Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Carly's Mad March: Hyde Park vs. Trafalgar Square

So after some technical difficulties and delayed travel, it's time to kick off: "Carly's Mad March in London!" The following series of posts will concentrate on my personal favorite sites of London since arriving late last week. I again apologize in the delay of posting the bracket explorations have taken longer than expected. But enough of that, let's move onto the first match shall we?

Hyde Park vs. Trafalgar Square
To be honest, I thought this would be a clear cut winner when I first drafted the bracket. Those who know me, know I absolutely love Central Park and try to spend as much time there whether to exercise, write or people watch, so I assume Hyde Park would cruise this round like no other. I actually purposely found a hotel close to Hyde Park so I could do the same - wonder about and draw inspiration from it's landscape and inhabitants. With that said, I greatly underestimated Trafalgar Square.

Trafalgar Square
To be honest, before I came to London, I wasn't exactly sure what Trafalgar Square was and what its significance. Until arriving upon its magnificent memorial to Admiral Nelson, I didn't realize that the square commemorated his victory against Napoleon in the Battle of Trafalgar in the early 1800's. I also didn't realize that amazing sights of Big Ben and Buckingham Palace were more than visible from the square. I was also rather impressed that the square represents a gathering place for Londoners to speak out - most recently against the tax cuts and war in Libya.

Exactly one day after visiting the square, demonstrators graffitied and littered the site with their opinions of such hot topics. Nelson's column now sported protests signs and his "protective" lions were decorated with expressions of government frustration. A large countdown to the Olympic Games now sported a large red blob, blocking a portion of the days to the Games. What's interesting is that we drove by the square the evening of the protests, and by the time we returned to our hotel and turned on the news, the square was now filled with an angry mob, a small fire and broken glass. I'm quite glad I was fortunate to experience the before and after.

Hyde Park
On my first day in London, my parents and I spent an hour or so exploring our surroundings which included the perimeter of Hyde Park. There, we found the Marble Arch (original entrance to Buckingham Palace before it was moved) as well as some interesting statues including a rather large horse head with its nose facing the ground.

Later on this past weekend, we watched as more than 250,000 demonstrators protested potential government action of tax and job cuts. They were mostly peaceful until the evening (hence the trashing of Trafalgar Square). We also ventured through the park to Kensington Palace (last residence of Princess Diana) and its gardens. Gorgeous is just one of the adjectives I can use here.

But me being the person I am finds the suspended hand grasping a black car the most interesting art piece in the park. It stands across from the Dorchester with no explanation, rhyme or reason (picture above). I find it fascinating and so far, my favorite piece in the city.

While Trafalgar Square definitely made a strong run for my attention, I still have to go with my initial instincts and declare Hyde Park as the winner of this hard fought match. What can I say? I'm a sucker for green space and friendly squirrels.

Winner: Hyde Park

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