Thursday, July 02, 2015

Day 1: London

So this summer we celebrate our 10th anniversary. Brad surprised me this winter with tickets to England. A trip with just the two of us. We had a short honeymoon with a few bed and breakfasts and some camping right after our wedding. And most years Brad's folks take our kids for a weekend in February so we can go down for a philosophy/theology conference in Rochester, MN (L'Abri). But this is the first real trip we've taken together. Ever. It was wonderful. I am so thankful for Brad's folks who took Atticus and Dietrich and for Liz and Eric Berget who took Lincoln and Thea Belle (after my dad's chemo made it impossible for my folks to take them). A week alone on an adventure with my best friend. And, guess what, I found out I really do still like Brad -- even more than when we were first married. This trip was so excellent.

We found a very reasonably priced little hotel in the Covent Garden area of central London. We were a block from the Royal Opera House. Close to almost everything we wanted to see. And the staff was super friendly.

View from our window

Our bed from the little sitting room

Desk across from the loveseat sitting area

Bright, clean bathroom with a heated towel rack

The neighborhood around our hotel

The first day we arrived in London we had been traveling for 12 hours, awake for 36, but we wanted to try to make it until the "right" bedtime. We decided to see the National Portrait Gallery -- or at least as much as we could before we hit a wall. By the way, every museum we went to was free...most of the best ones are. That's very nice.

Neighborhood near the National Gallery

Daphne Todd (b.1947) 1995, "Sir Christopher Ondaatje" b.1993, Financier, writer, philosopher. 

Queen Victoria and her Consort Prince Albert, quite the love story...fitting for our first night on this anniversary trip  
This is Sir Charles James Napier 1782-1853 by George Gammon Adams, 1853. I really, really like his nose.

Robert Bevan (1865-1925), "Stanislawa Bevan" 1876-1952, 1920 -- Painter of townscapes, interiors, and still-lifes. This is a portrait by her husband whose fame overshadowed hers. The shapes, lines, colors...her expression. I love this.
These colors! 

Self portrait by Henry Lamb 1883-1960, 1914; Australian-born painter, grew up in London, official war artist of WWII

Self portrait of Malcolm Drummond 1880-1945, 1914-18
Mark Gertler (1891-1939), "Sir Julian Huxley 1887-1975, 1927 ; Zoologist, philosopher, and public servant, brother of the novelist Aldous Huxley

Self portrait of Robert Bevan 1865-1925, 1913-14

These colors need to be a room and a piece of fabric...

Delmar Banner (1896-1983), "Beatrix Potter (1866-1943)", 1938; Writer, artist, and conservationist.

Sir Jacob Epstein (1880-1959), "George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)", 1934

Maurice Lambert (1901-64), "Dame Margot Fonteyn (1919-91)", 1956, Ballerina

This painting was just enormous...and lovely...Sir James Gunn (1893-1964), "Conversation Piece at Royal Lodge, Windsor", 1950. King George VI, Queen Elizabeth (Queen Elizabeth II), and her sister Princess Margaret. "The Royal family remained in London throughout the war, and when Buckingham Palace received a direct hit, the Queen said 'now we can look the East End in the face.' 

We only saw a tiny bit of the National Portrait Gallery before I couldn't keep myself awake. We went back to our hotel, took showers, and slept until 10 pm. We woke up wide awake and decided to walk around a bit before trying to sleep for the night so we could wake up for a real morning. 

Whoops! This was the "Savoy" Hotel...Stomping at the Savoy, Oy.

London Eye and Big Ben in the background...Then we headed back to the hotel, stopping to get some crackers and grapes at a little Tesco grocery store. Seriously, people, Jacob's Cream Crackers are THE. BEST. CRACKERS. I have ever encountered. It is difficult to believe I will ever have a better, more perfect cracker. The texture, weight, shape, taste. I know. Weird enthusiasm. But I really like crackers, and these are perfect Sarah Crackers. 

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