london // day 4

I’m blessed (not religiously - you know what I mean) by pleasant weather for my visit of St. Paul’s Cathedral. It’s a stunning building, both outside and in. I manage to take cool photos - even though it’s forbidden - of St.Paul’s interior, as today is Ash Wednesday and the smoke rising up to the cathedral ceiling creates a dreamy effect.

I then cross over the Millenium Bridge (yes, the bridge destroyed by the Death Eaters in that terrible 6th Harry Potter film). What an architectural beauty. Just on the other side, I enter the Tate Modern, the museum I had most been looking forward to seeing. Even though I don’t bother getting tickets to access the temporary exhibits, I still have access to half-a-dozen large galleries, and spend a good two hours in the museum. There isn’t a single exhibit I dislike. In fact, I very much like nearly every work displayed in the Tate Modern. In particular, I discover a series of 2-dimensional works of Louise Bourgeois in Louise Bourgeois: Works on Paper. The artist, who is commonly known for her sculptures, has actually produced a number of interesting drawings and paintings, many around the themes of motherhood and sex.

My favorite exhibit at the Tate Modern, though, has to be Everyday Alchemy: Contemporary Sculpture. Walking through these rooms filled with minimalist, textured, provocative, colorful and innovative pieces is, for me at least, a delight. Unfortunately, it seems a group of obnoxious French teens on a school trip do not share my opinions. I repress the urge to scold them as they lament at one of the minimalist works on display, clearly having failed to read the sign and make any effort to appreciate the artist’s concept.

Eugenia had suggested I grab lunch at the nearby Borough Market, which I make my way to after snapping a few photos of the Globe Theater and the Shard. Borough Market is a food lover’s paradise. From vegetable, wine or cheese shops to butchers and bakers, it really has it all. If you’re a chocolate lover I urge you to step into Rabot 1745, where you can purchase decadent hot chocolate, cocoa beans by the pound and an array of different dark chocolates.

Because I can easily find decent Thai food, falafels and vegetarian stews back home, I follow Eugenia’s recommendation and join the line for Pie Minister. Though Pie Minister’s Moo & Blue sounds like a party (blue cheese is my absolute favorite), I am intrigued by the Heidi, which contains an original combination of Somerset goat cheese, sweet potatoes, spinach and red onion. I sit on a bench, approving of my life choices.

I cross back over the Thames on the London Bridge, which (lolz) does not fall down. A very scenic path along the river leads me east to the Tower of London, whose deceiving name had led me to picture a single tower, not an entire castle. Though I opt against going inside the castle (I’ve seen enough of those back in Scotland), I do take some photos. I then continue east and walk through the St.Katharine Docks, a calm little docking area where I am able to see a dozen beautiful sailboats.

From the docks I take the 78 bus to Shoreditch, an up-and-coming neighborhood comparable to Manhattan’s Meatpacking District (I apologize for the numerous analogies - I can’t help but compare places sometimes). Disclaimer: as an art, fashion and design aficionado, I can pretty much spend hours in indie stores. If this is not your cup of tea, consider skipping the following list: One Good Deed Today, Goodhood, SCP, Material and Denham. If not, VISIT THEM ALL!! Shoreditch is also home to a number of super hip cafés, which are greats spots for spotting the latest beard trends. I take a quick rest at Dirty Coffee, where I order a scrumptious oatmeal cookie.

I take Kingsland Road up to The Geffrye Museum of the Home. This little gem allows you to see the evolution of interior decorating trends in England, from the 17th century to today. It displays entire recreations of rooms from each different century, along with explanations of that period’s fashion. It only takes half an hour to visit, and I really enjoy it.

Finally, I walk along Old Street all the way to the British Museum. The building is yet another example of how contemporary architecture can be successfully juxtaposed with historical structures. The English truly do a wonderful job at upkeeping their museums. Anyway, I only have thirty minutes until closing time, so I power-walk past many of the rooms (I’ve never been a fan of coins and ancient objects behind glass anyway). I end up spending most of my time in the beautiful Enlightenment Room, a grand space full of old books and statues. I overhear an unforgettable piece of conversion in which a father tells his young daughter: “You see, this is where you want to meet a man. If a guy likes visiting museums then he’ll probably make an interesting companion”. AMEN.

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