The Friday Squeeze

We arrived in sunny London from Paris by mid-day.  Luckily we gain an hour since France is one hour ahead.  The Tube ride back to the flat got us back there around 12:30 pm.  We planned to eat,  rest and shower before squeezing in a few more sights.  I can’t believe we’ll be heading home soon.

We made our way out of the flat before 3:00 pm.  Our plan: cross the Millennium Bridge, see Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, and visit the Tate Modern.  The only time-sensitive place we were visiting was The Globe, as the Tate Modern is open late on Fridays.  The tour for The Globe would end at 4:00 pm.

We took the Underground to the St. Paul’s stop which is on the other side of the Tate Modern.  This required us to pass St. Paul’s Cathedral and cross the Thames on the Millennium Bridge to reach the Globe and the Tate Modern.  The Underground station is right next to the cathedral, but we were on a somewhat tight schedule, so we didn’t go in.

St. Paul's Cathedral

We did snap a few photos though, but then quickly headed toward the Millennium Bridge.  The wind had started to pick up a bit, making Farrah a bit antsy about the bridge.  We had read that in the early days of the bridge it was a bit unstable and the “swaying motion earned it the nickname the Wobbly Bridge.”  This didn’t sound like a fun prospect considering all that lay below the bridge was The Thames.

Millennium Bridge

Millennium Bridge (London)

We stepped on the bridge.  You can feel it gives way ever so slightly, but you don’t have time to notice as you continue your steps toward the other side.  The crowd, like a river current, forces you to keep moving forward.  Only when you are about halfway across the bridge can you break away toward the edge, towards the rail, to take a photo.  On one side you can see Tower Bridge, lit up by the afternoon sun.  On the other side is Blackfriars Bridge.  The wind was picking up slightly, so we started heading toward The Tate Modern, turning back every once in a while to view St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

We made our way past The Tate Modern, entering The Exhibition & Theatre Tours section of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.  We paid our money, then walked around looking at the exhibits.  Unfortunately, The Globe itself was closed for tours since a matinèewas being performed that afternoon.  We did get the opportunity to see a demonstration of costume changes.

Costume Demo @ The Globe

We had the chance to have a tour of the Rose, but hunger started to creep in.  So we went to look for a bite to eat.  We were able to have a cone of ice cream (yum) by the Thames.  But the ice cream did not curb our hunger, so we found more substantial food in The Globe’s cafeteria.  After buying food and visiting the gift shop, we headed back out to eat our food on a bench facing The Thames.  We spent several minutes eating and enjoying the view and the sunny weather.

The Tate Modern

We entered the Tate Modern through the River Entrance which placed us on the second floor.  We decided to take the elevator all the way up to the 7th floor and work our way down.  The Tate Modern Restaurant on the 7th floor gives you a view of The Thames, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the Millennium Bridge.  We would have bought a drink and sat down, but unfortunately, all the seats were taken.  So we headed on down to the 5th floor.

Modern art can be quite different.  The installations we saw, in a variety of different mediums, were thought-provoking to say the least.  For example, you can look at this exhibit and wonder, why?  (There is some profanity in both the art subject title and the audio.)  It’s nice to take a break from the well-crafted Renaissance painting or sculpture.

Ground Floor @ The Tate Modern

We were hoping to see some works by Salvador Dalí­, but unfortunately, none were present.  They were preparing a special exhibit in June for Dalí­ and appear to have taken his works down for this exhibit.  A slight disappointment.  I guess we’ll need to come back soon :)

We made our way down the floor after floor viewing exhibits we had an interest in.  On our way out we stopped by the gift shop, and we passed on our way in.  I looked outside the window of the gift shop out toward The Thames.  The sun that had greeted us at the airport was starting to dissipate as the clouds and wind rolled in.  It began to look a bit nasty outside.

The Best Way Back

We figured the best way back to the flat would be to go back to the Underground at St. Paul’s.  This meant crossing the bridge in the suddenly strong wind.  Oh well.  Unlike our time in Paris, Farrah did remember to bring her brolly with her.  But we braved the light sprinkle as opening the brolly in this wind didn’t seem prudent.

Tate Modern Collection

The ten-minute walk to St. Paul’s was quick since the bridge was no longer crowded.  We made it back to our Bond Street stop.  We had dinner at Wagamama’s tonight since we don’t have one back home.  Plus it seemed like a good night for ramen.  It was a late dinner - about 9:00 pm. We tried to go earlier, but our first attempt to get seating was met with a huge crowd that went all the way outside.

AJ Giron @verbal