August 29   2 comments

This day was a very long one! So long, in fact, that I didn’t have time to post the blog when we finally got home at 11pm last night.

We started out at the Tower of London – a phenomenally well-preserved place that looks as if it will stand for another thousand years, easily. We went through parts of it that I didn’t remember seeing before, most notably, King Edward’s chambers, which were a lot more habitable than I expected. They have been restored with perishable materials (textiles, wood furniture) which are as close to the originals as may be, and the effect is very interesting. I took a few pictures:

The table and benches were of such an interesting design that I had to take a special photo to document their underpinnings.

The doors were of quartersawn oak planks, with enormous iron hinges, hobnailed on.

A little visually incoherent, but you get the idea

The spiral staircase was made of MASSIVE oak beams…MASSIVE. If there were staircases like this throughout the realm, it’s easy to see how most of the UK was deforested during previous centuries.

Then we joined the scrum and inched along for a period of about forty-five minutes to see the crown jewels, which I admit, were gorgeous!!! So many brilliant diamonds, and such enormous rubies and emeralds. The various crowns of state were in glass cases flanked by dual people-mover belts, which were slow but not slow enough for my taste. The cattle-herding aspect of the experience detracted from the spectacle, but considering how much traffic they have and how many people want to see these beautiful things, I guess it’s really the only way.

Lis waiting for the Thames Ferry

We had a quick lunch at the cafe there, which served the best carrot soup we’d ever had. Then we took a Thames ferry boat to the Tate Modern Gallery.

The Tate Modern is housed in an old power plant. They have done something wonderful with the grounds: they have planted groves of birch trees, which I think helps counteract the grim aspect of the building.

Birch Woods at the Tate Modern

Dorothea Tanning, 'A Mi-Voix'

There is a lot to see at the Tate Modern, but knowing Lisbeth’s limited tolerance level for art museums, I confined my roaming to the surrealists and expressionists. I was very pleased to see three works by Dorothea Tanning that I hadn’t seen before; I got a decent photo of one, her painting ‘A Mi-Voix’, from 1958.

They also had at least one outstanding Dali there, and paintings by Leonor Fini and Leonora Carrington that I hadn’t seen before, so much joy was had in the Surrealist gallery.

The Expressionist gallery held many good pieces, but my favorites among them were this painting by Clyfford Still, entitled ‘1953’.

Clyfford Still's '1953'

Also, of course, it was a great honor to see a Kandinsky: his painting entitled ‘Starnberger See’, from 1908.

Kandinsky

Lisbeth managed to crowbar me out of the Tate and we walked across the Millenium Footbridge and back, then got back on the Thames ferry and rode it to view the London Eye. We might see if we can get on that tomorrow, our last full day in London.

Then we hurried back to our apartment, to get ready for our night out seeing War Horse at the New London Theatre.

Here’s the promised picture of us, the best we could do in the mirror at our apartment:

Ready to go see War Horse

War Horse was great – the puppeteers making the life-sized (actually a little larger than life sized) horses move melted into the background, and their work, especially the puppeteer animating the head and ears, really brought the horses to life.

The plan tomorrow is to go through St. Paul’s cathedral, and maybe the London Eye. We haven’t even set foot in Trafalgar Square on this trip – it’s seemed to fly by! There is just too much to do and see, and we are not people who like to cram. So we have to just do the best we can and hope we can return someday to fill in the gaps.

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Posted August 30, 2011 by Evelyn in Uncategorized

2 responses to “August 29

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  1. Thanks for the wonderful posts, Ev! I love the detail and photos! Have you gone by the Lamb and Flag? I hope you get to stop by there for a pint and take some pics. Love you both!

    • I don’t think I’ll make it to the Lamb and Flag – it just didn’t make its way into the itinerary. It’s regrettable, but a little hard to figure out what we would have cut out in order to go there. Sigh. Just never enough time for everything, a universal feeling during travel, I’m sure.

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