The Tate Modern was on my agenda for Friday. It was the third and final museum I planned to visit in London, and pretty certain it would be my favorite, I decided to save the best for last. I definitely made the right choice. I loved the Tate Modern. The museum consisted of modern and contemporary art and installations from 1900 forward - Magritte, Kandinsky, Picasso, Matisse, Rothko, Pollock, Warhol, etc.
I spent Saturday morning and early afternoon at the Portobello Market in Notting Hill. The market stretches along Portobello Road for about two miles and is divided into several distinct sections: antiques, fruits and vegetables (and cheese and baked goods and flowers and on and on), arts and crafts and fashion (both new and vintage). The stalls sit in the road in front of all the shops along Portobello Road which were also open. It was crowded - think Knoxville's Rossini Festival on crack. I didn't buy anything other than food, though I was tempted by a pair of vintage red cowboy boots and a bouquet of peonies, neither of which I had any real use for, so I passed on both.
Towards the end of the Market, I veered off Portobello Road and went in a shop called Jane Bourvis. At first it looked like a tiny shabby chic gift store - I was lured in by a pink ballet tutu in the window - but then I saw the vintage dresses in the back of the store. Wow. They were actually corsets and skirts, and when I saw the corset and tulle skirt below the first thing I thought of was that it looked similar to the dress Carrie Bradshaw wore in the last episode of Sex and the City - where Big surprises her in Paris. Sure enough, when I went to the Jane Bourvis website I saw that they had supplied that dress. Yeah, I'm that good! Obviously the dresses come with a hefty price tag - for this one, 495 for the corset and 495 for the skirt. In Pounds. Which means in USD, roughly $1,500. Yikes.
On Saturday night I took the tube to Leicester Square where the theatres are concentrated. I had bought a cheap ticket to Phantom of the Opera, which I hadn't seen since I was a teenager. Phantom is shown at Her Majesty's Theatre. My cheap ticket equaled upper balcony, second to last row, but as long as I sat on the edge of my seat and leaned forward, I could see everything. Ha! No matter, I could definitely hear, and the music was great, of course.
About 10 pm, as I walked through Leicester Square on my way back to the tube, all I could think was how happy I am to be staying in the Knightsbridge area. Not that I would have chosen Leicester Square anyway, but there are several hotels in that area and I couldn't imagine that being my home base for London. Think McDonald's, KFC, Pizza Hut and Burger King crossed with tourists and drunk teenagers. In fact, I saw a drunk teenager passed out on the ground while a tourist was took her picture and the teenagers yelled at the tourist for doing so. Yeah, I was ready to get out of Leicester Square.
A London observation: The Brits love their tea, but they don't understand iced tea. Even at Starbucks they couldn't understand that I wanted ice - "Are you sure you want ice in your tea?" "How many ice cubes do you want?" I'm all for hot tea, but sometimes I just want it iced. So I've discovered that if I order hot tea and then a cup of ice, that works out pretty well. The only problem is that the hot tea melts the ice quickly so I have to drink quick or I end up with lukewarm tea.
Another London observation: I keep looking the wrong way when I go to cross a one-way street. For those tourists like me that apparently can't figure it out, the road has large white lettering that reads "Look right" or "Look left." There is even an arrow pointing the direction to look in case you still can't figure it out. I'm convinced it is only a matter of time before I end up like Natalie Portman in Closer, minus the unfortunate stripper bit.