Tuesday, April 04, 2006

London for the Weekend

One of the cool things about living in Europe is that we can go to London or Paris for the weekend. I said it when I was thinking about moving here and I still say it. It's not like we do it all the time, but it's nice that we can, and it's nice when we actually do it.

Fred left on Tuesday morning and worked all week doing the thing with the new computer system that he's working on at work. I left here on Friday afternoon and showed up in time for dinner.

London's nice. I'm actually sort of comfortable there now, like I know where I am. (This was my second visit.) There are a few streets I've been down so many time that I feel like I really know them, but by and large, it just feels familiar. San Francisco felt like that to me in the Nineties.

We only had Friday night, Saturday and most of Sunday, so it's not like we had time to see a lot, but it was nice to get out of Amsterdam and breath some different air. We certainly got out and walked around a lot more than we would have if we had stayed here.

The big thing we did on Saturday was go to The Tate Museum. It's in a nice big old warehouse looking thing on the Thames River. I think the building was some kind of transformer station. It's nice that it's free admission to the permanent collection. We're both mostly interested more in having been there than specifically in seeing a special exhibit. Plus, we hadn't seen the old stuff.

Thing with modern art is that it when you read the explanations of what it's about, it can seem like such crap. I walked away from more than one plaque hanging next to a piece of artwork murmering, "Oh please!" Fred feels the same about all of that. There's something I can appreciate about the iconograpy of old religious art works and all the traditional symbolism. But a lot of those explanations just felt like pretentious hoo-ey. Maybe it's all my years as an art therapist and people overdoing it with the meaning of the art work.

Still, it's a very nice museum and there are some big name pieces and artist there. I recommend doing a short tour if you're in the neighborhood. Plus, as I said, it's a bargain.

Another big thing was that we went to see The Producers. It was a very funny show. It's very Mel Brooks, so lots of stereotype-humor. I've only seen the original movie once, and I'm not even sure I got all the way through it. From what I remember, my brother had a copy on VHS and we watched it with my mother. I'm sure I would enjoy it more now.

It was between The Producers, Who's Afraid of Viginia Woolf with Kathleen Turner and Mary Poppins. I was really into seeing Mary Poppins, but I thought an adult show might be nice, since the only other show I've seen in London was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - a kid's show. I would have loved to see Kathleen Turner, but Virginia Woolf is not an easy show to sit through. I have the DVD. All in all, I'd rather leave the theater singing show tunes - which we both did.

The other big thing we did was visit The London Eye. It's a total tourist attraction, but it's got really great views of the city. Plus, Fred said he heard that "they" were thinking of taking it down as it's not making a lot of money. I got a nice snowglobe there, and some nice photos.

We also went by Big Ben to get a snap of it for my nephew, Ben. We did that Sunday. It was a pretty good weekend. Very relaxing. London is a city I can see myself living in for a few years, but not forever. It's sort of like New York City except that it's not like New York City. It's London. It's a lot of walking, much more up and down that here. Makes me realize how flat it is here. It's helpful that Fred's a good traveler.

We left at a reasonable time and got back in time to watch CSI and iron a shirt for work the next day.

Yes, it's very cool to be able to go to London for the weekend.

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