September 11, 2013
by Jessica Karsten

2 more weeks to go! Can’t believe how the time flies. A few weeks ago I went to visit the Highgate cemetery. It’s set in north London in a beautiful area where you can see amazing houses and lots of nature and hills, and the cemetery itself is actually a nature reserve. It opened as London population was booming and there was a sudden need for large cemeteries, it was one of 7 opened at this time, known as the Magnificent Seven. There are a few famous people buried there, Carl Marx being one of the most popular sites. There is an East and West side to the cemetery, the west side being the oldest part, which has a ton of beautiful mausoleums and elaborate gravestones, there’s also an impressive area known as the Egyptian Avenue and another is the Circle of Lebanon, very interesting. The grounds are full of greenery and animals; it’s a very beautiful and peaceful experience. It is still a working cemetery where people are still able to bury their loved ones.

The cemetery is near a huge park in north London called Hampstead Heath. There are swimming ponds and panoramic views of London; it’s near Primrose Hill as well which is also known for beautiful views of the city.

Hampstead

I also made it out to Hampton Court Palace a few weeks ago. It’s about an hour train ride outside of London to Hampton. A very different experience than what you get in the central part of London. It’s quieter and feels a bit slower, more relaxed. Hampton Court Palace was beautiful, the palace itself and the multiple gardens. There’s also a maze to make your way through and the largest vine in the world! The history of the palace is very interesting; it was owned by King Henry VIII and one of just two of his remaining palaces. Later on it underwent a major expansion and rebuilding effort, so it’s now an interesting mix of classic Tudor architecture and Baroque style.  Definitely a fun way to spend the day!

Hampton1Hampton2

Over the holiday weekend of August 26th there was a big celebration that they have every year called Carnival. It’s a Caribbean themed party with music and a parade and cuisine from the region. It was packed with people, and a LOT of fun!

Carnival

CARNIVAL VIDEOS:

Carnival1

Carnival2

Of course I am loving London, but have to say that I do miss the beach in Miami  So, I took a trip down to the seaside town of Brighton to get to the coast. The beach was a little different from what we have in Miami, instead of sand its all rocks, which were surprisingly comfortable to sit on. It was probably 65 degrees when I was there and there were still people in swimsuits swimming in the water! There’s a long pier with a carnival on the end and casinos that make up the first part of the pier. Along the water there are a bunch of restaurants where you can get fresh fish and chips and other seafood. Then further into the city there are a ton of antique shops and cafés, it was a really lovely way to spend the day, and close enough that you can make it a day trip.

Brighton