Opulent and Over-the-Top

We started our trip in London and had allowed for 2 days at the end of the adventure to see a few more things in the capital.  One of the things that I wanted to see was the Royal Albert Hall and take a tour of this magnificent venue.

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Unfortunately, it was closed for maintenance so I had to be content with seeing it from the outside.  I am sure it is stunning inside but I will have to save that experience for another time.

Directly opposite the hall, in Kensington Gardens, is The Albert Memorial.  It was commissioned by Queen Victoria in memory of her husband, Prince Albert and is an over-the-top Victorian extravaganza.

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From here we made our way to nearby Knightsbridge and that most famous department store, Harrods.  I had heard of the Egyptian escalator and here it is.

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We wandered through the food hall and just shook our heads in amazement.  Then there were the Christmas goodies.

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This was too much for me and I had to get out and back into the ‘real’ world for a while.

In the midst of all the high-end retailers we stumbled upon a Peruvian food street stall in Jermyn Street.  We bought a very modestly priced lunch of spiced chicken, rice, quinoa and salad.  Once we were re-fuelled our next stop was Fortnum & Mason’s where we were greeted by the doorman.

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The staircase was more like the entrance to a grand home than a department store.  It was replete with red carpet, red velvet-covered handrails and chandeliers on every level.

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The Christmas decorations were amazing – not a single paper chain in sight!

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This was one of the window displays.

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Our final stop was Liberty of London.  I do not have any photos as I was in a state of sensory overload by this time.  You will just have to believe me when I say that chandeliers, decorations, the stock and prices were all just over-the-top.  These are just 3 examples, albeit fairly extreme ones, of the consumerist mindset.  I also saw shop after shop selling clothes, homewares and jewellery in unbelievable quantities at ridiculous prices.

Everything we saw today had to be seen to be believed but there is clearly no understanding of the concept of ‘enough’.  It is really difficult to reconcile the extravagance that I witnessed with the reality of so many in this country who are struggling to keep a roof over their head and feed the family 3 meals a day.

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