Atlantis Alumni

Saturday, December 14, 2013

More Great Adventures in London

Since we wanted to balance our current sight-seeing in London between holiday decorations (Jim’s goal) and visiting some great art museums (the intention of yours truly) we first took the tube yesterday to Trafalgar Square. The night before we’d seen the enormous tree next to Lord Nelson’s monument, and Jim photographed that as well as the exterior of St. Martin’s in the Fields. Then we spent a couple of hours inside the National Gallery, a treasure trove of some of the greatest art in the world, from the Renaissance through the Post-Impressionists. Dan revisited some of the works he’s taught his students for over 40 years, and Jim particularly loved paintings by Van Eyck, Seurat, Monet and Van Gogh. We ate lunch at a restaurant in the museum, enjoying a delicious shiraz-based red wine, a pumpkin and corn chowder served with brown bread holding a mélange of melted cheese and onions, followed by large salads. Jim’s salad consisted of winter root vegetables and Dan had a melt-in-the-mouth duck salad with French green beans. Then we made our way to the Tate Britain, to see more paintings by Turner, England’s greatest artist, as well as very important pieces by Bacon and Hockney. Hockney’s painting “Mr & Mrs Clark and Percy” includes a very subtle rendition of a white cat (Percy.) We both thought that the Turner works like “Rain, Steam and Speed” at the National Gallery were stronger than what is currently on display at the Tate Britain. The Tate has the largest collection of Turner paintings in the world, but they change what is shown on a regular basis. Then we took a break from the museums and decided to shop on Bond Street, which is crowded with shoppers from around the world. Jim thought there were even larger mobs in London than what he’d recently seen on Fifth Avenue in New York. Jim photographed some of the great windows at famed stores such as Selfridges and Fornum and Mason’s. All around Piccadilly Circus, there are arcades with bright Christmas decorations. We encountered the first rain of the trip while resting back at the Russell Hotel, so took our umbrellas with us to the National Theater where we saw a lively production of a German Expressionist play from 1912, Georg Kaiser’s “From Morning till Midnight.” The acting by the Royal Theater Company is on an extremely high level and the production often surprises the viewer. Then we returned to Fitzrovia for another dinner on Jim’s list of the best Japanese restaurants in London. Tsunami restaurant is another upscale place that was packed with patrons from around the world, and we had some delicious treats, including an eggplant and peanut flavored roll, all dreamed up by a brilliant chef. We look forward to Saturday’s adventures, which will include some new attractions which we’ve never seen before on previous trips to this fabulous city.-Dan

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