London day two and it starts out a wet one

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Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London » Trafalgar Square
October 13th 2013
Published: October 20th 2013
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As forecasted, the rain had arrived overnight hammering away on the two skylights in the roof of the building. By morning it was still raining steadily and prospects are for this to continue for most of the day. We really can’t complain though as we have been very fortunate with hardly any rain on days when we wanted to be outside sightseeing. Today it doesn’t matter as we have enough to do inside with a couple of art galleries and a museum to visit and we can link them by underground if we have to.

So we set off just after 10am with the National Art Gallery located in Trafalgar Square as our first port of call. We were able to keep dry getting there with cover all the way from the train station to the underground where we made the change of transport.

It seemed like everyone else had the same idea as us as there were crowds entering the art gallery when we arrived and we hoped that getting around and seeing what we wanted to wouldn’t be too difficult with so many people around.

One of the great things about many of the art galleries and museums in London are free to enter which is a big saving when you consider what these sorts of places cost in other comparable European cities where you can pay around NZ$40 equivalent or more.

We had a few ‘must sees ‘which we had read from the online site for the art gallery and now it was just a matter of locating them as we walked around.

We set off with the idea of starting on the right hand side and walking from gallery to gallery stopping where the paintings took our interest and that worked out quite well for most of the way although not all the galleries flowed together quite that well.

Thankfully all of the galleries had somewhere to sit down and it was good to take a rest every so often and enable us to keep on going for the rest of the day.

All of the world’s well known painters have some of their work on display with more Rembrandt’s and Van Gogh’s than you can shake a stick at to see.

As you cannot take photographs we have given some links to our favourites.

After a couple of hours, mostly on our feet walking through the many varied rooms, we decided we had taken enough in and it was time to move on to the British Museum.

As it was also lunchtime and we had spotted a couple of pubs close to the square we found one that was serving food and ordered up a plate of nachos and a couple of pints of cider to wash them down before we moved on to the afternoon activity.

Just down the road from the pub was the Horse Guards quarters and parade ground so before we headed off to the British Museum we walked down to see what was going on and were fortunate to arrive just before 2pm when they change the horse guards.It isn't a flashy ceremony but it is one we remembered from 4 years ago when we stood in the wrong place as the two new guards on their horse trot out to go into the boxes that face the street.On that occasion we almost didn't get out of the way quick enough and today was a repeat as I was trying to get the horses and their riders in the middle of the video screen with all my concentration. It is a neat little ceremony if you happen to arrive at the right time like we did.

As it worked out the British Museum wasn’t that far away and as the rain had stopped we walked the kilometre or so to the location in Great Russell Street seeing more of London that we hadn’t walked through before.

Again, there were big crowds milling around the entrance so this too, like the art gallery. Was going to be a challenge to get close to what we want to see.

The museum is reported to have a very good display of pieces taken from The Parthenon, Athens and we were keen to see what was here.

First, however we took a walk through the ancient Egyptian rooms where there were more mummies on display than either have ever seen before in one place and all well presented with lots of history about each one.

The exhibition of the frieze taken from the Parthenon in the late 1800’s was certainly impressive with detail information as to what to look for in each piece. So too were the sculptures also from the Parthenon although it seems wrong in a way for these pieces to be exhibited so far away from their ‘home’.

After a couple of hours we had seen pretty much all we wanted to see and anyway the crowds had, as expected, been a challenge in the smaller rooms, so we found our way out to the daylight and a sky which had brightened up from this morning.

We had had enough of making the connection for our train at Elephant and Castle and so took the underground from Charing Cross to Black Friars which is a modern enclosed rail station above ground where it is a bit warmer if we have to wait for a train. And that was what happened, we arrived just moments after a train had left and the next was 25 minutes away.

With all the walking and standing we have done today we were ready to put our feet up when we got home for a beer before it was time to cook dinner and plan tomorrow’s activities.

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