Monday, August 1, 2011

A ring of endless life

Hyde Park is home to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. The term 'fountain' is somewhat misleading, however. Basically, the memorial is a large oval ring with water flowing through it constantly. Although the water technically starts its journey at the top of the fountain before settling in the reflecting pool, it is impossible to really distinguish a beginning or an end.

The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain.
 Three bridges allow you to access the center of the oval, although walking through the water barefoot is not discouraged either. The sign outside the memorial asks for the area to be a quiet spot for reflection, but children love the water so much that it has been filled with shrieking and splashing all three times I've visited. And that seems to be more appropriate as a tribute anyway.

This little girl was trying so hard not to get her dress soaked.

These three really weren't sure about going down the small rapids. This was one of several failed attempts on their part.

Grownups enjoy cooling their feet in the fountain, too.

The fountain was opened in July 2004, seven years after Diana's death. It measures about 87 yards by 54 yards and cost nearly £3.6 million to create, according to a BBC news article.

To me, it was one of the more thought-provoking memorials I've seen. I'd compare it to one of my favorite monuments, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. It is unusual and yet fitting in just the right ways.

In the adjacent Kensington Gardens, there is a Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground. It was opened in 2000 and is free to visit. Adults without children are allowed in the park between 9:30 and 10 a.m. each day, so we got to play around. It had a Peter Pan theme, complete with pirate ship, Indian tepees and a crocodile. I know several little boys who would have absolutely loved it. And as you can see in the slideshow, the kids were lined up to kick us out at the stroke of 10.

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