Friday, June 14, 2013

One More Day in London, with One Day More

There is nothing that 10 hours of sleep and plenty of sunshine can't make better.

So although my first day in London yesterday was very good, today was even greater--as I was fully awake to enjoy it.

Though not setting an alarm was a sign of permission to sleep as late as needed, I nonetheless was rather surprised when I awoke and discovered it to be about 10:20am, and I still didn't get out of bed. 

But I did eventually and got out of my hotel around 11. Though I had had thoughts of trying to get to the observation deck of the new Shard tower, it wasn't a great priority and the day was a bit overcast at that point.

So I walked about 10 minutes from my hotel to the Tate Modern art museum, located in an old power station along the Thames River, across from St. Paul's Cathredral. 

I've been there once or twice before and recall it having a great modern art collection, which I'll now downgrade to very good. Not quite MOMA levels, but some strong Picasso (including "Weeping Woman") along with some Magritte, Braque, de Chirico, Mondrian, Kandinsky and Rothko, including the Seagram murals. These were works commissioned to adorn the Four Seasons restaurant in New York's Seagram building, but drawn to dark hues unlikely to please diners, Rothko eventually rejected the commission and the 9 paintings wound up going to the Tate Modern, where 6 of them fill a low-lit room. 

After the Tate, it was onto the Globe Theater, the recreation of the one where most Shakespeare plays were premiered. I'd once toured the outside, but had never been to a play in the open air venue, so caught a matinee of a touring, all-female Taming Of The Shrew. 

I was up high in the gallery and didn't quite understand all that was going on onstage, but enjoyed it nonetheless. The 8 women often played dual roles and while their costumes pegged to the 1920s were fine, this was one time I would've preferred traditional Shakespeare. But I did enjoy that the cast members played music before, during and after the show. 

After returning to a nearby Starbucks for some WiFi usage, and a muffin, I took a nice long stroll along the Thames, from a great view of St. Paul's to a great view of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. 

I even walked all the way to the Queens Theatre near Picadilly Circus, where I caught an evening performance of Les Miserables. This was my 9th time seeing the musical live, from Broadway down to high school productions, but I had never before seen it in London, where it has run consecutively since opening in 1985. 

It remains majestic, all the more so because it the original staging with a turntable stage, which has been phased out on recent tours in America. All the voices and performances were perfect and I couldn't have asked for it--my 2nd favorite musical (behind The Producers) but the one I feel is the best ever created. 

Afterward I took a stroll to Picadilly Circus, stopping to buy a postcard stamp in a store that also had Jamaican patties (somewhat like an empanada), so I got one of those which was rather good. 

Now I'm back at my hotel, look forward to an exciting day tomorrow. I don't imagine I'll do an evening wrapup post, as I'm flying out of London to Krakow early Sunday morning and will get home late from a Bruce Springsteen concert at Wembley Stadium on Saturday night. 

Yep, tomorrow will be highlighted by the Boss. Though I'll also try to get to the National Gallery, the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace and Wimbledon for a tour prior to the tournament starting next week.

I have shared some photos I've taken on my iPhone here:


No comments: