Wednesday 21 May 2003

So after my last entry I wandered the area around the hostel/B&B just to get a taste for the area, and came across Kensington Park. The sky was a bit overcast and it drizzled a good bit, breaking out into a full-fledged rain but not too heavy that a tree didn't make good cover.

The gardens were really beautiful, and all different kinds of trees. So it was nice and refreshing to get about and stretch my legs after nearly 12 hours in an airplane. Kensington Palace and the little art museum there in the park were both closed due to renovations, so nothing there to really explore.

Then back to the hostel/B&B to check in. I was only 5 minutes early, but they still didn't have the room ready, but they said they had a room with a private bath that I could take instead for an extra 6 GBP. So, I took it thinking that a nice lingering, steamy shower would feel wonderful after a good long walk in the drizzle and traveling. Well, it turned out that the entire "bathroom" was about the size of a standard bathtub: shower, toilet, and sink. I literally could not close the door while sitting on the toilet because there wasn't enough room. While showering I had to stand parallel to the wall so that all of me would fit in the shower at once.

So much for a lingering shower. But hey, I got clean, which was more than I was before.

I then picked up a little guide they had in the front lobby of all the sights in London, and since time was short I decided to hit the National Gallery instead of St. Paul's and the Tate.

On my way out, though, I had the front desk guy arrange transportation for the next morning at 4:50 so that I could make my flight to Aberdeen at 7:00. After making the reservation he gave me the name and phone number of the driver that he had arranged. Remember this for later.

Anyway, off I went to the National Gallery-- and yes, Branson you were right the tube system is really wonderful, if for no other reason that it has little Cadbury Egg dispensers all over the place. =)

I spent most of my time in the 1700-1900 section and in a special sculpture exhibit they had up. I think one of my favorites out of the paintings was Monet's 'Parliment at Sunset'. Its done in such a way that they shadow of the building on the water morphs into the building above as the red, purple and yellow streaked sky fills in the remaining space. The colors were so vibrant and the way he streaked the sky for sunset reminded me more of lightning at dusk than a true sunset. Really remarkable. I think I may become a fan of impressionism afterall.

So I stayed at the museum until it closed at 6:00pm, grabbed a rather dry and tasteless turkey sandwhich at a nearby cafe, and then headed back to read for a few hours before doing pre-check out (since I would be leaving so early the next day), and asleep by 9:00pm.

All in all a pretty good day in London, but definitely some place to come back to a spend a week or so seeing everything. For instance, they have a permenant collection of Dali at an extension of the Tate that I would love to see. Hopefully it will still be there in a few years time.