Cemeteries of London, OR Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

After last week’s blog post, I seem to find myself mostly empty. I have these kinds of days a lot — I’ll say something big that I’ve been holding in for a while, and then sit in stony silence for ages afterwards. So this week I have a relatively quiet update~

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(Yes, the post title is a reference to the Coldplay song. I like Coldplay. I admit it.)

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As the amount of schoolwork I need to do increases, my will to complete it drastically decreases. And when this necessary work reaches a critical high point, I run away from it altogether. That’s what I was doing last week when a friend and I went to Borough Market for the lunch/dinner version of brunch — or, as we’ve pathetically tried to rename it, dunch/linner/lupper. None of these names has stuck. With good reason.

Borough Market on the south bank is indoors and outdoors at once: there aren’t any walls, but there’s a giant steel-and-glass ceiling stretching over X number of food carts featuring chai, honey, spices, meats, pies, ready-made meals, etc. Word of warning: if you wear a nice wool coat to this place, it will smell like smoked meats for days afterwards.

Borough Market, Southwark.

Highgate Cemetery (east).

A few days later I visited Highgate Cemetery in Islington with a visiting Princeton friend (who actually does some of his own blogging here). We took the bus to Archway station and took a brisk, westward walk to find Highgate. It’s a gorgeous and atmospheric Victorian cemetery opened to relieve the overcrowding in graveyards closer to central London. There are two parts to it, east and west, the former of which features this famous (and slightly disturbing) grave:

Karl Marx’s grave, Highgate Cemetery (east).

The more ornamental, eerie west side features an equally famous, equally creepy Egyptian-inspired  passageway and all sorts of stone vaults.

Highgate Cemetery (west).

The day we went, it was gray and slightly drizzly and so cold I lost feeling in my feet as the tour guide ushered us around the western portion. Even so, fall/winter is the time to see this place — I can’t imagine it having the same effect in the spring or summer. The leaves need to be on the ground, your breath needs to hang in the air, and the air needs to be a little damp and dreary.

Highgate Cemetery (west).

Highgate Cemetery (east).

Highgate Cemetery (west).

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It’s been getting dark quite early now. The beginnings of sunset colors appear at the edge of the sky at just after four in the afternoon, and by 5 p.m., everything looks like this:

Westminster at night.

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2 thoughts on “Cemeteries of London, OR Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

  1. Highgate Cemetary looks like it would be an interesting place to visit. I like your photographs — I can almost feel the cold and the overcast sky and shadows lends a creepy atmosphere to these shots.

    • I’d definitely recommend it (though perhaps in late September or early October…the day I went, it was bitterly cold). It’s like nothing else I’ve ever seen — and so, so distinctly English Victorian.

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