Sunday, January 22, 2012

sport free zone

After a week full of pub quizzes, pub crawling, and partying on a river boat, it was time for me to explore the London that I really came to see.  Yesterday, I had the opportunity to visit two great art historical sites.    In the morning, I ventured to Westminster Abbey where I found myself floored by its' stunning perpendicular Gothic architecture, medieval cloisters, and rich history.  As I wandered down the nave, listening to the echo of my shoes along the stone floor, I remembered why I simply love cathedrals.
As I finished the tour, the thought of witnessing more art exhilarated me so I decided to head towards the National Gallery.  After a short, but windy, walk, I found myself in Trafalgar Square staring at the triumphant columns that marked one of the most prominent art museums in the world.  Excitedly, I headed up the steps, and, for several hours, I gazed upon awesome works of art.  
Once again, I was reminded that my art history textbooks will never do justice to pieces like the sketchy lines of the Burlington Cartoon, the stark expressions of the Arnolfini Portrait, and the colour schemes of Renoir and Van Gogh.  After this adventure, I could not possibly imagine a more beautiful day.  

Then today happened.  

Following a whirlwind journey on the tube and a warm lunch at a cafe, I headed to the British Museum.  I had a marvelous afternoon exploring its' three levels of Ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman antiquities as well as - my personal favorite - the Asian collection.  
What excites me the most about this museum is its' many layers of controversy - who actually has the right to the exquisite and historic works that lie within its walls?  As I reflect upon this weekend and consider how much I learned, I am convinced that my time in London will become one of the most rewarding and valuable experiences of my life.  

Next stop: The Tate Modern.