Missed Part 1? Click here
The next station on my route was Harlesden. I’d been walking for 3.5 hours by now, and was getting hot and hungry. I couldn’t see any likely-looking eateries so I took my photo and hurried on.
Pressing, on, determined to make up some time I’d lost from my little diversions, I was soon approaching the rather large Willesden Junction station. I’d always believed the area to have a significant Jewish population, largely due to its frequent mentionings from a Jewish comedian I used to watch on tv in the ’90’s. I saw no evidence of this, but there was an abundance of Brazilian shops. Eager to fill my stomach, I wondered if this meant there would be a Nando’s in the vicinity. It’s only now as I type this I realise that Nando’s is Portuguese, not Brazilian. Well, if they will share a language…
After climbing lots of steps, I found myself heading east on Harrow Road, bound for the next station, Kensal Green.
From here on, the houses got slightly grander and the shop fronts shinier. I’m a little intimidated by some of the expensive looking gastropubs, so, sorry stomach, you have to grumble some more.
The next landmark was Queen’s Park. Because I’m an uneducated person, I was fully expecting to see a football stadium here. As I’ve since learnt, Queen’s Park Rangers don’t play in Queen’s Park. They never have played in Queen’s Park. Their current home is Loftus Road, some 4km away. The team was named Queen’s Park Rangers as many of its original players hailed from the Queen’s Park area. Well, well. You learn something new every day.
At this point, I was beginning to feel a little more hopeful. The next station was to be Kilburn Park, and I know that one! My friend Sarah lives just opposite. I felt that, if not the end, familiar territory was in sight.
Kilburn, I was to discover, is another of those places where old and new collide. On one side of the road there were gleaming new luxury apartments, and on the opposite, an ugly looking 60’s block.
Even the residents of the opposing blocks looked different from each other. To my dismay, it was school chucking-out time and I was soon playing dodge the child/pushchair/scooter. Why do they all have to be released at once?? Never mind, I soon passed Sarah’s flat and Kilburn Park Station appeared before me.
One of the prettier stations this one. I can imagine myself, a glamorous girl about town in the 1930’s emerging from this station in my flapper dress. Is that the right era? Well, I’ve never been glamorous anyway.
Walking on, I was surprised to see this rather impressive church. A quick Google reveals that St. Augustine’s is affectionately known as ‘the Cathedral of North London’ . I’m surprised that I never noticed it before.
My now very grumbling tummy and I took a walk down some elegant, tree-lined roads and soon enough, Maida Vale Station appeared.
When this station opened in 1915, it was the first station on the network to be staffed entirely by women; the men were all at war, you see. And like Kilburn Park, it was one of the first stations especially designed for escalators to reach the platforms, not lifts.
BONUS FACT: I like the sound of the name ‘Maida Vale’ and for no other reason, I did a little research on it, and according to Wikipedia; ‘The name derives from the Hero of Maida inn which used to be on Edgware Road near the Regent’s Canal. The pub was named after General Sir John Stuart who was made Count of Maida by King Ferdinand IV of Naples and Sicily after the victory at the Battle of Maida in 1806′.
The final station in Fare Zone 2 was Warwick Avenue. I had never heard of this station until 2008 when Duffy sang a song about it. In fact, it was the first new song I heard when I returned to England; for that reason this station stuck in my mind. When I saw it, I was not exactly overwhelmed, maybe just whelmed.
However, a few steps away was the beautiful Regent’s Canal, and my spirits were much lifted to see some greenery and DUCKIES!!
Just a short walk from here, I found my happy place, a food court! I will end my journey for now, as I remember the delicious, delicious meal.
Part 3 to follow…