Well, I am alive and well and living in London!
The flight was uneventful – and after, I successfully got my suitcase, got through customs, and got to the apartment on the Underground. The train’s final destination (not where I live) was Cockfosters, and the little electronic read kept going “This train is for Cockfosters,” which I found very amusing in my semi-awake state. And still do. Ah, a twenty-one-year-old woman with the mind of a twelve-year-old boy.
Of course, the apartment wasn’t ready at eight in the morning, so I dropped my bags off and wandered about London for five and a half hours. I walked through Hyde Park and saw various monuments (including J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan) and the Serpentine Gallery (some semi-photographic artist called Wolfgang Tillmans, interesting if a bit odd). The Serpentine Lake had lots of different birds, many perched in a museum-like way on wood posts sticking out of the water. It was very pretty, and only occasionally drizzling, so I enjoyed the walk. I got tired of walking, so I took the tube to Covent Garden and got a phone and some groceries before heading back to the apartment. The apartment is very cute – it’s a little studio (the cabinet in the photo with the fancy glittery bed is actually the kitchen in a very house-of-the-future way) with a big TV and, of course, the all-important internet. They gave me a bottle of wine and cookies, and I bought some breakfasty things, so I’m all set.
I got up at like eight thirty today because I had an appointment to look at some drawings by Arthur Hughes at the Tate Britain. It went really well – the drawings were little things, pretty incredible, and the lady was very nice and gave me a magnifying glass and the name of some books to look at and I felt very official. Then I hung around the Tate Britain for a while – it’s really an amazing museum. There was an exhibit on the Romantics, so I’m now more in love with Turner than before, and there was also a whole room of Pre-Raphaelite stuff, which I got so excited about that I didn’t notice the famous Ophelia painting by John Everett Millais until I actually had already wandered around three-fourths of the space. There was also a fighter plane hanging in one gallery. It was an art piece. Yes, an actual fighter plane.
In the afternoon I went to the Tower of London. I went on part of a tour but got bored of being toured and wandered off on my own. It was cool, but really big, and as yesterday I’d made the mistake of taking the ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY THREE steps out of a tube stop (glargh), the vast numbers of steps in the various towers were somewhat difficult. Also, for some reason the White Tower was entirely full of an exhibit on armor, and one (and by one I mean me) can only look at so much armor. However, the towers on the wall were interesting and even a bit creepy, especially one where the prisoners had scratched things into the wall while waiting to be executed. I also saw the stairway where the bodies of two murdered princes were found (they were just kids, I got sad), and other accordingly bloody bits of London’s history. There was a big glass oval egg building nearby and I got all excited about it and asked one of the Beefeaters (guard-tour guide-people) what it was, and he looked at me like I was crazy and was like, “That? Um…that’s an office building…”
Well, how would I know?
Regardless, it was gorgeous here today, even a tad warm at times…blue skies and all that jazz. I must have brought the California weather to England…pictures to follow soon!