Day four was Monday, November 6th, and it was long! Much to see. Gene was under the weather so it was just me, Pat and Chuck. We started out by visiting Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. The original Globe was demolished a few years after Shakespeare retired, so this was a reproduction. It isn't just a tourist site, it's a working theatre as well. We thought it was pretty cool.
After the Globe we spent several hours at the Tate Modern Museum, which is right next door. Both the Globe and the Tate sit right on the Thames, and the Millenium Bridge crosses the river in front of the Tate. It's very impressive. Anyway, the Tate is a great juxtaposition to the Globe -- you go straight from Elizabethan England to modern art, it's amazing and wonderful. I didn't take any pictures of the art (not allowed), but trust me, I saw some jaw dropping stuff! Everything from Man Ray to Calder to Lichtenstein to Francis Bacon (eek) to Paul Klee, it was almost like sensory overload. The Tate occupies a former factory and it is GIGANTIC. The entire bottom floor is just for walking around and visiting the cafe and gift shop. All the galleries are on the floors above. There are a couple of giant cyclone slides which are attached to the upper floors and go down to the bottom level, for those who are brave enough to slide down three to five stories. I don't think they're a permanent fixture, just a current installation. Keep in mind that one story at the Tate is like two or three stories in any other building, so you can imagine how far the drop is! There's no risk of falling out but I was still too chicken to try. I got a few pictures though.
Once we finished at the Tate, Pat and I decided to find the actual site of the original Globe Theatre (the reproduction Globe sits a few blocks from the site of the original). Chuck hung out on the Millenium Bridge while Pat and I dashed the few blocks to the site. It's really in just a regular urban neighborhood and there's a large bronze plaque to mark the place. We took a quick picture and were hurrying back toward the bridge to meet Chuck when suddenly I tripped and fell on some steps right in front of a cafe full of people. It was like slow-mo: holding a very expensive camera and lens in my right hand with the strap around my neck, and with a little camera in my jacket pocket, all I could think was, "Save the cameras!" as I pitched forward. Somehow I managed to rotate my body mid-fall and landed on my arm and back. I was chagrined but not injured, and the cameras were unscathed. Pat later remarked that it was amazing how I twisted around like a wide receiver (his words)! The only damage was to my pride and my clothes, having landed in what must be centuries of compacted pigeon sh*t. Good times.
Pat was on a quest to find every punk rock landmark in London come hell or high water. I wanted to see them too, so we set off looking for the Roxy, which is the nightclub where the Sex Pistols first played. At the time it must have been a sketchy neighborhood but now it's a trendy shopping district. Go figure. Filthy lucre and all that. Unfortunately it's no longer the Roxy, it's a Speedo store. Yes, now you can buy overpriced swim trunks in the place where Sid Vicious once played. Sad. We popped into the store across the way and the lady who works there told us that her parents had owned their shop for many years, and when she was growing up it was the Roxy's heyday and she'd see all these punks queued up for shows every night. What a sight that must have been! Other punk rock landmarks on our list included the 100 Club and Sex (Vivienne Westwood's shop in Chelsea, basically where the Sex Pistols were "born" -- more on that later).
Having found the Roxy, we moved on from 1970's British punk to antiquities: the British Museum. I was exhausted by then but I didn't care. I got to see the Rosetta Stone and the Elgin marbles! It was all so beautiful! I apologize if my pictures don't do it justice, because I was kind of on autopilot camera-wise, way too tired to take decent photos. Anyway, having taken numerous art history courses in college it was breathtaking to see these artifacts in person, I almost couldn't believe my eyes.
Even though we spent a lot of time at the British Museum, Pat wasn't finished with his punk rock history quest -- no matter how tired we were. He went off in search of the 100 Club while Chuck and I sought out Harrod's, the famous department store owned by Mohamed Al-Fayed, father of Dodi Fayed, who famously dated and died with Princess Diana. Harrod's was indeed very cool and full of wonders, but the weirdest thing they had there was a bizarre monument to Dodi and Diana. I had to snap a few pictures because I thought it was tacky-yet-intriguing.
By then I thought I was going to die, my feet hurt so much! Thank goodness Pat caught up with us and we started back to the hotel, because I was completely out of gas. It was a really long day but we saw some great things!
The river Thames with the Gherkin building in the distance.
I wrote a paper about this figure in college! To actually see her in person, holy crap!
To read about Day 3 click here