Thursday, November 21, 2013

UK2013: Back to London

And so it was on the final Monday of my UK trip, I went to the train station with my Dad, where we both boarded a train bound for London. He had a meeting to attend near Gloucester Road, which was close to the Museum area. My flight was not until early Tuesday morning. It would normally be my plan to stay at a hotel in Heathrow the night before, but friend Andrew had invited me to stay with him instead. So I had a few hours to spend in London before meeting him. I chose to spend those hours in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

I bade farewell to my Dad a couple of streets away from the museum; he went to his meeting and I went to meet some culture. The big London museums are awesome and the V&A is a wonderful place. It's filled with all kinds of art and architecture from all around the world. Let's have a look at some.

Here's the entrance to the V&A.

One of the main galleries with various stoneworks inside.

I'm standing on an upstairs walkway which opens out in four directions. Here you can see a clock in one of the archways. To the right is part of a fabulous glass sculpture, about ten feet tall, which hangs over the reception desk on the ground floor, below. It's a bit dusty... I suppose nobody dares clean that amount of fragile glass!

Another view looks towards this ironwork screen which used to be part of a church. It is all hand made and painted and is thoroughly beautiful.

Here's a close up of the two centre panels. I love the lightness of design in this.

The screen leads into an entire gallery of wrought iron fences, screens and panels.

Further down the gallery, at a meeting of ways, which open into this rotunda. An artist has placed flattened brass instruments at ceiling/floor height as a sculpture.

Downstairs, there are many galleries of historic artifacts. I love the intricate work of this door.

And the solidity of this one.

No museum of historical artifacts would be complete without a suit of armour.

I'm not sure of this was a screen or furniture, but the woodwork was magnificent.

There were two enormous halls, filled with major statuary and works. Some are replicas, others are not, but even the replicas are old. Take a look at the bottom left of this image; you can see some sarcophagus-type coffins there. The figures laid on top are life-size, to give you an idea of scale. The column on the right is huge.

At the end of the gallery, up a flight of stairs, there's a small window through which you can peer out. I was not expecting to see more above me, but the ceilings of these huge galleries are suspended below the original glass ceilings which are under restoration.

Even the ironwork of the building is beautiful.

I reluctantly left the V&A after four or five hours slowly digesting its delights (including a very nice sandwich in their extensive restaurant area). I indulged in a ride on the Heathrow Express again back to the airport, and found my way to Terminal 5. Here I met up with Andrew, who took me back to his place where I spent a very pleasant evening with his family, before he took me back to Heathrow in the morning, and I got my flight home.

That flight was entertaining; I'd managed to book the same flight as friend Tamzin, who had also been in the UK. So we depleted the aeroplane's wine fridge and kept the stewards entertained ;-) Thus ends the Tour of the UK 2013. I hope you've enjoyed the ride.

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