Nowadays, I feel like we forget what it's like to cherish our own company. Whether it's a meal at a restaurant or an outdoors activity, we always feel the need to bring someone along. Don't get me wrong. I understand the merits of company and the importance of sharing experiences with others. One may argue that sharing an experience is the only way it can transcend one's self. But isn't it equally valid to say that we should try to cherish the experiences that we alone face? The experiences that we alone can describe to others?
I've been eating out alone for a while and I don't intend on stopping anytime soon. However, I thought this time round, I could try something different. Nothing particularly special ... just a little exploration of cosy Hampstead.
I started off the day with a trek to Hampstead High Street. There seems to be something about secluded high streets that I adore - they're like little kept secrets. I find that they are the best places to keep to yourself while being surrounded by other like-minded folk.
After a bit of walking and window shopping I settled at Gail's Bakery for a light lunch. I indulged in my never disappointing order of raisin scones with cream and jam - perfectly buttery, perfectly warm and perfectly good. This was enjoyed with a serving of iced tea and a savoury side order of smoked salmon sandwiches.
As you can imagine, I was immediately energised to set out for Hampstead Heath - one of London's largest and most beautiful parks. The views were stunning and the weather was just right. As I walked by the lakes, I heard loud splashes of water and later observed large groups of spirited teenagers taking an afternoon dip. Thereafter, I walked through some sunlit trees and climbed Parliament hill where I got an amazing view of London. I could have stayed at this prized spot for hours but I decided to move on to explore other areas of the park. My last stop on this well-trodden trail was the beautiful Kenwood House, which has now been converted into a museum and boasts an exquisite neo-classical exterior.
In between the popular attractions in the park, I experienced minutes of utter isolation walking through the vast fields and dense forests. Such moments produced odd combinations of serenity and discomfort - rare sensations that I would like to relive soon.
My day was soon over and boy was I tired. It was nevertheless a day well spent - a day involving just Hampstead and myself, and that's all that mattered.