Saturday, December 23, 2017

London Holiday Lights

Though I had to go looking for holiday lights in Paris, and didn't find them in some very famous places I was expecting to see them, they were all over the place in London. Almost everywhere I turned, there was at least a little something to see.

Entering St. Pancras station from the Eurostar, there were nice seasonal touches. There was a Christmas tree somewhere, too, but it wasn't found along my path to the exit.

Exiting the tube stop for my lodging, I came across a huge glittering tree bulb. While I am all for strings of lights, this was something special.

Once night fell, it wasn't the least bit difficult to find the strings of lights. Each street had something a little different and the major streets went all out.

The photo at the top of this post is from Oxford Street, but that particular decoration was preceded by oodles of sparkly balls.

There were snowflakes.



A little something extra by Piccadilly Circus, though I have no idea what it represents. 

While I saw very few businesses in Paris decorated for the season, there were gobs of them in London. 

One of my favorites was the Hunter store... 

Peeking down alleyways, there was more to discover...

I'm kicking myself for not paying more attention to how department store windows were decorated, because I always loved looking at them as a child. But the Louis Vuitton windows grabbed my attention. This reindeer is obviously bursting with cheer.

But there's something about this Santa that feels off. I think he's too young and fashionable.

Even Scotland Yard was decorated!!!

I actually got to see what looked like some kind of reconnoitering before an operation, and as a longtime British mystery fan, I was thrilled down to my toes. However, in this day of instant communication, it seems like they should be doing this kind of thing in the parking lot behind the building. 

So, London definitely isn't lacking sparkles in the holiday season. They are plentiful and beautiful, all you could wish for, really. But as fabulous as they were, they weren't the highlight of my trip.

Geffrye Museum

I've said before that I love visiting stately homes and museums that were houses of real people, not only because I love looking at architecture and interior decor, but because I am fascinated by the way people lived in past ages. I have no idea how I've never made it to the Geffrye Museum before, even though it is quite a ride outside the center of London, because it is exactly the kind of place I love so much I could move right in.

The museum features a series of living spaces from several different time periods, set up exactly as they were then. 

But it also provides interesting, and easily digestible, information about the age and how people lived... 

...and how this affected the way houses were built...

...and lived in. 

Quite frankly, I could have stayed there forever, and been perfectly happy just absorbing what was on display. But the museum went one giant step further during the holidays.

The rooms are now not only decorated for Christmas...

...but there are also explanations of how the holiday was celebrated at each different age. I gather that we have Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, to thank for the tradition of Christmas trees.

Of course, I loved the display from my favorite period, the 1930s.

The standard information reveals this is a flat in a purpose built building meant mainly for singles and couples without children.

There is so much detail, it's simply amazing.

But the extra Christmas information is also interesting. 

I can't even begin to tell you how enthralled I was with this place. I plan to go back again and again. Which is no problem, because it's free. 

It also has the loveliest cafe overlooking a private garden, which was nicely decorated when I was there.

The reviews of the restaurant I read before deciding to eat there were so consistent in saying that the service sucks, it was actually amusing. And I can vouch for them, because the service is nothing short of atrocious. But the food is quite good and I had nowhere else to be, so it didn't worry me.

It started snowing in London the day after I left. And while that would have made for some awesome photos, it also shut down the airports for about 24 hours. Since I was sick, and had experienced freezing temperatures in both Paris and London for several days straight, I'm glad I got to leave. In spite of missing out on gorgeous snow scenes, a little of that kind of cold and wet weather goes a long way for me. 

It was 30 degrees warmer, with sunshine and palm trees when I got back to Morocco, and I was very happy to see it. I'll be telling you all about it soon.

In the meantime, I hope all of you have a very happy holiday!

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