When I was thinking about what I wanted to see during my time here, the National Gallery (like a lot of sights) didn’t make the cut. I went last time I was in London, and while the collection is really impressive, I got a little bored with looking at nothing but paintings for hours. The Gallery sounded good to me when I got up this morning, so I went to have another look around.
For those of you who’ve never been, the National Gallery contains hundreds of paintings from 13th to early 20th century western Europe. The rooms are organized more or less by century and by country/region, with some special theme exhibits as well. I enjoyed the museum so much more this time around; I didn’t get bored at all! I think I might need to spring for a map next time, though. I haven’t done that during either of my visits, which has led to me wandering through the rooms in way that doesn’t make sense from a chronological OR geographical standpoint. Plus, I didn’t even know until I was almost ready to leave today that there’s a lower level. There isn’t nearly as much down there, exhibit-wise, as there is upstairs, but there are some nice Holbeins and Da Vinci’s. Incidentally, I think Da Vinci is one famous artist who’s not at ALL overrrated…although I kind of think that the Mona Lisa is. Haven’t been to Paris to see for myself, though.
The National Gallery is situated at Trafalgar Square; it’s a major gathering place in London, as you can see:
Trafalgar Square seems to attract a lot of buskers (people who perform on streets/parks/etc for money). Many of them are just people who dress up in weird outfits so tourists can take photos of them…after they’ve dropped a few coins in the cup, of course. One guy who I’ve seen pretty frequently costumes himself like a gold statue. At first, I thought he was painted, but then I saw him take his mask off to have a smoke. 🙂 I’ve also seen a pirate, someone who I THINK was supposed to be Sweeney Todd, Edward Scissorhands, and a contortionist dancer (no, I’m not making that up). For all the bizarre stuff that goes on, though, there’s some real talent out there, too. Twice now, I’ve seen this guy with a guitar who has an AMAZING voice. He’s the real deal (Jamie, if you’re reading this, you would promote this guy in a HEARTBEAT). I don’t know his name, or what kind of stuff is on the albums he’s selling, but he seems to be a Trafalgar Square regular. He also does a mean version of “Hallelujah,” which is saying something since EVERYONE has done that song. I’ll try and find out who he is at some point. 🙂
So…today was the first day of my very last semester of school. I actually got a head start on my classes over the weekend, and in spite of spending a good chunk of Saturday and Sunday on my work, I still have a pile of stuff to do this week. If this is any indication of how the rest of the semester is going to go…I’m in for a very busy time. That means that my adventures (and subsequent blog posts) will be a bit fewer and further between. Don’t worry; I still have PLENTY of fun things planned for the rest of my trip. I just won’t have the freedom to be out and about every day. Truth be told, that’s not such a bad thing. I’ve missed having something useful to do!