Tuesday, 14 August 2012

What I did on my winter vacation

One of the most exciting things that happened to me whilst in the capital of the UK is that I lost 7 pounds (of body weight, not money). I guess that's what walking for hours carrying a daypack holding two cameras, a water bottle and Lonely Planet will do for you. I drank pints and pints of beer and had chips at lunch nearly every day, but I don't seem to have put on an ounce. Hurrah!

I didn't really "do" the museums or the art galleries. I visited the V&A one afternoon, but found it overwhelming. How much silver can a person look at in a day? And I went to the Museum of London, the largest urban history museum in the world. But most of the time, it was so bright and mild (by Canadian standards) outside - perfect picture-taking weather. So I walked around and took pictures.

I photographed things that were interesting to me. Some of these are in the photo album on the left, but I have a lot more - I took 135 digital pictures and about 30 with my point-and-shoot 35mm camera. I didn't bring the SLR as it's very heavy, the light meter is unreliable, and I need to replace a part on it.

I photographed Georgian terraces, an apartment building near Oxford Street, pastel-painted houses on Portobello road, various churches, some of them "famous", like St Sepulchre-without-Newgate, which stands near where Newgate Prison used to be, in the City, and St Giles-in-the-Field, in St Giles, which used to be one of the worst slums in London. I photographed Seven Dials (almost getting hit by a taxi in the process).

I went to the theatre - friends got us really great seats at Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, starring Kathleen Turner and Bill Irwin. It was really good. My favourite line is "Never mix, never worry".

I went shopping at Liberty of London, which is famous for making Art Nouveau and Arts & Crafts furniture and decor accessible to the masses (well, the middle-class masses, I guess). I also explored the food halls at Harrods and Fortnum & Mason, and popped into Peter Jones. I bought my nephew the sweetest little cardigan and a jacket at Mothercare in Oxford Street. I walked down Carnaby Street a couple of times, because I was in the neighbourhood.

Six days wasn't nearly enough time to explore, so I'm tentatively planning another trip for the end of May. A few more days in London, overnight in Hastings and visiting the nearby very beautiful town of Rye, and maybe a couple of days in Paris? We'll see. May's the earliest I can get away for good weather and somewhat fewer tourists. Either that or I'll wait till September. But I'm definitely going back this year. There's so much more I want to see and now's the time to do it!

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