London — last day (day 8)

Monday was the National Gallery. Here is one of the greatest collections of paintings in Europe (which means: the world). They were showing a collection of Renoir Landscapes, but at $24/pp we decided to skip it. And just as well, because the free exhibit, “Manet to Picasso: A Redisplay of Modern Masters”, was just great. In fact, it was incredible. Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ was so vibrant, although we both felt that his ‘Two Crabs’ was one of the best paintings ever created.

We had lunch here, and although the food was very good the waitress we had was awful. People seated next to us, about 15 minutes later, were served 15+ minutes before our meal arrived. And although we ordered drinks when we placed our order, they arrived long after our meal was served — and after I went to the counter to ask for them, again. We did not tip. (Suggestion: treat this meal as your ‘dinner’ and enjoy yourself. The menu was varied and everything looked and smelled delicious. Despite the service, we would go back.)

From here we wandered down and around and eventually found our way to the Tower of London. I really wanted to see the famous ravens. (There is a prophecy, dating from Charles II that if there are no longer ravens in the Tower of London, the British Commonwealth will fall.) Again, however, the cost of entrance defeated me ($32/pp!). So we just wandered around outside.  (There is a really neat virtual tour, here.)

By late afternoon, as usual, we were heading home. I started packing (we were to be up at 4:30am and in the taxi by 5am) and J. went to see the British Library. The BL was doing an exhibit on ‘Sacred Texts” that I would have enjoyed, but I was completely out of energy. Being back in the noisy, dirty city was eating away my energy faster than I could eat and sleep to replenish it. My brand new sneakers with the special ‘made for walking’ arches were flat. We were down to one pair of undies each.

It was time to return home.

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