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Published: August 12th 2009
View from Tate Modern
Looking across the Millennium Bridge to St. Paul's Cathedral. This is the bridge that is ripped up in the opening scenes of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince."
Every day is so full here, I've decided to just write for now about one great day we had, last Thursday.
We decided to visit two great art museums, the Tate Britain and the Tate Modern, and we took advantage of the "Tate-to-Tate" boat service to travel along the Thames in between.
First up was the Tate Britain, which focuses on British artists. I particularly like the Victorian-era painters, the Pre-Raphaelites, etc. (By the way, there is currently a TV series on in England about these painters, called “Desperate Romantics.”) They also had some good modern work, on the theme of Classification that were very interesting. One featuring an alleged collection of primitive artifacts, called the Chapman Family Collection. The more you looked at these, the more you realized that they were not authentic, but instead were the artist's commentary on modern culture.....ask if you want to know more.
The boat ride was easy to access and gave us a great view, especially of the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye....(more on that later)
We all really enjoyed the Tate Modern, as we do Mass MOCA at home. You just never know what you'll see, and
On the South Bank
Be warned...this just might be the Christmas card photo this year!
sometimes what you think you're seeing isn't really what's there. Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, Damian Hirst, and more.
From there we walked along the South Bank down to the London Eye. This was a great walk. There were lots of street performers and public art. In front of the National Theater, there was a set of oversized living room furniture covered in astroturf. Kids were climbing all over it as the statue of Lawrence Olivier looked on. We saw trees covered in polka dot fabric, amazing graffiti at a skate park, and lots of statues and outdoor sculpture.
If you don't know, the London Eye is a gigantic Ferris wheel, with large glass enclosed cars that each hold about 25 people. It was built in 2000, and has quickly become one of the most popular tourist attractions in London.
I was nervous about the Eye, and was seriously considering not going. I absolutely hate Ferris wheels and heights in general. The whispering gallery up inside the dome of St. Paul's had me faint and whoozy a few years ago. I didn't want to spoil the fun by having a panic attack or throwing up, but I decided
to be brave. The line for tickets was not as long as we had expected, and the 30-minute line to actually get on the eye was just about 30 minutes, as promised. You get a good look at this impressive piece of machinery as you wait.....I tried really hard not to think about the actual "flight" as they call it.
To my great relief, it really wasn't that bad. It moves so slowly (30 minutes for one revolution) that you can convince yourself that you're in a tall building and not really moving. Once in a while you do get a sensation of your car swinging, and I had a few difficult moments, but I was able to sit down inside the car and close my eyes, and the anxiety passed. And the view is just amazing. We could see all the way to Hampstead Heath, and down into Trafalgar Square, and over the rooftops to St. Paul's further up the river. It was extraordinary. I am so glad I did this.
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