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Random Impressions London


 When we were in London in May, I picked up a British copy of The Week, a magazine I enjoy.  It included this description of Prince Charles accompanying his Mother to Parliament.

“He was decked out in so much bunting braid and other assorted bobbins he could have emerged from an explosion in the haberdashery department of Peter Jones.  And for the first time ever, he was accompanied by his second wife, the Duchess of Cornwall.”

“Far from creeping in guiltily through the back door, Camilla arrived in a crystal carriage, festooned in royal jewels.  As she sailed up the red carpet, she twinkled so majestically to port and to starboard she looked like the Caribbean Princess cruise liner at night.”

How funny.  Made me chuckle and smile.

So much about our quick trip to London was fun…..really fun.  I’ve already written about Harrods.  Next on my list was an exploration of the Tate Modern.  While it has been open for ten years, I think of it as that “new museum in London” because this is the first chance to see it.

I expected to be Wow’d because so many people have raved about the Power Station  turned  Mecca of Modern Art.  I wasn’t and kept thinking how much more I like the openness of the  Modern Wing of Chicago Art Institute.


I didn’t have a bad time though. After enjoying the Bubble Makers outside, we enjoyed an exhibit of the work of a Middle Eastern artist Saloura Raouda Choucair–truly a visionary and talented woman. And to be fair, we didn’t tour the permanent collections.  Maybe that was the mistake.

The guide books call the Museum light and airy so clearly I didn’t get to the right galleries. Maybe the fact I hadn’t seen sunshine in a week impacted my lack of excitement.  I wouldn’t discourage anyone from going.

(Next time I will do the audio tour and also take the Tate boat ride.  Maybe I’ll enjoy it more).

I did love the restaurant.  Several people told us to be sure to have lunch on the top floor of the museum with floor to ceiling windows.   We snagged a table looking over the Thames and enjoyed a lovely time.

We looked over the Millennium Walking Bridge, an interesting stretch of shapes and curves.  It leads to  Saint Paul’s Cathedral.

After a leisurely lunch we headed across the bridge to Saint Pauls’s enjoying the view of the London Bridge and the iconic red buses.  The Cathedral is well worth the trip.    It’s so famous.  Loved seeing it and even better, the absolutely fabulous audio/visual tour.  Yes, visual.  Not only being in the space and learning about all the elements but when the tour’s guide talked about Princess Diana’s wedding there, the small screen showed a video clip. Truly a technological triumph.

I also enjoyed the quiet times once an hour when a lovely prayer was offered up, both encouraging guests to be respectfully serene and reminding me of a very funny experience in a cathedral in Florence.

 At that experience, loud Shhhhhhssshhhhh,sounding like an irritated god, came from on high admonishing us to be silent.  It didn’t work. We collapsed in hysterics every time it happened. 

After the tour, we meandered into a charmingrestaurant/pub (Fuller Ale and Pie House) in an old bank building reputed to be in between Sweeny Todd’s barbershop and the Mrs. Lovett’s Pie shop.  I was glad we didn’t order meat pies. If you know the story, you will know why.



Post Author
Susan J. Smith
Susan's career includes writing for newspapers, lots of community work and a wonderful family life. Now she is enjoying traveling, photography and writing for DesignDestinations and Grand Rapids Magazine. She welcomes you on her journey and appreciates your comments.


  1. posted by
    Peggy DePersia
    Jun 25, 2013 Reply

    We’re the shushing sounds in the Sistine Chapel? The experiences that puzzle us!!! We can laugh now.

    • posted by
      Susan J. Smith
      Jun 25, 2013 Reply

      If you click on the link, you can read about the experience. it was in Florence…….

  2. posted by
    Jun 26, 2013 Reply

    I like the looks of the walking bridge. Fun article!!!

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