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  • Sunday, November 30, 2014

    First Day Exploring London

    London didn't feel like London until I came out of the tube at Westminster Station...
    ...and stared up at Big Ben.
    I crossed the River Thames for a view of the Houses of Parliament...

    ...where a bagpiper near the London Eye provided some ambiance.

    Not as well known as the changing of the guards, but at The Household Division near 10 Downing Street, there is the changing of the horse guards.

    Something in my brain lit up when I walked into a room of Van Gogh paintings at the National Gallery.
    And again in a room of paintings by Monet...

    Then Renoir

    ...and in a tiny room that only contained this single drawing by Lenodardo Da Vinci

    And a couple thousand more. 

    I walked up to every painting in the gallery.

    Although I'm not totally sure why, this was one of my favorites. A painting of a "man seated reading at a table in a lofty room" by an unattributed follower of Rembrandt from 1628-1630. 

    Not to mention that the building itself is art.
    Back outside, I saw a man holding a sign. I didn't ask him if he had a reason to hold that sign, because I didn't want him to have a reason.
    Maybe the sign holder simply wanted to people watch like me.  London is a great city for that. And for taking their picture without their permission. And posting it on the Internet. Hmm, is this weird? 

    I strolled passed the adjacent Trafalgar Square then decided I would walk in the direction where the highest percentage of people seemed to be going. At first this took me to a train station. Which made me realize it wasn't the brightest idea I've ever had, so I bought a coffee and continued walking in the direction with the highest percentage of people not going to the train station. 

    This lead me to Leicester Square where I would find myself fifty feet from Angelina Jolie at a movie premiere.

    The guards forced me to keep moving, so I tried to find another place to get a photo. I considered climbing a tree on the forbidden side of a barricade, but I didn't want to get arrested. I'd love the free room and board, but I had already paid for my room that night. She was on the other side of that wall. Curses! I'd have to be okay with getting a picture of her on that big screen over there.

    After grabbing a bite to eat, I went back to the hostel on the London Underground.

    As a man who doesn't normally care for cities, I find myself quite surprised by how much I'm going to miss London when I go.