The breakfast room in the basement of the main hotel building is very pretty, lots of china plates on a shelf that circles three sides of the room, windows on the front and back walls with plants on the sills and more china, plates and jugs. Some old cabinets. The wooden tables are covered in pink and blue with standard issue crockery. Breakfast was a bit on the meager side with one egg, one rasher of bacon, one sausage,
toast, and a half of a small tomato, warmed (and fresh not canned thankfully). There was juice and tea and cereal available as well which I didn't have.
I decided I would go to the Museum of London at the Barbican for a couple of hours this morning. I had been there once before in 1993 and really enjoyed it though I was in a bit of a rush and jetlagged during
that visit. I got off the underground at Moorgate and had a wander through the Barbican complex, discovering a lovely old church, St. Giles Cripplegate. It was closed but a sign I was able to read through the window in the door informed me that a church has been on that site for about 1000 years. It seemed that this church had survived the 1666 fire so aside from restorations, I think it must have been over 300 years old. The ages of buildings here is a never-ending source of amazement to me. Canada is so *new* by comparison!
The Museum of London contains the history of the city of London from Roman times through to the 20th century, all told through artifacts found from archaeological excavations and museum pieces over the years.
There is jewelry, furniture, paintings, prints, clothing, ceramics. There are reproduced rooms, dioramas and models. It's really fascinating and you could spend all day there. Admission is only £5 and the ticket is good for a year as well. I did the upper level which ends at the Great Fire of London 1666. There were renovations going on downstairs so that’s all I got to see and I wanted to get back to wait for Chris.
Only he didn't show up. There was a message at the desk so I called him and unforeseen circumstances have prevented him from making it to the city. Damn! My stomach was rumbling so I had to attend to that while I decided what to do with the rest of the day. Across the street from the hotel is a pub, the Jolly Gardener. The weather has turned out to be absolutely summery so I went across, ordered a plate of spaghetti Bolognese and took it and my beer out to a picnic table outside. The food was really good, and beer hit the spot as the sun warmed my bones and lifted my spirits somewhat. Well, it's not as if I couldn't find something to do on my own in London, is it, disappointed though I was. He promises to make it up to me next weekend and believe me. he will!
I had a brochure that I picked up in the lobby and discovered this weekend is the last weekend for an 19th century art exhibit at the Royal Academy of Art titled "From Ingres to Matisse" and also the first weekend of an exhibition titled "Rembrandt's Women". Sorted. The first exhibit, in a brightly lit gallery on the top floor, had a number of Impressionists including one that really struck me called "Coming in From the Field" by Breton. Three women walking barefoot with the taller of the three in the middle embracing the other two while the shafts of wheat are bent gently in the breeze along the sides of the road. That spoke to me of the friendship between myself, and my two best friends so I bought a postcard for each of us. The Rembrandt show was in a series of older, darker galleries featured sketches, drawings, etchings and paintings of women in Rembrandt's life. It was fascinating to see how he viewed them, from maternal to erotic, regardless of body type or age and all of them were curvaceous to varying degrees.
Leaving there I walked along Piccadilly and admired the architecture. That is a repeating theme in my journeys. I love buildings and am constantly branding myself tourist as I walk along gaping up at them, searching for ornamental touches, unusual shapes and rhythmic patterns in the structures. There are a lot of airline offices along Piccadilly and I passed the Burlington Arcade, a Victorian covered shopping center. I decided to have a browse and let me tell you, that is the ultimate window shopping experience!!! The shops are very exclusive with, no doubt, prices to match. The far end comes out on New Bond street with it's plethora of designer shops such as Armani, Ferragamo, Tiffany's, Chanel, Ralph Lauren. You name it. Way out of my league.
My quest for a cup of tea ended in a Pret a Manger shop and I bought a sandwich to take back to the hotel room to supplement the fruit I had from yesterday. I'm not all that comfortable with finding a place to dine in the evening on my own and prefer to eat in the hotel room though I don't mind eating out alone at lunchtime. Partly it's caution, making my way back to the hotel after dark alone and partly it's from sheer exhaustion, having been on my feet for hours.