Tag Archives: art

Life in London Part V: Silly Things and Lovely People

6 Jul

Things I’ve fallen in love with while in London…

General Sillyness

The is the last stop on the Picadilly line going North. The trains announce where they are travelling to, so in this case, you hear: "This is a Picadilly Line service to: Cockfosters". What makes this so great is that it is said by an almost robotic sounding British lady. And I take the Picadilly line about ten stops. So I hear this over and over. Does it get old? Nope.

Of course.

I'm just silly. But I don't care, I have fun.

People

I love love love Sam to death. She and I went through a lot together at the beginning of the semester and our friendship is solidified after this experience together. Our mutual love of Robert Downey Jr.'s wax figure certainly helps.

Matt and I have intellectual conversations about literature and the state of the world while enjoying a glass of wine... or two or three. We also enjoy pretending to be hipsters and having a photoshoot, lounging in the parks on sunny days and dancing the stress away at night.

Obviously I love Jack and have loved Jack for years. And next to Jack is Meggie, who is probably the funniest person I have ever met. Her angry cat noises and Wisconsin mom accent will always make me laugh uncontrollably, no matter where I am.

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National Gallery

18 Apr

On the 9th it was beautiful out so I hopped a number 9 bus to Trafalgar Square to visit the National Gallery, one of London’s largest art galleries. I had already been to the National Portrait Gallery a few weeks ago so this time I just went to the main building.

The National Gallery

It was a busy day in Trafalgar Square… Then again, that part of London is always busy on the weekends. It’s right by Picadilly Circus and Covent Garden which are both huge tourist destinations.

Countdown to the Olympics clock in Trafalgar Square

View of Big Ben from Trafalgar Square

In terms of art, I tend to prefer sculpture to paintings but the National Gallery has a few Monet paintings and a few Van Gogh, two painters I enjoy. For Van Gogh I saw the Sunflowers and for Monet I saw two japanese bridge paintings and a painting of London:

The Thames with the Houses of Parliament in the background. My new favorite Monet painting.

After the museum I took a walk through Covent Garden which is a fun area.

The Ice Creamists -- I thought their flag was cool

Voltaire's London plaque

The Tate Modern

6 Apr

I love museums and right next to the Globe is the Tate Modern. I’ve never really seen a lot of modern art so going to one of the largest modern art museums was something I looked forward to. But alas, modern art isn’t really my thing. I enjoy a few aspects of “modern” art (cubism, futurism, impressionism) but some of it just baffles me. So this post is really light, sorry to disappoint if you like modern art!

Enjoy Great Art For Free

The Tate Modern used to be a factory.

Monet Waterlillies

Jackson Pollock

I just can’t understand things like this:

It’s not symbolism. It’s a five-year-old’s scribble.

Oxford: Just makes me want to go to Hogwarts

1 Apr

After Stratford-Upon-Avon and our lunch in the Cotswolds we went to Oxford. The University itself is comprised of several colleges including Christ Church which was founded by Cardinal Wolsey, King Henry VIII’s trusted advisor (later imprisoned for treason, Wolsey slit his own throat. His remains are in St. Paul’s) in 1525 but was unable to see its completion. Henry VIII refounded it as King Henry’s College and after breaking from the Vatican and forming the Church of England refounded it again but as Christ Church.

Christ Church College

There was a massive line (or, queue as the Brits say) to get in but luckily we were with a tour and got right in. One of the main tourist draws to Christ Church (in addition to the architecture, cathedral, and art) is that Christ Church inspired some sets from the Harry Potter movies and was used as a filming location for some scenes. This is what we cared most about, naturally.

The dining hall that inspired the Great Hall of Hogwarts. It is a functioning dining hall, so the students of Christ Church get to eat in the Great Hall every day.

The staircase where they filmed a few scenes of the first two Harry Potter films

Professor McGonagall waits for the first year students on the stairs...

The courtyard at Christ Church

Inside Christ Church Cathedral.

Beautiful medieval architecture

Medieval Union Jack flags

Entrance to the library, off-limits to visitors to our great disappointment

This tree has formed a bond with Christ Church

One of many prestigious looking buildings at Oxford

An interesting old building

Logic Lane... Oh, Oxford.

Spring is in bloom in Oxford

The Eagle and Child Pub, a frequent hang-out of J.R.R Tolkien (author of the Lord of the Rings trilogy) and C.S. Lewis (author of the Chronicles of Narnia books).

Overall, I enjoyed Oxford. It’s full of history and beautiful architecture. And it’s Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Chronicles of Narnia connections certainly help.

Madam Tussaud’s

27 Mar

On Friday the 25th I went with Sam and our friend Bri to the wax museum, Madam Tussaud’s. I went to the one in New York City a few years ago and it was a lot of fun so I knew I had to come to the one in London.

The museum is on Baker Street, which is, of course, home to Sherlock Holmes.

There are many shops and restaurants that pay homage to the Great Detective

The whole point of Tussaud’s is to goof around and take pictures with wax models of celebrities, politicians, and other famous people. I tend to be silly and nerdy on a daily basis so me in the wax museum is like a kid in a candy store: ecstatic, hyperactive, and enjoying a natural high. I hope you are as amused at my photos as I was at the museum.

Miley Cyrus: Quite possibly the most terrifying thing I've ever seen. I was prepared to defend myself.

Kate Moss: Sometimes I like to pose like wax figures of models. I think I've got the face down.

Audrey Hepburn: We had Breakfast at Tiffany's together.

Henry VIII: He snuck in on my portrait sitting. But it's ok, his cod piece really adds to the impressiveness of the painting.

Prince Harry: He's single, he's a ginger, and he's at least 5 inches taller than me. Oh, and unlike his brother he has a full head of hair.

Oscar Wilde: This is me hoping to gain a fraction of Wilde's talent by standing next to a wax representation of the author.

The Beatles: I joined the band AND got to touch Paul McCartney's leg. (unfortunately, these figures aren't exactly accurate, especially George.)

Justin Bieber: I finally met the Biebz. And I am indeed a good five inches taller than he is (he's on a platform) but that hair is just so glorious...

Lady GaGa: She says, "you can call all you want but there's no one home and you're not gonna reach my telephone," but lucky for GaGa, I was there to answer the phone.

Beyonce: Yes, I do know the "Single Ladies" dance. I go to Emerson, it's kind of a requirement.

Dali Lama: I like to practice Tree Pose with his holiness.

Pope: See, the thing is...

Samuel L. Jackson: I put my sunglasses on out of respect.

Spiderman: I like to get piggy back rides from Spidey. We're technically upside down, hanging from the ceiling. That's skill right there.

Winston Churchill: We're just two peas in a pod.

After the wax museum Sam and I went to Jack’s for a delicious pasta dinner. On the way there we passed Warner Bros. Studios, where they filmed the Harry Potter movies.

The Hogwarts houses and the Hogwarts crest. In 2012 the studios will have a tour of several sets from the films. Which is just one more excuse for me to come back to London.

Sir John Soane’s Museum

27 Mar

Saturday the 19th Sam and I walked from our dorm in West London to Holborn, which is in Central London, to visit Sir John Soane’s Museum. It was quite a long walk but the weather was fantastic: sunshine and warmth with a bit of a breeze, perfect for a good walk. We went through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, then down Oxford Street (and the shoppers’ chaos) to Holborn.

Springtime in London is beautiful, all of the parks have flowers in bloom and people out and about enjoying the sun with their families and dogs.

Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park; people come here to rant and rave about all sorts of things every Sunday.

We passed a Hare Krishna march which was very colorful and lively.

Do you know the muffin man? The muffin man? The muffin man!

The Lincoln's Inn, in Lincoln's Inn Fields.

Sir John Soane's Museum, located in Sir John Soane's house.

Sir John Soane was an architect and an art collector. His museum is interesting in that everything is open — furniture and sculptures and paintings all occupy former parlour’s and living rooms and the basement. The downside to this is that you can’t really see everything as some objects are on the bottom shelf or top shelf and the lighting is original to the house so it is quite dim. It was still fun to wander around an upper class London home and admire the vast quantities of books Soane owned.

After the museum Sam and I met another friend, Tracy, for Indian food in Brick Lane. Another delicious end to a beautiful day in London. I will miss Brick Lane when I go back to Boston…

National Portrait Gallery

14 Mar

On Sunday it was drizzly so a few friends and I went for a walk to Trafalgar square to see the St. Patrick’s Day festival. We took a bus to Hyde Park and walked past Buckingham to the square. Our walk took us down the Mall (rhymes with pal) which gave wonderful views of St. James’s park.

Buckingham

Parliament is just visible through the tree's along the Mall

A sure sign that spring is here in London

There were a few kids running through the flocks of pigeons, it was adorable.

The Eye just visible beyond the park. London is beautiful in the spring.

The festival was a bit lame…

St. Patrick's Day festival stage

Irish donut stand; Abby was once told by another of our friends "You smell like a nice, fresh daisy."

A giant ship in a bottle

After we got bored with the festival, we went around the block to the National Portrait Gallery. Photography wasn’t allowed inside, but we got to see portraits of Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria, the Bronte Sisters, John Donne, Paul McCartney, Prince William and Prince Harry, Princess Di and Shakespeare, just to name a few.