London

From Leicester, I took a train to London (do keep in mind that my blog posts are not in alignment with my travels – I’ve gotten all out of order!).
I arrived at Waterloo Station.
Good ‘ol Waterloo Station! I’d been there 9 years previously when I first visited England with friends and it was good to see it again.
After taking the Underground to my hostel which was out in the Brent area of London, I ventured back into city centre to go to the Tate Modern. Here are a few photos I took along the way.

 

 

 

The seemingly ever-changing skyline of London….

 


 

 

……and now we arrive at the Tate.

Here’s a smattering of what I saw there.

 

A lovely Calder.
This is one of the most delicate I’ve ever seen. Very beautiful.
Pow! Zap! Wham!
The following is called Civil Tapestry 4.
It’s by an American named Theaster Gates. From the museum’s description:
“In May of 1963, a group of black school children were marching peacefully for equal rights in Birmingham, Alabama. Police used powerful fire hoses to break up the march, injuring many of the young protesters. Gates has arranged strips of decommissioned fire hoses to resemble the composition of a 1960’s American abstract painting – a form that pointedly failed to engage with the Civil Rights movement. Gates also questions whether the protesters’ goals have been fulfilled. ‘Some of us are slightly better while others are a great deal better but …. things are far from equal.’ ”
Indeed. This piece was powerful for me. The very idea of using fire hoses as art is ingenious and the skill and creative eye in piecing it together is impressive to say the least, but the story behind these hoses is moving and horrific and not to be forgotten.
One of Warhol’s many self-portraits (1967)
Picasso’s Bust of a Woman (1944)

Modigliani’s Head (1911 – 1912)

The two pieces, following, are by Mrinalini Mukherjee (1949 – 2015), an Indian artist who chose the unconventional material of hemp rope for these sculptures.

I love the sinuousness of these pieces.

As I was crossing over a bridge from one building of the museum to another, I looked down and saw these children entering.
Funny thing was that they all immediately got down on the floor and started rolling in!

Cute!
….. just thought you might like to know.

The next day I returned to the city, this time going to the British  Museum.

The architecture from the outside is, of course, impressive but not (in my opinion) spectacular. However…..
…once you’ve entered, you’re gobsmacked by this magnificent glass and steel roof. The British Museum opened to the public in 1759. Construction of the roof began in 1999 and was completed in 2000.

Simply stunning.

I doubt it’s possible to see everything at the British Museum in a day. It certainly wasn’t for me. It’s enormous and the variety of displays is myriad. I intended to traverse through the museum in an orderly, logical way from the earliest time period to the more recent. I failed miserably. I got so lost and turned around and found myself in the same rooms time and again. So, with these pictures, there’s no rhyme or reason to their order, but here they are.
There was an exhibition on the history of Iran that I wandered in and out of so you’ll see pieces from that strewn throughout. This board is the Royal Game of Ur. It dates from 2600 to 2300 BCE.

Some beautiful pottery from (I think, mostly) Iran. Following are some ancient Celtic pots and beads.

Now, here we’re jumping a century or five (I told you I got lost!) to some very modern pottery that I find equally beautiful.

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I just love that stuff from the 40’s through the 70’s! Very sleek designs. I was particularly fond of this plate designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
Below are a couple of dresses with exquisite stitched detail.

I’ve shown mostly ceramics and fabrics here because they’re of great interest to me but there’s infinitely more. There are mummies and stelae and bronzes and ancient stone carvings and statues and musical instruments and… oh, heck, I’ve got to show you that.

This is a citole, an ancestor of the modern guitar, dating from around 1300.
Positively luscious, isn’t it?
Last, but by no means least, this astronomical clock built in England by Henry Bridges around 1733.
There was so much to see here and I’d spent the last two days roaming all over these great museums. By the end of the second day I was exhausted! I’d see children being pushed around in strollers by their parents and I’d think, “Move over, kid.” Sheer exhaustion, but utterly worth it.

At that point all I wanted was to get back to my hostel and put my feet up, but since I was in the neighborhood, I had to re-visit an area of London I’d been to before, so I took the Underground to Westminster Station. Upon exiting, I saw a scaffolded Big Ben!
Fortunately, I’d seen him unclad all those years ago! I walked around a bit, but it was incredibly crowded so, after taking these few pics, I went back to my hostel and crashed!

Before I left London for Bournemouth, yes, I did the geeky thing – I went to Abbey Road.

I took the train to St. John’s Wood Station. From there I asked a man directions to Abbey Road. He pointed and said, “Just walk straight down this road,” which I did. I reached the end of the road, crossed the street and looked around, thinking, “Okay, now which way do I go? Where is it?” I turned around and realized that Oh! I’d just traversed the crosswalk the Beatles did for the cover of Abbey Road without even realizing it! Anyway, that’s when I started taking pictures.

I went into the Abbey Road Studios store and saw this bass on display.

The rooftop where their final concert was performed.

Yes, I’m a geek.
In between this time in London and then returning to London to leave for Belgium, I spent about 10 days visiting my wonderful friends in Bournemouth. I’ll tell you about that in another post.
So, these last few pictures are from my return to London after Bournemouth.
King’s Cross Station.

I was to leave from St. Pancras Station for Belgium, but you must go to King’s Cross to get there. St. Pancras is right across the street.
Wandering around King’s Cross, I bumped into Platform 9 and 3/4! Wasn’t thinking about Harry Potter at all, but there it was! Right next door is the Harry Potter shop (of course!).

I had no idea how filthy my camera lens was ’til I took this picture, but I still like the look of it!

 

So, on to St. Pancras Station.
It’s huge and it’s gorgeous!


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From there, I was off to Bruges.

11 thoughts on “London

  1. Wow – you covered a lot of ground! Thanks for taking us with you on your wonderful trip! Did you meet Winston Churchill? Haha – just kidding – keep ’em coming!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha! Funny you should mention Churchill – last time I was in London (9 years ago) I went to Westminster Abbey. A phenomenal place, chock full of history and it’s mind-bogglingly beautiful to boot! It’s also huge and labrinthyine. When it was finally time for me to leave, I had to get my bearings – ‘Where did I come in? How in heck do I get out?!’ I stood there, looking around, then looked down and found myself standing on Winston Churchill’s memorial stone! Whoa! Talk about history!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s a riot! I read Churchill’s biography, and it was a real eye-opener. What an amazing, interesting, brilliant man, and a great politician. And fresh too! One quote comes to mind from the book: A woman came up to him in public and said, “Sir, if you were my husband I would put poison in your coffee.”, and Churchill quipped his witty reply, “Madam, if I were your husband, I’d drink it!” Hahaha – cracked me up!

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  2. Another great post, as always Jan.
    You can’t beat a spell in the Big Smoke! There’s always so much to do and see, but I always find it’s nice to leave too.
    Time runs at twice the speed in London, I’m sure of it!

    Liked by 1 person

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