Today I got to do something I never dreamed would be a reality. I rode a horse in Hyde Park! It was like a dream as I floated on the back of a beautiful black and white Irish Draught horse. Riding through the legendary park was every bit as enchanting as I had imagined. The best part was that Philip was there with me! And he can ride! Who knew? I love that we can still surprise each other after 8 years of marriage. He picked up a posting trot like it was nothing and this was only his 4th time on a horse! I know, I’m gushing but I just can’t help falling more in love with my husband after a day like today.
Sorry, back to the amazing experience. We had perfect riding weather, cool and calm. It was 9 am so there weren’t too many people in Hyde Park. It almost felt like we had it to ourselves. We had two great guides riding with us and when they were confident with our skills, I got to lead the pack down the fabled Rotten Row Bridal Way, one of the most famous urban riding grounds in the world. It dates back to 1690 when William III requested a route connecting his palaces. The five mile dirt trail was calling to me as I let my horse Monte quicken his pace. Philip was riding a sweet warm-blood named Barron and they kept pace along with us. A few tourists stopped to take pictures, excited to catch a glimpse of our four prancing steeds, plodding up the turf and puffing steamy morning dew through their flaring nostrils. I was truly in my glory.
Ever since I was little girl, I was obsessed with the majesty of horses. I grew up riding with my mom and aunt and neighbors. Taking lessons, mucking stalls, dragging my family to horse shows every Sunday. I was a barn brat. My family was an amazing support system to my riding habit and they continue to be such a great source of love and support in all my endeavors, but horseback riding will always make me thing of my grandparents.
Nana and Pops used to come to all of my horse shows. Totting a camper full of breakfast sandwiches and coffee, Pops was a horse show staple. He probably felt pretty at home at the barns since he’d been a show dad since my mom was little. Horses have given me so many great things, but my fondest may be the many great memories spending time with my grandparents. Pops being the amazing grandfather that he is was so proud of me for being honored at the London Book Festival that he sent me a money order and said “Go have fun kid!” Or at least that’s what I interpreted his Bronx scribble to say.
So Pops I want to say Thank You! I had the time of my life riding through Hyde Park with Philip. It was a surreal and unforgettable experience that I will cherish forever!
My head was in the clouds after our incredible morning ride. With rosy cheeks from our brisk work out, we made our way to yet again, Starbucks. We had another breakfast and defrosted a bit while we planned the rest of the day, which consisted mostly of sightseeing and eating, but another great highlight was getting to donate 4 copies of my book to the London Book Trust.
I am so happy to have The Geneva Project be a part of the Book Trust family. Their goal is to change lives through reading by promoting literacy. Their priority is working with children and families and they offer many great programs and resources so that everyone can enjoy the gifts that reading can bring into your lives. I hope I can work with them further and help support their reading initiatives in any way I can.
After the Book Trust we headed to the South Bank. We wanted to check out a local pub called The Anchor that we had seen a few days earlier on our river cruise. It’s had a long history in London, hosting a tavern, a brothel and a brewery. Some of its most notable patrons were said to be Shakespeare, Dickens and Johnson. It’s also said that this is where Samuel Pepys sat watching the great fire of 1666 burn the medieval city of London to ash.
Philip and I each had a pint, while we shared a meal on an old wooden table inside the pub, wondering what these walls must have seen.
Right near the Anchor is the Globe Theater. Constructed originally in 1599, this was William Shakespeare’s beloved playhouse. The re-creation, built a few feet away from the original site was erected in 1997. It’s now a historical landmark that can be visited and toured. Candle lit plays are still performed there, in the adjoining Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.
That pretty much concluded our day. We were frozen and tired from all our adventures so we headed back to Islington. We stopped in at our favorite local café, Bill’s for some tea and dessert before retiring to our hotel for the night.
Tomorrow Stonehenge is on the agenda! Cheers til then.