Hampstead High Street

Hampstead High Steet

I’ve had an interesting morning so far.

I got up about six, had breakfast while the family slept, and then swiped a couple of books and walked up to Hampstead High Street thinking I’d spend an hour at a coffee shop reading and drinking coffee.

In London, most of the smaller communities (like Hampstead, where we’ve found a flat), have their own “High Street” or place of commerce and shops. Hampstead’s is particularly quaint, with old brick buildings, narrow connecting alleys, and a tube stop at the center. Our flat is about two blocks above the High Street, and only one block from Hampstead Heath, an 800 acre green park with ponds and trails and kite flying and fishing. It will be our kid’s backyard (with us along, of course).

Anyway, I made it to my desired coffee shop about 7:30 a.m., and found it closed. Sundays: opens 8:00 a.m. So for a half-hour I sat on a street bench to read. All the time, I glanced up at the architecture, which sometimes has high-end boutiques grafted into the ground floors of ancient looking brick and mortar structures. It’s an interesting history just to review the layers of wiring and cables strung up the facades, revealing different strata of upgrades.

After getting a bit chilly, I made it into the coffee house to read for an hour as sun warmed the comfortable chairs and padded booths. Then I walked back through a narrow alley to the narrow streets back to our temporary studio flat. We move into our 3-bedroom place on next Friday– it’s time to make a home. As for this afternoon, I think we’ll visit Greenwich.

Update: I’ve posted a photo gallery of our trip to Greenwich today. It was fun to walk under the Thames, visit the Old Royal Naval College, see the National Maritime Museum, and climb up to the National Observatory.

Photo credit: Richard Friedman at http://rchrd.com/photo/archives/2005/09/hampstead_high.html.

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