Sunday, 10 July 2016

Russian Walks - Chelsea and Fulham

Today I decided to embark on one of the Russian Cultural Walks around London. As I was in the area after Church I decided to follow the Chelsea and Fulham Walk. The walk begins at the Saatchi Gallery and ends at Brompton Cemetery, a distance of around 3.5 miles. As I have never lived in this area of London I was excited to explore a part of the city I do not usually frequent.
I have previously been to the Saatchi Gallery so decided not to go around it and view the recommended works of art but walk straight on to stop B on the route. This was a former dance academy turned Pizza Express. As a listed building the outside and statues have remained the same, and make it one of the most beautiful restaurants I have ever seen. Note to self - one in dine in later.
The next few stops were buildings either built or frequented by famous Russians. They were worth seeing and created a slightly magically feeling as you could stand outside a building that once Tolstoy or Turgenev had stayed in over century ago. One for any Russian lit fan.
The last stop on the walk was Brompton Cemetery where Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh is buried, along with several other Russians I discovered. I had never been to Brompton Cemetery but it was without a doubt the highlight of the walk. The overgrown cemetery is filled with stone crosses, angels and mausoleums, and despite being a place of the dead has a sunny and calm atmosphere. From the information leaflet I learnt that it is London's most central and accessible cemetery, was designed to be a garden cemetery in the layout of a cathedral, and it was the first and only cemetery ever to be nationalised! 
The thing that struck me most about the route was that it did not just take you along main roads but down side streets. On the way I saw beautiful houses I never would otherwise of seen and got to discover several window boxes full of lavender. Something I bonded with an older gentleman over!
I would suggest to anyone wishing to pursue one of the walks is to take a smartphone. On more than one occasion I found it a little tough to follow the printed out map and had to use the maps app on my phone to find my way. However, this was a great way to spend a few hours in London and train for Shine Walk 2016.
NB It's not too late to sponsor me for my walk!

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