On the Thursday after my birthday David, Luke and I went to London, as a belated birthday excursion. It was an early start, catching the train at 9 am. As we travelled into London we talked about Julian, the woman who wrote the first book in English that David was reading, and how crazy it would be if she was to be plonked into our present and how she would react to today’s society, technologies and everything. We eventually arrived at London Liverpool street and made our way to the British Museum via the Tube. I had never been to the British Museum before and really enjoyed it! I’ve never even really seen anything much to do with Egyptian, Greek, Roman history either, just read about it in my history books at school, so it was incredible to see it all in real life. Weird as well, as it felt a little wrong going to a British Museum that, let’s be frank, had stolen all these wonderful historical treasures from countries during their colonial era and still had them here to this day. I guess the concept of the Museum in itself is a glimpse into a part of global history. I doubt we will ever come across a future era where plundering other countries’ treasures, buildings and statues on such a massive scale will ever be desired or acceptable again. My favourite part was seeing the Egyptian stuff, the statues of mummies, pharaohs, hieroglyphics and paintings, so incredibly intact it, beautifully crafter and detailed it made my jaw drop in awe.
After walking around the museum for a couple of hours we headed back to the Tube station, had some McDonalds nearby, before setting off towards the Embankment. Here we got off and walked over the Hungerfood foot Bridge to catch a glimpse of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. Luke had never been to London before, so we had a good excuse to be tourists for the day!
On the other side we walked along the Southbank to the Tate Modern to soak up some modern art. I was quite excited about seeing some “out there” art, as I was more prepared this time for the crazy after being more than confused and shocked at MOMA in Tasmania. In all honesty MOMA still takes the crown for the most absolutely bonkers gallery I have ever been to, but I really enjoyed TATE. Especially their more “classical” modern exhibitions that included some unexpected treasures from Picasso and Salvador Dalí. I especially loved seeing Dalí’s art, as I have never before this point seen any of his work in real life before. You can truly get lost in some of his pieces, and I think it’s magical how you can enter through someones mind through a painting. We also went to some of the more abstract modern floors where there was everything from stacks of old TVs showing weird videos, glass boxes, IKEA furniture (not really IKEA but it looked like it), hanging fabric humans and massive spiders.
We also went up to the viewing platform at the top of the building, to get a magnificent view of the Thames, St. Paul’s Cathedral and The Shard. Close by where flats with flash looking apartments looking over London, and from our level we could peer inside these extortionate homes. The penthouses looked incredible, huge glass walled flats with spectacular views looking onto London, decked out with ultra modern, sleek looking decor.
Inspired from seeing St. Paul’s Cathedral we headed over there over the Millennium Bridge to see it up close. To our surprise we actually got to go inside, completely free of charge and wander around the spectacular building. It was grand and detailed, covered in beautiful decorations, paintings and stone carvings. The ceiling was covered in paintings, and I imagined it looked as grand as the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. As we quietly walked around in awe a service at the front was taking place, and in between readings from the bible the choir was singing. Their voices were all so incredibly pure, and together they were creating music that was so beautifully .. well.. divine! It really set the mood of the whole place, stirring emotions and adding to that feeling of awe. Outside we were reconnected with the hustle and bustle of the city, talking humans rushing along the pavements and the rumbling double decker buses and black cabs along the roads. I couldn’t help but notice that all the buildings around the Cathedral were very posh and beautiful looking too, the kind of buildings I always picture when I think of London. Mary Poppins throwback!
After the Cathedral we headed back on the tube to Green Park to go see the Palace. Newbee Londoner Luke couldn’t come to the city and not see the Queen’s crib, that just wouldn’t be right. There were suprisingly few people there when we stood in front of the gates, which was a relief! We sat on the stone walls surrounding Queen Victoria’s impressive statue and pondered how long before Royalty and the Monarchy just become history too. It feels like we might just be catching the end of another era, I can’t imagine my kids growing up with a King or a Queen. It was weird to think that we are at the tail end of a power that used to be so great at one point that it ruled a 5th of the world as it’s Empire. After a little rest and some more thinking we got distracted by a helicopter landing nearby government building. Out from the helicopter two suave looking men stepped out and were greeted by a soldier, like something out of James Bond. Shortly after the Helicopter lifted off again and ascended into the sky before taking a swooping turn in the sky and setting off to supposedly collect and transport more James Bond characters. It really did look like something from a spy movie, a cool helicopter flying over buildings in London, just beside the Palace.
We went from there into St. James’ Park and surrounded ourselves with a little more peaceful sounds for the ears. We spotted (and tried to ID to some extent) the many birds in the park, as well as tried to befriend a squirrel or two. We walked through the park towards the Hourseguard’s Parade square to see if there were any guarding soldiers on horses for Luke to see. Unfortunately it was quite late and the horses had retired for the day, so we headed onwards to see if we could spot Larry the Cat (and the prime minister) at 10 Downing street and further to see Big Ben and Houses of Parliament up close! The sun was setting and the grand clock was glisten in golden light. A little nod to Churchill and we set off back up towards Trafalgar square where we picked up some food at store and sat ourselves by the water fountains among the stone Lions for one of the most picturesque dinners I have ever had. The yummy baguette of brie, bacon and cranberry went down a treat. As we ate we looked out on towards Whitehall street and Big Ben. Around us bustling London life became lit up as the sky turned darker and the street lights and billboard signs brighter.
We passed street performers and speakers, some more appealing than others. We fled from the drone of a passionate Christian man with a microphone, and immersed ourselves rather with guitar players and singers. For our final couple of hours in London we walked to see more sights, including Movie headquarters at Leicester square, China town and Picadilly circus. We ended up walking down Reagant street to Oxford circus passed all the posh shops before taking the Tube back to Liverpool street where we had some dessert at the Mcdonalds in the station to get some seats and some wifi. Not long later we were plonked on the train, realizing how incredibly tingling our feet were from walking round for an entire day. As the train approached Norwich my feet became more and more stiff to the point of no feeling, but it was absolutely worth it for a magical day in London.