I just went for my first night bike ride in London.
why did i wait that long.
Nobody knows. But you know that funny pain inside your ears when you've been exercising outside in the chill? I've got that. It's not a bad feeling. It goes with a particular sort of warm fuzzy tiredness. A winter tired.
Also, there is nothing quite like doubledecker breath down your back when you're pedaling along. They have a personality, the buses here. I don't have a name for it yet.
I think I'll tell you about the Wallace Collection briefly. Oh, and Alfie's. Alfie's is funny.
The Wallace Collection is an art collection, an enormous one. It is in an 18th century hunting lodge, which is now smack in the middle of the shopping mecca around Bond Street. It's basically next to Selfridges.
The collection was left to the British public by the collector's (the 4th Marquis of I-don't-know-what)French wife under the condition that it never be added to or subtracted from.
The building itself is extremely opulent. I always get this funny sensation in places like that: simultaneously delighted and out of place. I was early, so I was wandering about, admiring, when I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I had dressed a cut above my normal jeans-sneakers-hoodie equation, and as a result, I didn't look out of place. It was very strange, feeling awkward and realizing that I didn't look it.
This place was rococo to the max. There were more swirlies around than atoms, practically. Unfortunately, I did not get any wondrous photos, just some mediocre ones. The rate at which my wonderful professor whisks us through these places makes me not exercise on the days we have class. It would be too much.
If you ever get the chance, go to this place. It's free. Great word, free.
Completely random thing: The only place I can really, truly say I haven't found in London is the equivalent of Hard Times Cafe. I miss that spot. It will be one of the first places I go when I get back to Minneapolis.
I've realized something about traveling. I have to live in the moment. I can't worry about home, it'll take care of itself. Further yet, I can't try to have it all. When I'm here, though I know for a fact I could live very happily here, I get little twinges of missing Minnesota and/or Wisconsin. But when I'm home, all the souls of the places I'm visiting now are whispering across the miles and the oceans, saying "come find us!". So, obvious though it sounds, you can't have le cake and eat it too. I simply count myself lucky that I ended up in a career guaranteed to let me discover lots of those sneaky whispering voices. Catch 'em. Catch 'em all. :)
Then there's Alfie's. Alfie's is an antiques emporium. The vintage jewellery made me drool on the cases. Four stories of historical ghosties. Yum. If and when you get to London, it's on Church Street. There's a dece little market on that street too.
but then it's London, you can't walk a mile without bumbling into a market.
Here's the Wallace Collection photos.
The ornate containers are snuffboxes, none of them bigger than 5 in across. The painting, which might be familiar, was actually very sexually suggestive, but the proper Victorian ladies later on thought the girl in pink was so pretty that they cropped all the men out and put her on chocolate boxes.