London in a weekend

This photo was taken from inside the Tate Modern museum, up against a window. People are streaming over the Millenium Bridge. St. Paul’s cathedral is in the background. The photo was taken on 15 October at about 3 in the afternoon. The sun had just started to come out through the clouds turning the grey day a little bit brighter. You can see my other London photos here.

We spent the weekend in London, sightseeing and walking walking walking. Tate Modern was the highlight of the weekend. There is currently a special show by Swiss artists Fischli and Weiss. This show is worth the entire trip to the Tate. I tried to find a good link to give a feeling of their body of work, but couldn’t find anything useful. They have done everything from photography, to sculpture, to video art. They have a wonderful sense of humor that made us laugh out loud, and a view of the world that is interesting and accessable at the same time. If you live anywhere near London, even if you have to fly, head to the Tate Modern. There is also currently an installation exhibit of tube slides of various lengths that kids and adults stood in long lines to have the chance to slide down. As it was Sunday, the place was packed with kids, so we were very happy they had these slides to keep them occupied!

I have two other impressions of London besides the wonderful Tate – the crowds and the cost of eating. London is so very crowded and busy it can make your head ache. Amsterdam seems like a provincial village in comparison. Only on Sunday afternoon walking in the backstreets of The City did we feel a little bit of breathing space from the crowds.

The cost of eating in London is truly amazing. In Amsterdam you can find cheap places to eat and still have reasonable food. Just head to any “Eet cafe” and you’ll be fed well for 10 euros. Try to do this in London and you’ll be set back double that. Sunday evening we had a pub dinner, dessert and 2 pints of beer each and the total bill came to about 50 POUNDS! Eating out 3 times a day, even at cheap-ish restaurants was quite a shock to the travel budget. Luckily DB’s work paid for our hotel as he was at a conference Monday and Tuesday.

Another surprise was Saturday evening when we tried to get into a movie. We took the tube to Notting Hill Gate since there are a lot of movie theaters in that area. Every one we went to was sold out, some for days in advance. It seems that spontaneous movie going is just not done. Never mind trying to get into a West End show at short notice. A colleague of mine was trying to get tickets to a show and found out they were sold out til MARCH!

Lasting impression of London – a great place to visit, but bring lots of money and be prepared for the crowds, and plan ahead. Start early in the day if you want to try to beat the tourist crowds. In other words, the same advice as visiting any major city!

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