Flying Solo

Tuesday – London

I took the train(s) up to Charing Cross Station to explore London by myself for a day. I was aiming for Trafalgar Square to begin with but I wasn’t expecting to, after climbing up a very narrow staircase out of the station to find myself right in the middle of the Square, with Nelson’s column right in front of me. This is another post better described in pictures, of which I took a lot. Firstly, I went to the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square and took a long look around. I didn’t see the maps at the entrance so I ended up getting hopelessly lost surrounded by hundreds of paintings spread out over hundreds of interlocking rooms that all looked pretty similar. I really surprise myself sometimes at how clever I can be…

I really liked the National Gallery though, it had paintings from all time eras and there were a couple of famous ones that were nice to see in real life. I always feel like someone dropped ice down down my spine whenever I see a painting that I studied in art. It just seems so surreal to see the real thing. I was a little confused to begin with because I’m used to there being a no photo rule at art galleries, but this didn’t seem to be the case here. In fact, the next day I read an article in the Metro about the fact that the National Gallery has become a ‘selfie motherland’ or something. I myself saw a bunch of people taking selfies with paintings, like “omg Monet’s Waterlillies #nationalgallery #art #creative #lol #yolo.” No, just no.

Then, after getting lunch, a wrap from Tesco (classy I know), I looked at my little map and decided that the Tate Britain wasn’t that far away and that I could definitely walk there in no time at all. This is another great example of how I’m pretty rubbish at planning ahead. There was a lot of wind so getting my map out while I was walking was impossible so I just sort of guessed, which is actually the most impressive thing about this post because by my normal standards I should still be walking around Greenwich or somewhere.

I didn’t realise that my walk to the Tate would take me straight past Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament and Downing Street, so that was kind of a win in my book. I really took my time on that walk, because I love just seeing things and people and statues and little things that you might not see if you were walking directly towards a destination, like you had blinkers on.

The Tate Britain was amazing!  I really enjoyed the little museum. There was an awesome installation by Phyllida Barlow which took up the whole of the first space that you walk into. It’s a massive space already with tall ceilings but the artworks that she created, out of wooden posts and gigantic boxes and piles of wooden planks filled the empty space. I was quite in awe of them all. BP had created a Walk Through Art where you start on one side of the building in the 1500s and gradually, as you made your way around the perimeter of the building moved through the centuries or art to the 2000s. It was interesting to see the way art developed.

Then, I decided that I should probably start making my way slowly back towards the station because it was sort of getting late, and the later that you travel you risk the awful prices of rush hour on the Tube. I decided to cross back over the Thames and walk back on the South Bank to get a different view. After crossing over a bridge, and realising that with the wind a dress had not been a good choice for the day’s outfit, I walked past a cute little garden museum. I didn’t go in but it was another place I’d love to go back to. I passed a little shop on the river and in the spur of the moment bought a magnum, just because I could. It felt awesome just to be walking along in London, eating an ice cream in the freezing English summer, just because! Big Ben looked so beautiful from this side of the river, and many artist’s there seemed to agree with me.

I got swept past the London Eye and London Dungeon by the sea of tourists swamping the area and weaved through the street performers and after firmly walking past the Pimms Riverside Bar (very proud of myself), crossing another bridge, taking various photos for other people on the bridge and amazingly finding my way back to Trafalgar Square I got the train home. But what a day. The blisters on my feet can tell you anything else you’d like to know.

Mishmash of what happened that day:

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