Wednesday, January 6, 2010


We were "stranded" in London the other night due to extreme weather conditions (translation: heavy snowfall). It was just awful...we were stuck eating delicious homemade curry (three varieties, no less), surrounded by the nicest people and forced to sleep on a comfy bed in a cozy flat in London. (Can you imagine?) In all seriousness, we were unable to make our way back to Canterbury which has been our homebase since we arrived but it was a welcome diversion. J's friends, A+H, had us over for an intimate gathering with some of the English language teachers that J had worked with in Japan (before we met). It was great to finally meet these people I had heard so much about and seen so many photos of. They were all as wonderful as I'd imagined and really cool. I think the coolest of them all was little Flo who was a bundle of energy and so entertaining.

The following morning, the three of us made it over to the Tate Modern which I was happy to see but to be honest not as impressed with as the National Portrait Gallery. After seeing all of the beautiful paintings and drawings and imagining how many hours of work each portrait must have taken, I just could not appreciate Marcel Duchamp's or Jeff Koons' dadaist interpretations of art. When I saw Koons' installation of vacuum cleaners in a glass case, I found it a little offensive, although I realize one of the contentions of modern art is that the word "artist" should not be just confined to those who have specialized training or expertise and the notion that anyone can be an artist.

In any case, my highlight of the Tate was the amazing gift shop they had. Seriously folks, housed in the shop were many lovely items from the hundreds of book titles available to the racks of gorgeous postcards to the coolest children's art-related items. It was vast and wonderful - like a really special bookstore which you could spend hours in.

And sadly, today was our last day in London. We had grandiose ideas of what we'd be able to do but the unpredictable and inclement weather dictated our schedule. We had plans of visiting the British Museum but found out that many of the trains were running on limited schedules. In fact, people working in London were advised to leave downtown by 7:00 pm to avoid being stranded due to the limited trains. I didn't mind because we had a really amazing day anyway. We visited Platform 9 3/4 at King's Cross Station (and took cheesy pictures), had a delicious lunch at the Inspiralled Lounge (which rivals our all-time favorite meal at Hermitage - it was that good) and of course, traversing the maze that is known as Camden Market.

And tonight? We're chilling out in Canterbury with our lovely friends, drinking tea and anticipating UK's version of Big Brother (there's something addictive and mesmerizing with its banality). Oh yeah, and we need to pack our things for Paris which we hope to be able to get to seamlessly and smoothly, depending on what happens with the weather tonight and how the trains will be affected. Fingers crossed! Then, it's three days in Paris and back to Canterbury on Monday night to pack and spend our last night in the UK before leaving for Toronto on Tuesday morning. (Sigh)

Take friends and keep warm. Talk soon. xo

(Did I mention it's freezing here?)

1 comment:

SnapandPrint said...

A friend of mine works at the Tate...she keeps telling me to visit and she can get me in and show me around. I would love that a lot.

I am dying to see the giftshop!