This post will wrap up our doings in London. It felt so luxurious to stay in one place for over three weeks, rather than moving every few days. We are planning to spend more time in London next year, since we enjoyed it so much. We will then visit more of the places and things we didn’t get to see this time!
As we always tell people, when you are traveling 365 days/year, you can’t treat your life as a vacation and fill every day with sightseeing. While here, we mostly just picked one thing to do. Sometimes it was a local attraction, sometimes a movie. Yes, we go see movies on the road. If we don’t, we don’t ever see them! The good thing about Great Britain, of course, is that we don’t have to ask what language it is in. In many other countries we find many movies in English with foreign (i.e., local subtitles), but we always have to ask. By the way, one day we didn’t go anywhere, other than our daily walk, was yesterday. The tube (subway) and bus drivers held a one-day wage strike, so we couldn’t travel very far. We felt bad for those who rely on public transportation to get back and forth from work. It is a major inconvenience for them, but minor for us.
So today, you will see a quirky find that we discovered – Sir John Soane’s Museum. Soane was a neoclassical architect who died in 1837. Years before, he had arranged that upon his death, his home would be granted to the government so as to bypass his son inheriting it, as he disliked him greatly. The museum is filled with artwork, statuary, and all sorts of curiosities. It is almost like walking through an antique shop, but of really cool – and valuable – stuff. There is artwork by Canaletto. There is the 3,000-year-old sarcophagus of Seti I. You wander from room to room, floor to floor, at your own pace. Every turn is like a “Eureka!” moment. Admission is free, but donations are encouraged and accepted (of course!).
Novelty Animation is another quirky place. It is filled with old novelty games that you can actually play for 1-2 pounds. These are not pinball machines, nor are they very sophisticated. One machine is a pair of “hands” that fill with air to frisk you! Another is Bicycle Pong, where you pedaled hard to be sure you are in the right place to hit the ball and play pong! People were laughing and enjoying all the silliness.
We expected Kensington Palace and Gardens to be spectacular, but the drought has yellowed and withered green spaces all over London. You can see in the photos how barren and dry Kensington Gardens look, when due to abundant rain, England is generally very lush and green.
One day, and one day only, it sprinkled all day long. It was too unpredictable to walk any distance, so we visited the Tate Modern Art Museum, a walk of about three minutes from our hotel. Like many of the national museums, admission is free, while exhibitions cost a few pounds. It was quite crowded inside, and like all modern art, some of it was interesting and some of it was befuddling. A canvas painted the same, one shade of blue is “art.” A lopsided wooden structure with ripped white fabric hanging from it is “art.” Our photos show two things that we found enjoyable, however. There is always something, somewhere, for everyone wherever we travel.