Two Days in London: Art and Markets

This is a rare moment for me: I’m admitting defeat. I ended my afternoon early and I’m in the hotel room bed, chilled to the bone. Oh, and my left pinky toe sliced open his brother, which is fun. Did you know that band-aids (is there a hyphen?) are called “plasters” over here? Well now you know. You’re welcome.

Anyways. We are in London until tomorrow morning; Connor is in the middle of busy-season and has a client in the city. I tagged along because, free hotel. Duh. I spent the entire day in the National Gallery yesterday, which was definitely not the plan. But every time I turned the corner there was another hotshot flaunting his* talent in new and unfamiliar (to me) ways. For example, there was a magnificent painting of two lively crabs by Van Gogh. They also have his Sunflowers piece, which is the definition of butt.  
What is even happening here? Sunflowers are decidedly not brown. Are they dying? The crabs are way better.

*Yes, ladies, we are severely underrepresented in the masterpiece art world. 

The National Gallery Has a great section of impressionists and post-impressionists, always my favorite. This part of the collection seemed smaller than its counterpart at the Art Institute of Chicago, but it was so fun seeing a new set of work by artists that I really love. I often think that I could look at this stuff all day, and since the weather was crappy,  and I was alone, that’s exactly what I did. And I bought a print by Degas, one of my favorite dudes, from the gift shop. You can see a picture on my Instagram.

Connor and I did happy hour at BrewDog, a must-try brewery if you’re in the UK. It tasted like home!! We ended Dry January early, sorry fellow abstainers. Dinner was at Bull in a China Shop, mostly because of its name and proximity to BrewDog. Food was excellent (quinoa salad and ribs). The place was weird though… We thought it was a pub, but it was actually a high-end Japanese whiskey bar. Oops.

After breakfast this morning I walked down to the Thames to enjoy the sunshine while I waited for all of the shops to open. Visiting London in January mid-week is fabulous. There are no crowds, no lines. You might even get by without a dinner reservation. If it rains there are plenty of things to do inside, and many of the main attractions are free. If the sun is out like today, it could be in the 50s in the sun! The wind will ruin you, though.

Tower Bridge


Tower of London


Tower of London


The Shard and HMS Belfast WWII Warship

Notice there are no people in any of these pictures! It was very peaceful.

I checked out Leadenhall Market a bit later, where a few scenes from Harry Potter were filmed. There’s supposed to be great food in this area but it was too early for lunch, so I continued on to Spitalfields Market.

Spitalfields Market


Leadenhall Market

I finally bought myself a black wool hat at Spitalfields. I’d been eyeing all these hat shops since we moved here and I’m very excited to jump on this British bandwagon. I’ve always had a thing for hats, and I’ve had some terrible ones in my day (pink velvety cowboy hat anyone?) The jury’s still out on this new addition. I may or may not look like Carmen Sandiego. Connor will tell me. At least it’s black, the right size, and I know the whole history of the classic style from the Chatty Kathy Salesman. He was wearing a cream suit with tails and a matching top hat. Obviously I trust his judgment.

I shopped around Spitafields – Thursday is antique day – and bough some lunch from one of the many food trucks. There’s a whole section of the market devoted to independent artists, so fun!!! Later in the afternoon I tried to covertly snap some shots of the ubiquitous, colorful street art in Shoreditch. I discovered (a bit too late for this trip) that there are guided street art tours in this neighborhood. I’d love to do this on a future London outing! The only street artist I can be counted on to recognize is Stik. Maybe some Banksy, but not always.  




 Up next: dinner. I’m still in a food coma from my falafel so not sure what we’ll do.
Disclaimer: I’m having issues formatting this post the way I would like since I’m on my phone, so when I push “post” in two seconds I have no idea what this is going to look like. 

Two Days in London: Art and Markets

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