Ryan’s Insights and Other Tales
It is breakfast time at Mr. Personality’s B& B. There are six of us at breakfast, a record since we have been here. We are squeezed into a tiny room that looked like a ballroom on the website. The menu has not changed in honor of our breakfast guests. The quantity has not changed either. When the croissants disappear, toast appears. It is cut into festive triangles, so that maybe it will pass as something other than toast.
When we open our B&B, we will have a daily changing variety of edibles to wake up the mouth and mind to be ready for a new day. Those of you reading this will be entitled to a big discount. We are still scouring the world for its location, so stay turned to this newsletter for further updates and discount coupons.
Today is the last day of our Travel Pass. It provided us unlimited rides on the tubes, buses, trains, and the Thameslink for seven days. When you don’t know a city, unlimited transportation is important. You are bound to retrace steps that you made by mistake. It would be hateful to have to pay twice for your mishaps. Out of the eleven different tube lines, we were on ten at least one time, not always on purpose. Of the scores of bus routes, we covered at least twenty-five of them, and then there were the trains and catamarans.
Let’s go off topic for a minute. Have you ever noticed that when you are on an escalator, the handrail and the steps are not in synch? If you hold the handrail, your hand will get to the top or bottom faster than your feet. I have wondered why this is and after careful research that has not been funded by any government monies, I have reached two conclusions. Conclusion one: Going down the escalator, your hand is approaching the bottom first because so many people are on their cell phones in the tube, they don’t realize they are reaching the bottom. When they go flying on their face due to this, their hand has arrived first and is instrumental in breaking the fall. Conclusion two: Going up the escalator, inevitably, someone stops at the very top ahead of you to look around, to talk to a friend, or their brain is trying to tell the legs to move once again. Your hand makes it to the top first in order for you to push that person out of the way so you don’t create a domino reaction behind you and send fifty people flying down the stairs.
Without the London Pass, we are out looking for cheap thrills, so the Victoria and Albert Museum fit the bill. The Victoria and Albert Museum or affectionately called the V&A, is billed as the world’s greatest museum for the decorative arts. They have over 5,000 pieces from the year 3,000 BC to present including the largest collection of Renaissance sculpture outside of Italy. As the guide said they have a smattering of everything, but not an overabundance of anything. For 2.50 pounds, you are allowed to wander, explore, delight in one of the most wonderful museums there are. We took the free tour of the museum and were delighted to have a guide that not only knew the museum from nook to cranny, but she was animated too. One could not help but be excited about the works just from her exuberance. At the time of our visit, they had an exhibit of Chihuly. He happens to be an American from Seattle who is a glass artist. He started his career late in life and made it big. Some of his pieces are extraordinary and others seem too abstract to be sensible, plus they were done in bright yellow and orange, not my favorite color scheme. He is loved here and they are thrilled to be able to show his work. After the tour, Ron and I decided to go separate ways since we had different areas we wanted to explore further. I am interested in sculpture and he wanted to see the photography exhibit from Japan and the Frank Lloyd Wright Gallery.
Part of the tour included the cartoons of Raphael. We learned that cartoons were originally large drawing done in strips that were used as a guide for paintings. In this case the cartoons were used for weaving tapestries for Pope Leo. Raphael had to do everything in reverse. The weaver puts the cartoon on the floor as a guide and weaves looking down at the picture. When she is done, it is the bottom of her weaving that is the tapestry, so the reverse order is now righted.
And for your viewing pleasure, I had photos developed onto disc and then uploaded them into my web album. If you are interested in seeing them, since we went through all that expense getting them on CD-Rom and the time and money it took at the Internet café just to share them with you, you can see them at www.photopoint.com . In the right hand corner where it states ‘Visit someone’s album’, put in email@example.com . There are a bunch of albums, but these pictures are in the one called “A Year In The Life”. The album starts when before we left with our going away lunches and progresses through a part of London. You are welcome to visit any album while you are there or come back for another visit. Hey, if you are not interested, you shouldn’t have to worry about it. The expense was nothing really. : )
Some of these things I had been to already when I was here in 1983, but this was Ron’s first time in London. For me, I can never spend enough time at any of these museums, but I need to take it in increments, process, assimilate and see some more. It is so different and certainly more rewarding to travel with someone with whom you can share your impressions.
No trip to London would be complete without a trip to Harrods. It is probably the most famous department store in the world. It became more famous at the tragic death of Princess Diana. She and the son of Harrods owner were lovers. The owner is Egyptian and the first floor has a complete Egyptian theme with large Egyptian statue replicas. On the lower level is a memorial tribute to Diana and her fiancé, Dodie. The memorial stirs mixed emotions for me. They have the last glass of champagne that the two of them drank in the hotel prior to returning to London as well as the engagement ring Dodie had given Diana on the night of the accident. There was a plague professing how much they loved each other. I found the glass of champagne to be a bit maudlin. Also, I think it is insulting to a country where this woman was a Princess and dearly loved by the people to have a memorial professing love to someone who is not part of the Royal family.
The one part about Harrods that is most impressive is the Food Court. This has been replicated, but never duplicated. There are four huge rooms of every imaginable type of food that exists from around the world. This is the only store that I know that has personal shoppers for food. These shoppers will also assist in making up personalized gift baskets for any occasion.
All that food viewing stimulated our need for a cup of coffee. Fortunately, there is an outdoor café on one corner overlooking Harrods. We were able to sit outside enjoying the people watching as well as watching the different country flags fly high from Harrods roof. The architecture of the building is impressive to look at also.
We needed to travel on the tube to get to the Internet café. We have only found two that have both a floppy drive and a CD-Rom. Even with the high speed, it took forever uploading pictures. Then needing a veggie fix, we decided to go to the Leicester Square area for a Chinese buffet. It is one of those ‘All you can eat’ buffets for 4.50. The veggies were satisfying and tasty and we finished just in time to fight with the theater crowd for the tubes. We were hoping for an early evening, but we didn’t make it back until after 11:30, so much for the early evening. I had hoped for to write.