London 2014: museums and markets

by | Mar 10, 2014 | International Travel, Travel

Friday

Eric was in France until the evening, so I visited the Natural History Museum. There was a good queue out front but only about a 10-15 minute wait (in the rain unfortunately). Once inside it was impossible to get away from the hordes of school groups but there was still a lot to enjoy. The dinosaur area had a huge line so I skipped it. The highlights were all the gems and rocks, the showy escalator up to the top floor in the red area, the beautiful collection of stuffed birds and the blue whale. I stumbled upon a small botanical and wildlife drawing area in the very back that is also worth a look. I was hoping to see the world’s best animal photos exhibit but a woman in line said it was 12£! The museum itself is free but that seems a bit high for a special exhibit.

large blue whale   dinosaur bones

Saturday

Slept in for the first weekend in a while, then made our way to the Borough Market to browse their food options.With all the free samples, we didn’t go hungry, that’s for sure!

market treats  little sweets

We tried many food samples, eventually buying a 1/2 pint of raspberries (eaten on the spot by Eric), 100g of fudge, a Brewdog Vladimr Putin beer, and a Mayfield cows milk cheese that was amazingly good:

Mayfield cheese - so tasty!

We also visited The Rake pub, picking a good time to wait out a brief rain. That was followed by sunny skies so we walked across the London bridge enjoying sights along the way.

the Shard  Southwark Cathedral
The Shard; Southwark Cathedral

Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge and a chilly Thames

Sunday

Sunday was a beautifully sunny day in London, and after Leandra left for Fashion Week I went out exploring. My first stop was the V&A.

V&A

I loved this museum on my quick summer trip and I had to return to see more. This time I made my way through the sculpture, rooms, iron works, the cast gallery and up to the glass rooms.

colored blocks  glass staircase
glass installation; Glass staircase!

carved  statue
Wooden staircase, corner sculpture

From the V&A I took the tube to Piccadilly Circus, walking from here so I could enjoy the sunny weather.

Picadilly Circus
Piccadilly Circus

watch for humps!

Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square and “Hahn/Cock”

National Gallery
National Gallery and St Martin-in-the-Fields

The National Gallery was my next museum, and wow! One of my favorite pieces was a new acquisition, Abrosius Bosschaert The Elder’s ‘A Still Life of Flowers in a Wan-Li Vase.’ the level of detail was absolutely stunning in person. The line to see the famous Van Gogh Sunflowers was long so I looked in from the exit to the neighboring room; I think I enjoyed his wheat fields painting more anyway. I enjoyed seeing a collection of Monet water lilies across several decades as you can really see the change in his style, plus they had a painting he made of London too. Plenty of other masters were also represented, with favorites from Bocelli, Canaletto, Manet, Reubens, Pissaro and Velazquez… unfortunately they don’t allow photography, but I really enjoyed the collection, and we need to get back sooner than later.

After the Gallery and a cider at The Harp I traveled up to Camden Town and explored for a half hour before meeting Leandra for dinner.

Camden  Camden

Our Itinerary

2024 Trips

San Diego, CA (Jan)
Sarasota, FL (Feb)
Madrid, Spain (Mar)
Valencia, Spain (Mar+Apr)
Palma, Mallorca (Apr)
Croatia (May)
Faroe Islands (Aug)
London, UK (Sept)
Bari, Italy (Sept)
Rome, Italy (Oct)
Frankfurt, Germany (Oct)

2022 Trips

Florida (Feb)
NC Mountains (Apr)
Washington DC (Apr)
Valencia, Spain (May)
Hilton Head, SC (May)
Pacific NW (Jun)
Long Island (Jul)
Florida (Sept)
Chicago (Sept)
Poland (Sept)
NC Mountains (Nov)
Euro Xmas Markets (Dec)