Morning, Day Five

Friday, June 19, 2009

Apologies for not posting more, but frankly I am busy DOING, as opposed to writing about what's already done.

I had a great night out last night, though I'd planned to stay in and do laundry and blog. Instead, I got a last-minute ticket to see the new stage adaptation of "Priscilla Queen of the Desert", and it was fantastic. And a complete contrast to Wednesday night's ""Waiting for Godot" (with Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan!). If I'd had the choice, I would have liked to see Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan in "Priscilla Queen of the Desert", but even the West End has its limits.

I got back to the hostel (which I tend to think of in my head as either "the barracks" or "Stalag Russell Square"... more on hostel living in another post) at about 10:30 and put in a load of laundry. Like everything here, laundry was ferociously expensive. £4 for a wash and £2 for a dry - about $12 in total! Yikes. Still, it's nice to have everything clean.

Yesterday I decided to try a guided tour of the National Gallery - I chose one by a tour company called London Walks, who come highly recommended by Rick Steves. It turned out the be a great choice. We saw only a few paintings, but each one came with a really great commentary so I appreciated each a lot more.

I saw this:

The Arnolfini Portrait, van Eyck

And this:

The Hay Wain, Constable

And this one too, though it was not on my tour. I eavesdropped on another tour to hear a bit about it.

The Ambassadors, Holbein

I even saw one of Van Gogh's Sunflowers, but it wasn't on my tour either, so it didn't really mean much. The moral of this story is: pay for the guided tour!

There is so much in that gallery I couldn't even begin to see it all. In fact, it's abundantly clear that 10 days in London is woefully inadequate, and I'm here longer than I'll be in any other city on the itinerary. It's kind of sad, but also means that I just need to get over the "must-see-everything" compulsion, because that's patently impossible.

My afternoon was spent at the London Transport Museum, which was hot and cold, and cost £10! Today I'm going to take another London Walk focusing on Westminster Abbey, then hope to attend a free lunchtime concert at the church of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields on Trafalgar Square.

London is great, though. I really like it, and have been here long enough that I now mostly remember to look the wrong way when I'm crossing the street. I'm not taking a lot of pictures, partly because it makes me feel self-conscious and touristy, and partly because almost everything is worth taking a picture of. Everywhere I turn there's great architecture, or famous landmarks, or weird, quirky London stuff.

I did have one non-hashing run this week, and made it from the hostel to Regent's Park and back without a map. As I suspected, it's been really hard to fit running in along with everything else. Wednesday's run was fine, though predictably, I missed the turn to get back to the hostel. This is not surprising since streets here change names about every 3 blocks, so the fact that I missed "Greater Whinging Lane" was probably because where I needed to turn it was called "Whipplesnort Road" or "Smack-yer-bollocks Square" or something like that.

Oh, and here's a shot of me, drawing a Canadian flag in coloured chalk on the pavement at Trafalgar Square. There was a couple there getting people to draw their flags for small donation. The day before they'd ended up with the flags of more than 120 different countries.

It was a Bad Hair Day

My flag

I love this place. Ok, off to Westminster Abbey.


Heather Moore said...

I think I'd like to live in London. Then of course I still would be able to see everything because I'd be working all the time. *sigh* Can't win.

Viviane said...

Hip Hip for being busy DOING rather than blogging. I'm so jealous about Patrick Stewart. Nice flag =)

Larry said...

Great blog. Why not stay an extra week. Go see the Tate and Victoria and Albert. Great stuff. Have fun.

chris said...

That is a pretty sweet drawing of Canada's flag!

Anonymous said...

Couldn't believe the paintings you chose to include in today's installment -- they were my 2 faves in school, had posters of them in my dive of a basement apt. One could stare at the originals for hours, eh?
Hope Godot was fantastic, and am enjoying your blog very much. Keep it up!

Lisa said...

Don't feel bad about the blogging - we will alway be here and can catch up any time...your job is to Go-see-run-eat-drink!!!!!

Glad you are having fun. Miss you!!

Phonella said...

Now what I'd like to know, is ... did you draw the leaves on the flag without referring to the one you sewed on your day pack??

You look really happy Pam and thanks for keeping us posted.

Unknown said...

There's a fantastic cafe on Whipplesnort Road that serves a snout and kidney pie with a side of tripe thats just to die for....

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