lion, victoria & albert museum, london

The London Trip Is Over?! No!!!!!!

It’s with a tear in my eye that this is the last of my London posts. And, as we wanted to make the most of our quickly dwindling moments in London, Mr. Husband and I took advantage of a night at the museum…no, not the Ben Stiller movie, although you may find a familiar face from the movie in this post.

London Museums

Sure the museums of London (including the Museum of London) are places where you can see oodles of pretty things, learn about ancient cultures, and admire the craftsmanship of days gone by, but one of the best things about many of the museums in London? They’re totally free (okay, they’d like a donation, but no one will bar your entry if you don’t drop a few coins in the box).

This not only means you can go into museum overload (as we did a bit in Greenwich) and stay on budget, but you can also pop in a museum for a bit, see a few things, leave once you can’t stand the sight of another pot shard, then come back later once you’ve regained your mental clarity.

Among the freebies is the British Museum.. We’d been there the last time we were in London, but this time we went with a list of a few must-see items thinking this planning ahead would save us time. Um…no. Why? Because every room we went through to find the object we were looking for had things that caught our eye. Ah well, so much for planning. Of course, before we left, we had to stop by to see this handsome, but dimwitted fellow…

Yep, that’s DumDum from Night at the Museum, or maybe it’s his body double.

Another freebie stop was the Natural History Museum, mainly because I wanted to ride the earthquake simulator…which I ended up doing a couple times (I’m easily entertained). Then it was off to their Rock Collection so Mr. Husband could ooh and ahh over case after case of hunks of stone while I made a beeline to The Vault that houses some spectacular sparklies including a giant emerald and a cursed amethyst (spooky!).

Interior of the NHM

Our Final Night Out at Vicki and Bert’s Place

Another terrific thing some of the museums in London take part in is staying open late one night a week. These nights are great as we learned during our last trip to the big city because, for the most part, the tourists are gone and the museums’ halls are mostly empty (in kind of a creepy way sometimes).

Our final night in London was a Friday and that coincided with the late-night opening of the Victoria & Albert Museum (the V&A for those in the know). I can’t describe this museum. It’s meant to showcase design across the ages and across cultures, so it has tidbits of all sorts of things from fashion to furniture, but the layout is such that you feel like you’re discovering room after room of treasures.

If you arrive by Underground, you walk through a loooong passageway and enter the museum’s lower level that has a loooong gallery of sculpture. including Theseus and the Minotaur, which I had to get a picture of since that’s the myth my current novel is based on.

theseus, minotaur, victoria & albert museum, london

This looks a little naughty.

There’s also a full room of sculptures that were copied from the originals to give people who couldn’t travel abroad a chance to see these works of art.

David, victoria & albert museum, london

You can’t pass up a crotch shot of David.

Although the museum is quite safe, you should watch out for the cats…

lion, victoria & albert museum, london

Awww, he’s cute…and shiny!

victoria & albert museum, london

Eek!!!

Stairwells are guarded by some odd creatures at the V&A….

victoria & albert museum, london

When I said “tidbits” you may have thought I meant small objects, but the V&A is all about design…even on a grand scale as this screen from a church shows (note the itty bitty person at lower right).

victoria & albert museum, london

And, you can’t leave without a stroll through the room full of stained glass…

stained glass, victoria & albert museum, london

We ended up spending far longer at the museum than we intended, but eventually we had to drag ourselves back to the apartment so we could pack our bags and bid a sad farewell to this fabulous city.

More  Goodbyes….

I’m not only saying goodbye to London in this post, but also goodbye to all of you for a couple weeks. (I’m sorry, I should have warned you that was coming so you could get some tissues to dry your eyes.) With a new art show to prepare for and set up, a couple grants whose applications need filled in with intelligent answers (ha!), and the rewrite of my novel getting thisclose to completion, I could use a little extra time.

Despite all the “Star Talk” episodes I listen to, I have yet to figure out the physics of time travel and need to hack something off my to-do list to gain a little extra time. So not only will I probably be quiet on social media (even more quiet than I have been lately), but I’ll also not be posting here for the next two weeks.

But mark your calendars because I’ll be back at the beginning of July brimming with posts about my new art show, a few pieces of new artwork, and the happy dance-inducing progress of my book. Hope to see you then!

How about you? Ever take advantage of the late night offerings at London museums? Does your city offer any free museums or open-late evenings? Have a favorite museum in the world? Tell me all about it (especially since I’d love hints for future vacations!)

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Day Tripping to Italy from London

It may sound crazy, but you really can take a day trip to Venice while you’re in London. Okay, it’s just Little Venice – a neighborhood in the northern bit of London – and may not be as famous as its Italian namesake, but it was still worth a little excursion while Mr. husband and I were in London.

Studying the Maps

Since Little Venice isn’t at the top of Things to See in most London guidebooks, I happened to discover it by scouring some maps when I was trying to sort out how to make the most of our week in the big city. I knew I wanted to walk along Regent’s Canal, but wasn’t exactly sure where to start our journey. Well, a little time with the city map and the Underground map, and voila, I’d found our starting point in Little Venice.

A Little Bit About Little Venice

With a name like “Little Venice” you have to expect canals (although there are some mighty fine canals in Amsterdam too, so why not Little Amsterdam?). And canals you’ll get because it’s the meeting point of Regent’s Canal, the Grand Union Canal, and the Paddington Basin. In keeping with the Venetian terminology, the point where these waterways meet has an ever-so quaint nickname “The Lagoon” (officially named Brownings Pool, you can see why the nickname is more popular).

little venice, london, regents canal

The Lagoon

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Making My Shakespearian Debut in London

My original plan of covering the London Trip in only three blog posts seems to have failed. Ah well, it’s next to impossible to not go on and on about such a terrific city. Today we head to the south side of London for some strolling, some shopping, and some Shakespeare-ing.

The Making of This Day

When Mr. Husband and I were sorting out what we wanted to do on this trip there were a handful of places we wanted to re-visit, but we also wanted new experiences (which is how we ended up taking a Roman excursion in The City, trekking up Hampstead Heath, and crossing underneath the Thames).

Since I love the Graham Norton show, I tried to get tickets for the time we’d be in London, but apparently the Norton crew didn’t want a couple Americans in their building (who can blame them). I was a little disappointed, but not terribly because I had been reading about the Summer of Love shows at Shakespeare’s Globe and was pretty keen on attending one even before our shameful rejection by Graham. Continue reading

Crossing the Line in London

Okay, okay, that title should be “Crossing the Line in Greenwich,” but “Crossing the Line in London” appeals more to my alliteration-loving sensibilities.

During our recent trip to London, Mr. Husband and I seemed to be making up for all the things we wanted to do last time (way back in 2013), but couldn’t manage to squeeze in. Besides a wander over Hampstead Heath and a spiraling climb up The Monument, we wanted to straddle two worlds in Greenwich. And I just had to see what it was like to walk across the bottom of the Thames.

But First…Getting There

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the monument, city of london, london

A City Day in London

Okay, first off, let’s get our words in order. London is a marvelous city….note the lowercase “c” on city. But The City of London is also pretty cool…note the capital “C” this time. What’s the difference? The city of London means the city as a whole, whereas The City of London is a section of London. It’s actually a corporation and works semi-independently of London (the city) itself, including having its own police force and mayor (who has the spectacular job title of  Lord Mayor of the City of London).

Although very interesting from a historic standpoint, the last time Mr. Husband and I were in London, we didn’t make any time for The City except to wander over after touring the Tower of London to go gawk at the Gherkin. So, this time around, I did my research and planned a City day full of historical ups and downs.

Monumental Ups

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