London 2018: Sites

Kensal Green Cemetery and Paddington Basin

No trip of mine would be complete without a visit to one of the local cemeteries. I picked Kensal Green because it’s mentioned in Atlas Obscura as the “oldest park cemetery in London.”

We decided to walk there. The day was overcast and a little rainy. I thought it was supposed to be pretty short but it felt long, maybe because we went through a sort of not great part of town. I thought because it was along a body of water that it would be picturesque, but it wasn’t.

The cemetery also seemed unkempt. Overgrown grass, construction piled on top of graves, toppled over headstones. Eventually we’d get to a part that was a little better. It included this fancy memorial to this kid, Medi Mehra, who died at 11 in a “freak” horse riding accident. It was this oversized gazebo with a statute of him, benches, all these flowers, and what looked like two coffins. I was fascinated by it.

Yiannis suggested walking back a different way, and I found that we could go on the other side of the body of water (which was called Paddington Basin). That was much better. The town was prettier, and we could also walk right along the water, where there was plenty of graffiti.

The Albert Memorial

We saw this from far away and thought, What the heck is that? So of course we walked toward it to find out.

It’s the memorial Queen Victoria had built to her husband, Prince Albert, after he died of typhoid. Apparently, in the memorial Prince Albert is holding the catalog of the Great Exhibition, “which he inspired and helped to organise.” At each corner are statues that represent Europe, Asia, Africa and America, higher up are “figures representing manufacture, commerce, agriculture and engineering, and near the top are “gilded bronze statues of the angels and virtues.”

Pretty fancy.


London’s Chinatown is pretty small, especially compared to New York’s, but it was nice to walk through.

I got two youtiao for a pound, which I enjoyed immensely.

U.S. Embassy

This was a special treat.

One of Yiannis’s friends works here, and was kind enough to invite us in and show us around. The security was very tight, understandably so. Once we got inside it was totally worth it. Yiannis’s friend gave us a tour, showing us all the portraits of past ambassadors, lithographs of Native American chiefs and other tribal members, and the little store where employees can get American things that aren’t available in London (like Neosporin).

The bar was the last stop. It’s on the top floor and has a lovely view. Our gin and tonics were tasty (gin is definitely the liquor of London). I had two and got pretty tipsy.

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