Grayza goes to London Day 2 (part one)

This is the only day that I have all to myself so have to do everything, which is a tall order.  I started with the biggest slowest breakfast I could manage.  Thus fortified, I headed Underground again and this time managed to get it right but got off a stop early (Embankment I think) to have a little walk along the river, and found a Tardis too thin for even David Tenant to fit into.

And on across the Millennium Bridge (where it is very hard to take a good photo because there are so many people posing for photos), to Tate Modern.  No photography inside I’m afraid.  Now this is somewhere I have long wanted to visit and was one of the first things I wrote down when planning this trip.  I wasn’t all that impressed though.  The collection itself has a lot of interesting pieces, the building has some impressive moments and some real let downs leaving it impossible not to cover some areas several times and not making it clear (to me at least) any sense of continuity or cohesiveness – why were these collected together in this room, is there any reason to see this followed by that… etc.  I also tried Museum Technique #2 here, which was to pay for one of those headphone interactive guide things, I won’t do that again!!!

The audio guide felt very isolating (because of having headphones on) and didn’t add any route or order to anything. I suppose this could be so that users have the flexibility to see what they want in their own order but there could easily have been a recommended path.  Also the guide only went into detail on one or two items in each room.  While I wouldn’t have wanted to listen to detail about every single thing it would have been more useful to be able to choose information on more than that.  Also the big Dell PDA thing was heavy, a handful to operate and just got in the way.  It didn’t take me long to give up on this and listen to the school trips that were going around as the comments from some of the younger ones was much more interesting.

That moan out of the way there are some incredibly iconic pieces here that I am glad I have seen first hand.  Also the current exhibitions were fairly interesting, perhaps with more time than I was giving it I would have enjoyed the place more.

I was about to leave when I decided to take a walk down to the big machine hall which had looked empty to me – this was an incredible experience which I’ll go into when I have more time.  Honestly this was the most thought provoking, perspective altering, inspiring, frightening and enjoyable piece of ‘art’ I have EVER experienced!!

So, back over the bridge and up towards St Pauls, which was the second thing I had written down to visit and climb to the top of, etc.  I was surprised by how massive it was, but then everything here is larger than I expect them to be.  I think of Kelvingrove Museum as being ‘museum size’ all these buildings would laugh at the size of Kelvingrove.  Anyway, St Pauls, I went in, was asked for £12.50 and told that there would be no photography.  Now photography is the main thing I would be doing and I didn’t think that would be value for money.  Perhaps with a tour guide or something, but no it didn’t interest me.

Speaking of money.  I’ve not been going out of my way to do this trip on the cheap but I’m not in a position to be too extravagant either.  Accommodation is the biggest cost for me, the gig I caught last night was free – I found it on the National Theater web site and liked the sound of a blues guitarist.  Today I was planning to catch a lunchtime concert, which was also free but missed it.  Museums and Art Galleries tend to be free ( I always try to eat or drink something and give some kind of donation, but still).

OK, so not too thrilled with Tate Modern and St Pauls effectively written off I started walking about in the general direction of Fleet Street looking for the Temple Church.  Before that however, on my way down I glanced left and spotted this little gem:

St Bride’s Church.  I didn’t get a good look around inside as there was a lunchtime recital taking place that I didn’t feel like., but I did catch this interesting fact: this was Christopher Wren’s tallest steeple and the inspiration for the first Wedding Cake.  So there you go – a little education – now on to the drivel.

It took some doing to find the Temple Church.  In keeping with the legends of Knights Templar it is hidden not just down a side street but an archway with a half closed door over it and no sign posts that I noticed.  It is an extraordinary building and invites you to make mystery out of every piece of architecture and sculpture – no wonder it plays a part in the DaVinci Code.

Much, much more walking took place after this when I discovered lots of theaters, lanes, interesting looking buildings and eventually made it to the British Museum. It’s rubbish don’t bother going!

OK, that’s a little rough it just wasn’t my idea of a good time today.  The building is fantastic and the staff were awesome.  I tried my Museum Technique #3 here which was to go straight to the information desk and ask how the museum worked and what was considered to be its highlights.  Did I mention that Museum Technique #1 happened yesterday at the V&A when I walked around aimlessly looking at everything and taking every turn – it didn’t work, I got lost.  So Technique #3 told me that the museum was organized by country of origin of the pieces and everyone came here to see the Egyptian and Greek stuff – I had a coffee.

Ross had insisted I should come here to see the Elgin Marbles (even though I have been to Elgin) and the Roseta Stone, here it is…

After that I noticed I was looking at the building more than the exhibits, got board and left.  At this point I would like to say that contrary to a lot of how this sounds, I’ve been having a very pleasurable, relaxed and fun day!!

Next, came more walking.  I did think about using London Transport but I just kept walking and finding more interesting places. I’ve been using Google Maps with the GPS on my phone plus a few other London apps I downloaded today has really hit my battery hard, but it just about lasted and led me to Trafalgar Square.

That’s all for now.  Day 2 has to be split into two because it is taking too long to sort out photos and everything so I will try to catch up tomorrow..

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