Technically, we live in the busy metropolis of London, but the neighborhood in which we reside feels more like a quiet, quaint little village. The word picturesque does not seem to do it justice. Early Sunday morning, I snuck away for a walk through the cobble stone streets of Hampstead in attempt to capture some of the characteristics that make it so beautiful:
As soon as I step out the door, one sharp breath of crisp air immediately wipes away the sleep in my eyes. The brilliant sun is just starting to peek over the eaves of buildings, streaming in at a low winter angle and catching the sparkle of the last bit of frost. I pass by wearied dog owners in muddy wellies and parents in rumpled clothes awakened prematurely yet obediently chasing after their exuberant pets and scootering toddlers who are eager to blaze trails. I am unclear as to who is in charge. Beautiful grand entry doors smartly decorated in classic green wreaths and red bows catch my eye. Mossy covered bricks everywhere I look echo the holiday colour scheme and I am struck by how perfect Christmas looks on England. The clip clop rhythm of my leather boots connecting with uneven cobbles is soothing, vaguely reminiscent of the horses that must have once walked these same streets, but does not drown out the prominently beautiful chiming of bells bellowing out of huge old churches and audible from every point of my 3 mile walk round town. I walk by a few pubs and peer through the window. Traditional Sunday roasts won't begin for another few hours still but the delicious smell of slowly cooked meats and savoury sides waft out through vents and linger in my nose. The air is cold but I feel warm just looking at the wooden tables by the fireplace. My tummy rumbles and I make a note to call for reservations as my pace quickens. A few church services are letting out crowds of sweet little old ladies and families bundled in pea coats. I return home humming "...bread of Heaven, bread of heaven feed me til I want no more . . " and look forward to spending the rest of the day doing some sightseeing in central London. It's a perfect little place for us and one that someday our forever hometown will resemble. Another time, another place . . . hell, another continent. But for now, we truly want no more.