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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Hyde Park



Open green grass seems cluttered only with bodies, relaxed and in motion. Blankets color space between tall trees and active footballs spark interest among calm scenery. Visitors within Hyde Park each bring their own purpose, they embrace leisure and activity within this royal plot of nature to savor a few hours of outside enjoyment.

Unusually sunny weather welcomed a large crowd of visitors to the park yesterday. Strollers weaved their way through bicycles as people made their way towards the Wellington Arch on Hyde Park Corner. They came to enter a green palace of open spaces and sweet smelling flowers.

There is a place for everyone in Hyde Park—old or young, lovers or friends.

I spotted couples lying together under trees and by the water of the Serpentine while some lovers relaxed on benches within small gardens.

Other people, friends or families, came with food and wine to enjoy a lunch in the company of a beautiful environment. Some people even shared their afternoon sandwiches with woodland visitors that waddled close by.

The park is desirable for many people because of its diverse recreational opportunities such as boating, swimming and rollerblading.

Rows of small orange cones decorate some walkways and usually signal that a set of rollerblades will be appearing shortly. Weaving through cones help bladers improve skills and Hyde Park seems like a perfect area to practice.

One man that I observed looked especially dedicated to the sport. Shirt off, dressed only in jeans and blades, he speed through the cones on one leg like a swift thread through fabric. His precision was amazing.

Do not be frightened though, all bladers in the park are not all of professional quality. In fact, many beginners take lessons in the park and can be seen practicing alongside experienced skaters all the time.

One specific group of fun-seekers I saw were learning a strange looking version of rollerblading. They looked like they were participating in some type of cross-country ski rollerblading. Their rollerblades were extended like skis and they had poles they were pushing off with. Most looked a little wobbly, but smiling faces showed that a fun time was being had by most.

When visitors become parched from the activities of the day, they can stop by a café like the Serpentine bar & kitchen for a drink or they can grab a cool treat from the small vendors in the park. They can even dip their feet in a path of fresh water.

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Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain is a refreshing and attractive site that I thought was worth seeing. Water ripples down small hills and flows in a circle that is extraordinarily tempting to small children.

Little legs splash and kick around in the water memorial. A little girl dressed in only her underwear looked like she was having a great time wading around in a little waterfall.

She was kindly asked to sit on the side; according to park regulations visitors are not to walk on the Memorial. However, upon observation, I realized that this seems to be a rule nearly impossible to follow. It appears that these children embrace a lively spirit close to that of Princess Diana that will live on through their own interpretation of royal rules.

 

While in the area of Hyde Park there was another royal destination that I was sure not to miss.

As I walked on the wide paths that curved through the parks, gardens colored my journey. The smell of sweet peonies dances through the air as honeysuckle entices a travel further. Soon, I found myself in Kensington Gardens.

Kensington Gardens used to be considered part of Hyde Park but now stands alone as its own royal park. The flowers—roses, carnations, bearded irises, and more—are a beautiful site to see, but one of the most popular attractions, especially for children, is the statue of Peter Pan.

I witnessed a group of kids check out the statue, Pan mounted on a pedestal of nature images and posed figures. One boy seemed particularly interested in climbing up the statue, thinking of himself as a figure of Peter Pan—mischievous but accomplished. After climbing the statue he realized that his friends had lost interest and moved onto another part of the park.

He ran so fast, it seemed like he was flying.

 

            After all of my time at and around Hyde Park, I realized that while the nature, the gardens, and the statues add to the lure of the area, there is something that the park could not be without. People, whether they are splashing in royal fountains or rollerblading through the gardens, appear to be the life and breath of Hyde Park.



 

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