Friday may have been our most festive day in London of this whole trip - for starters, I gave Jon the first part of his present, which I'll blog about after the 25th, and then we spent the end of a gorgeous afternoon at the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland!
Jon and I had been to the annual festival together only once before, in early December 2009. We'd had a big night out the evening before and had crashed at a flat near the Bond Street station and, in the weak light of morning, still in our party clothes, decided the best way to work through our hangovers was by experiencing Hyde Park Winter Wonderland. I have this very visceral memory of stumbling across Marble Arch, absolutely freezing because my tights had gotten ripped the night before and so I'd thrown them out, and blinking into the grim scene of mud, mud, more mud, and enforced frivolity before us.
We wanted a do-over.
So, along with the merrily heaving throngs, we approached the fair from Hyde Park Corner arm-in-arm and passed under an arch strung with evergreen branches and fairy lights that proclaimed "Angels Christmas Market." (I grumbled about the missing apostrophe after the S, of course, but only for a moment because this was a jolly outing.) After nearly three months in the States, Jon was desperate to legally drink outside on public land, so the first place we stopped at was one of the bars on site; I sang along as a live band played Sweet Home Alabama while Jon bought himself a pint. We wound our way through the stalls, admiring the tchotchkes for sale and having intense debates about the merits of the varied food options. After a quick snack - Jon chose a pulled pork sandwich and I settled on a ham and cheese crepe - I found myself being strapped into the Star Flyer alongside my husband, who had somehow gotten me to forget that I'm terrified of heights.
I had to talk to myself through the entire 60-foot ascent because I was freaking out so much, but I did manage to open my eyes a few times as we swung around and I admitted for the second time that day that London is truly beautiful from up high.
Once our feet were firmly on the ground, we set our sights northward and came out of Hyde Park near Marble Arch. We had a quick aspirational meander through Selfridges and took one last gander at the Oxford Street Christmas lights before heading home to dinner, bed, and Suffolk the next morning.
It really is the most wonderful time of the year, isn't it?