Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Day with Vic, Al and the Wizard

It's Monday, our last day in London. We missed breakfast. Hard to imagine, because it's so delicious but we must have been really exhausted. We did get our lattes, so at the very least that woke us up.

Today is all about Vic and Al! One of the reasons we chose a hotel in Kensington is because of the proximity to the Victoria and Albert Museum. A quick hop on the bus, and we're finally there. For those of us who love the Victorian era, this is the Mother Ship.

We discover the Medieval Wing has just been reopened, so we head there first. We have to walk through a gallery filled with statues. This guy reminds me of something... or is it someone?

We wander through here for a while, but remember our goal - The Medieval Wing. Right...

There is a beautiful collection of hand-carved altars. One thing I learned from this visit, the Catholic priests had stuff -- and it was beautiful. Paintings, vestments, illuminated Bibles and tapestries.

We encountered the expected sort of thing, like a suit of armor, and unexpected like this amazing chandelier from Chihuly -- a Northwest artist I've admired for years. What a wonderful thing to see his work here in the center of the museum.

Of course there's a fashion collection in the Vic and Al -- and of course, we visited it! Like I said before, this is the "Fashion Tour of London and Paris". I took this photo of Victorian men's clothing, because it's hard to find good examples of what the guys wore. (Maybe these belonged to that statue above).

And we found one of Princess Diana's beautiful gowns. Do you remember when she wore this?

Finally, after four hours of the museum, we just didn't think we could look at another beautiful, incredible thing. And we were hungry. So we set off for Piccadilly Circus. We'd heard you could get a bus map there, and we'd been bemoaning the fact that we couldn't use buses more often because we couldn't figure out where they traveled. So we'd used the tube a lot.
It was very efficient, but not as scenic.

Piccadilly Circus reminded me of Times Square, lots of people converging there and a lot of traffic. Of course when I was in NYC in May, the city had closed down Times Square and it was a pedestrian mall. I actually thought that was brilliant.

We did indeed find a bus map, and we decided to have some lunch at a pub. We tried the "pies" specialties, I had shepherd's pie, with hamburger, carrots, peas and gravy all covered over with mashed potatoes. With my dark beer, (we learned early that the ales were kinda weak, so we went for the darker stuff) we had a feast.

Now comes a lesson. After eating we returned to Piccadilly Circus and looked at the map. I pointed out that the West End Theater District was close by, and we should go and get some theater tickets for tonight. It was a grand idea, and then the mist turned into drizzle and that turned into a pounding rain. We got soaked, despite umbrellas, boots, hats, gloves, etc. And "right next to" is relative when you're looking at a map. We finally found the theater district, and purchased tickets for Wicked.
I've actually seen this musical twice before in New York, but Sheryl had never seen it, and since we'd already had a close encounter with OZ -- and we are from the Emerald City -- it just seemed appropriate.
We hurried back to our hotel, dried off, warmed up and changed our clothes. Then it was back out the door to see the show! We had great seats, (no one in front of us, for short girls, that's a miracle!)

I realized that the scenery, background and costumes are all Steampunk! No wonder I love this show!

After the show we returned to hour hotel, had a lovely nightcap and packed our bags. We have a car coming to pick us up tomorrow at 7:30am, because we are on our way to PARIS!


Tanya Hanson said...

Hi Deb, what terrific pix. And I"m jealous LOL. Yes, I remember Princess Di's white beaded ensemble. I miss her.

SO glad you had a wonderful trip.

Here's to tons of success with Promise Me.


P.L. Parker said...

Gosh I am so jealous. Someday . . . Thanks for sharing.

Helen Pilz said...

Awesome pictures! I was in London in 2004 and wasn't able to make it to the V&A Museum. Looking at your photos, when I go back, I'm going to make it one of my first visits! Thank you for sharing!

Mary said...

I love the V&A! There's way too much there to see in one trip though, so I usually recommend folks pick 2-4 areas to avoid the dreaded "museum burnout". I spent several hours in just the musical instruments and fashion exhibits.

I believe there's a good documentary about Chihuly doing his thing at the V&A. Appropriately named, "Chihuly at the V&A" - you might want to check it out.

Deborah Schneider said...

Thank you everyone for visiting.

Tanya, you're headed to sunshine and I'm jealous! But I booked our tickets to Costa Rica last night.
Have fun.

PL - I waited a long time to visit Europe again, but now I'm able to travel more and enjoy every minute.

You are so right Mary about limiting your museum time. I'll be talking about the Louvre soon... and we learned that.

Helen, I know lots of folks who never make it to the V&A, but too bad. I wish we were staying longer because we would have gone again.

Caroline Clemmons said...

I love the Victorian era, but I also enjoyed the photos of other eras. Thanks for sharing.

Mary Ricksen said...

Love the pictures, have a great time!

Jackie Smith said...

What fun....will follow you daily!
Have fun!!!

librarypat said...

What a trip! I am so jealous. Your are going to many of the places on my dream list. Hope the trip is/was as wonderful as it looks.

traveler said...

Love those special photos. Looks amazing.