Museum Day

London Travel Blog

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Today was "Museum Day" - including the British Museum and the National Gallery. If you are into maximizing your art experiences with a minimum amount of walking, the National Gallery is hard to beat! In contrast to the sprawling Louvre in Paris, London's Gallery is fairly small in size, but packed with work from the masters. For example, within steps of each other are works by: Michelangelo, da Vinci, Van Gogh (the actual "Sunflowers"), Botticelli, Raphael, Cezanne, Monet, Suerat, Gauguin, Rubens, Caravaggio, and, oh yeah, an entire room full of Rembrandt! And with free admission, you can't beat the price!

Perfect for me: culture on a budget.
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"Eye-sore" is what some call the London Eye

I was up at the crack of Noon today. It may not sound like much, but that is 6am in Chicago, or 4am in San Francisco. Jet lag is definitely taking it's toll.

So how can you spot an American on the streets of London? Easy. We are the ones who consistently look the wrong way when about to cross a busy street - and then YELL at the cars that nearly run us over. Luckily, Londoners have grown tired of scraping tourists off their windscreens, and painted words directly on street crossing, advising us to "Look left" or Look Right." Still, it's a hard habit to break.

Such a typical tourist I was today.

The Queen is going "green" - it gets GREAT gas mileage (the engines actually make gas!)
A cruise down the River Thames, stroll around the London Tower, Westminster Bridge, etc. I stopped by Buckingham Palace to see if the Queen fancied a spot of tea (you, know... one old queen to another), but apparently she was not receiving visitors on this particular day.

I did, however, enjoy a pint of ale at the nearly 500-year old Anchor Tavern, which was reputed to be a drinking spot for Shakespeare and his actors - as his original Globe Theater was located right next door.

The "London Eye" (or "Eyesore" as some locals refer to it) is new since my last visit, so I thought I'd check it out. I mean, where else can you ride a 400-ft tall ferris wheel with views of such importance? But the ticket price - almost $60 US was a little too thrilling for my taste.

(FYI: I do happen to have a link to a video of 5 or 6 very hunky male models who went on the Eye recently - and then stripped down to their birthday suits - if anyone is seeing such a shameless thing.) Now, if I knew that naked hunks were guaranteed on every ride, then maybe it would be worth the $60!!!


Side Note: Mano Sings for SF Mayor

Well, I just heard from back home that my sweetheart, Mano, will be singing for the Mayor of San Francisco this week! Mano, along with the 9 other members of the Gay Asian/Pacific Alliance Men's Chorus will be performing in San Francisco's City Hall by special invitation. How cool is that? I am so proud! But also a bit sad that I will not be there to share in this special event. :-( Well, at least my heart is there in San Francisco....

Tower Bridge (duh)
4:12am (London time)  - Strand Palace Hotel

Just as I lying down to finally sleep, I could hear the faint sound of a fire alarm ringing in the distance. With no air conditioning, the window was open enough to make out that the alarm was coming from the hotel's lower floors. But then, another alarm rang on a higher floor, then another still even closer to my floor. Bewildered, I gathered my clothes and valuables, and stuck my head out my door for a peak. One or two others were doing the same, and no one seemed quite sure if it was for real, or if we could simply ignore it. Just then, the fire alarm in my own room sounded a piercing shriek - making it clear that I was not supposed to simply sit there and wait.

The rest of the guests all seemed to come to the same conclusion, and took off running down the hallway. Yep, the entire hotel was being evacuated.

Floor by floor, we all made our way down to the street with relative calm (except for the guy who pushed several of us out of the way as he literally ran down the stairs). I made my way to the front entrance, where I saw a half-dozen of London's Bravest (the Fire Brigade) rushing into the building. We, of course, were told to wait across the street. Not too many minutes later, however, the "all clear" was given for us to return.

It seems that a careless smoker had managed to set something ablaze in his room, yet had been able to put out the fire himself. The resulting smoke was responsible for setting off the alarms that sent hundreds of poorly-dressed tourists scrambling for the exits.

Not serious, but fun to watch... and fun to write about!

Eye-sore is what some call the L…
"Eye-sore" is what some call the …
The Queen is going green - it ge…
The Queen is going "green" - it g…
Tower Bridge (duh)
Tower Bridge (duh)
photo by: ulysses