Sunday, August 26, 2007

In between days

So far I've blogged about our first Tuesday in London and the end of our first week on Friday. What about Wednesday and Thursday, you rightfully ask?

Arts & Sciences Wednesday

This trip I decided to try to see a bunch of things I had never visited before in 30 + years of coming to London. While I left a few things unvisited for an "excuse" to come back (cf. St. Alban's and The Dulwich Picture Gallery), I did visit quite a few this first full day on what we'll call and Arts & Sciences theme. We started with a stroll up Gower Street to Marylebone/Euston Road. Stopped in Dillon's, now a Waterstone's outlet, the main bookstore for the University of London. I picked up a half price paperback version of Jim Shapiro's 1599: A Year in the Life of Shakespeare. The round the corner past Euston Square for the brand new Wellcome Collection.

Sir Henry Wellcome was an ex-pat American who co-founded the pharmaceutical concern Burroughs Wellcome & Company, now known as Glaxo Smith Kline. He also collected a lot of stuff related to medicine and founded the UK's largest Foundation. Here are two windows from the foundation's headquarter's discussing the important work it funds.

You can tell how rich a museum is by the state of its store and cafe. From the clean and bright modernist lines, it's clear the Wellcome is flush.

Our next stop was St. Mary's Hospital next to Paddington Station in Bayswater and the fampus lab of Alexander Fleming who identiifed the curative properties of the penicillin bacteria.

The small lab which held 3 (!) working scientists is behind the middle of these three windows.

That evening we attended a Late Night at the British Library musical event connected to the Sacred exhibition. Louise Setara sucked, but Dj Karim from Fantazia was quite good. Then a leisurely stroll back down Gower Street and on for a quick tour around Covent Garden catching the tail end of an organic food festival.

Thursday's Prom Mania

Thursday we took a bus up the Farringdon Road to the Ambassador in Exmouth Market for lunch with one of my undergrad mentors, John Brewer, blogged over here. He regaled us with anecdotes from his next book project about art theft, collecting, and a painting locked away in a Kansas City bank vault that might or might not be from the hand of Rembrandt. That evening we went promming at the Royal Albert Hall for the dual 80TH birthday celebration of Dame Cleo Laine and Sir John Dankworth in a show titled From Bards to Blues.

It's amazing how quickly 8,000 folks can fill the Albert Hole , err I mean Hall. But having 12 equidistant entrances/exits probably has something to do with it.

Just across the park in Hyde Park is the Albert Memorial at the head of what is now known as Museumland because it includes the Science Museum, the Museum of Natural History, and obviously the Victoria and Albert Museum.

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