat in the picture below. Not a bad life eh?
That's all folks!

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