Free day around London - Tate Britain and MORE elephants!
London Travel Blog› entry 12 of 14 › view all entries
This morning felt like a very London morning after years of visiting it. It was gloomy, and cloudy, and looked like it could start raining. Right from the time I arrived in London for phase 1 of the trip, I had discovered that the Indian Portrait was showing @ the National Portrait Gallery and I wanted to see it. So that was the first call of the day.
The gallery, my first time visiting it is really nice - but really the same old. I started off with the free exhibits on the 3 floors, my favourite being the ground floor with modern art, and photos of people still living. I saw the cover the Blur album from a decade ago and was quite surprised to see it so high, and that it was considered a "masterpiece".
From there, I went to the basement to view the Singh Twins' paintings. They are a pair of Punjabi female twins from Liverpool who've documented (in a modern way), pictures of Indian life, Indian life in Britain and some political statements as well (Blair and Bush).
Stopped for lunch en route to Westminster, Westminster was Westminster - lovely and crowded as usual. The idea this time wasn't so much to meander around this area, but to actually walk from here to Vauxhall Bridge as, again, this was smething I'd never done before. The walk was lovely, I passed by Lambeth Palace and the Garden Museum and did think of going to both, but they were both terribly expensive and decidd to give it a pass.
The walk was lovely including the pleasant drizzle (just Murphy's law though, the only day it rains in London and that's the day I leave my raincoat and waterproof camera case in the hostel!). I reached Tate Britain around 3pm and this is a nice place. I did find it a lot like Tate Modern. For some reason, I always thought that this would be an "ancient" Tudory or Victorian portrait collection. But for the most part, it had the most interesting modern art. Few that come to mind was this series of pictures taken of a clock with different exposure times, and how the clock looks different. But the best exhibit here, or for that matter ,the best I've seen anywhere was the Coral Reef by Mike Nelson.
I browsed through the rest of the free art and left the museum around 4pm hoping to visit Highgate Cemetary. I went to the Archgate Tube stop but I was supposed to take a bus from there, it was 415pm and pouring now, and the cemetary closes at 5pm. I really didn't think it was worth it. So essentially I went back into town.
I wanted to continue my adventure of elephants hunting, and proceeded to the Tower Bridge.
I got off at Bond St, bought chocolates @ thornton's, and caught the tube again to Picadilly Circus to visit Waterstones. I'd heard so much about it being the largest bookstore in EU (and one of my friends from Seattle visits it regularly). It's actually a nice bookshop, I went to the language section on the 3rd floor to look for some French books and found some good ones, just that I found them pricey and I wasn't sure whether I could get it for a cheaper fee in the US (well I couldn't, but that's a different story). I spent about 1 hour here, I needed the time to unwind.
Went back to Oxford Street to Topman for a last round of shopping, didn't find anything. And caught the tube back home. Oh, I mean hostel. Packed, and went to the nearby Falafel shop for some nice spicy falafal rolls. And did my usual "night" thing by surfing email till the store closed at 1130pm. I got back that night, chatted with a few folks and slept by midnight, with the alarm set for 6am the next day.