Travelogue: I Dunno What Part

This is very much after the fact, but, you know, whatever.

The point is, on the Tuesday of my trip to London (which was back at Thanksgiving; I am awesome at procrastinating), I went to the National Gallery.

So here's the thing: I don't know anything about Art. I enjoy pictures that are PICTURES, preferably of things that are recognizable, so Jackson Pollock and I are
NOT on speaking terms. I do like the occasional Picasso, but I confess I probably would hung had a print of Water Lilies on my wall in my dorm room NON-IRONICALLY.

I asked this friend of mine, who lives in London, where he would go if he wanted to do something totally London-y (technical term). And he said he would go to the National Gallery. I forgot that he is very artistic in nature and like, draws and stuff, and has a degree in architecture or something. That'll teach me.

So first of all, I got lost on the way to the National Gallery. It should have been very easy, but then, no one person should spend as much time being lost as I do. I took the wrong exit out of the Tube station; there were about six to choose from, and I took the EXACT OPPOSITE EXIT that I should have. So I acted like I totally knew where I was supposed to be, and walked waaaaay down some road, Oxford Circus, maybe, I don't remember. Then I turned around and walked the other way, and then I had no freaking idea where I was or where I was headed, and there may have been a part where I walked through an alley ... it's all muddled.

Eventually, though, I wound up at Trafalgar Square, which is exactly where I wanted to be. At Trafalgar Square, here is something you are likely to see:

It's a lion at the base of the Nelson's Column, which I did NOT take a picture of. On this particular day, I did see a man climb up on the lion, light up a cigarette, and have a leisurely smoke.

All through the Square, they have signs that say

[something I don't remember]

And I have to say, the pigeons in Trafalgar Square are surprisingly aggressive. They are the stuff of nightmares. They don't get out of the way when you walk toward them, and they just look mean. I'm not joking. Those pigeons will cut you.

One thing I love about London is that you don't have to pay to get into the museums. So I just sauntered on in and looked for some Art.

A lot of the paintings at the National Gallery are from the Renaissance. And I love Renaissance art, because the colors are so beautiful, and because I know what the paintings are OF, which is very important to me. However, by the time I'd gotten to the third or fourth room, I was like, "Great. Another picture of the Baby Jesus." I was totally over the Nativity, y'all.

There was a small exhibit of Cezanne, which was pretty cool. And there were some Dutch impressionists, but I'd only ever heard of Vermeer, and that was because of Girl with a Pearl Earring, so I moved through those pretty quickly. I really did not appreciate the Art like I probably should have, and I feel bad about that, but not so bad that I want to go back.

I made it through the National Gallery within, like, an hour and a half (compared with the four hours I was at the British Museum), and I decided I would go to the National Portrait Gallery. According to my map, it should have been just next door to the National Gallery. I, of course, could not find it. I looked for it for thirty minutes, but I never did find it. I'm actually sorry about that, because I was very interested to see the portrait of Shakespeare, to see if he had a tumor (not because it is Art).

I gave up after a while and went into St. Martin-in-the-Fields, which is the home of the London Brass Rubbing Centre. I'd been there before, so I did NOT get lost.

Here's how it works:
First of all, you head down into the crypt. I don't know about you, but I am not crazy about the WORD crypt, let alone an ACTUAL crypt. And there is a cafe down there, which is so far beyond me; I don't know how people eat there. I couldn't do it. Anyway, down in the crypt, there are all these brass plates mounted on boards. They are as small as trivets and as large as wall hangings. You put paper over the brass plate and rub a wax crayon over it, and a picture shows up.

This is the one I did the last time I was in London:

This is Sir Thomas Chaucer.

Take note of the detail:


That is all my coloring, which I did while sitting in a poorly-lit corner of a crypt, right next to a wall, which doubled as a grave. It was creepy, is what I'm saying. There may have been psychological scarring.

It was while I was rubbing coloring Sir Rohere that I decided I would definitely be coming back to London, if only to reunite him with his wife, Lady Matilda Chaucer.



I love both of these rubbings, and I love that I have them both now. (That doesn't mean I have no reason to return to London, though.)

I got lost on the way back to the hotel. Of course.

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