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Amanda Goes to England, Vol. 2: 6 November, 2012

So cute that I had to do it in both colour AND black and white – the Baker Street Tube station. Get it??? Sherlock Holmes’ lived on Baker Street!
Riding the Tube…
This was the morning that I went to a place called Trafalgar Square and to the National Gallery (an art museum.) Those are the first two places I went when I came to England in 2006. Oh, the memories!
It was a really cold day, but still mostly sunny at that point. Fun fact: I apparently lost my hat between leaving the underground station outside Trafalgar Square and entering the National Gallery cloakroom. I was sad about that, of course, because I made it specifically for this trip! I actually lost a hat (that I’d purchased)  while riding the Tube back in 2006. I guess I’ve learned my lesson: don’t wear a hat on the Underground! It gets stuffy in the rail cars, and I end up taking the hat off and losing it!  I just hope someone found my pretty turquoise hat in Trafalgar Square and wore it, instead of the alternative: it got picked up and disposed of by the people who keep the square free of litter.
Peeking into Trafalgar Square, through a gate
 
Iconic lion statues at the base of Nelson’s Column
 
I wish you could tell what was happening here – it’s common for people to get on top of the lion statues to have their photo taken. Here, one friend had her hands on another friend’s bum, to push the friend on top of the statue.
Then, I think the one on the lion noticed I was taking his photo haha
Fountains in the Square
The “fourth plinth” at Trafalgar Square is used for temporary art installations. This one was called “Powerless Structures, Fig. 101.” 
 
I think (hope) this is the only “stereotypical pigeon photo” I took in London. Fly, you rats of the sky, fly!
 
The National Gallery
I realised pretty quickly that I didn’t want to spend much time in the National Gallery. Sorry, NG! I did visit it twice last time, after all. And my ADD won’t let me stay too long in one museum. But I always think it’s worthwhile to drop in and see the pieces by da Vinci at the National Gallery – they’re incredible!  Not mention works by Michelangelo, Raphael, Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir, Cézanne, and some other folks who are nothing to sniff at. It’s free to visit this museum, so besides losing my hat outside, it cost me nothing to make just a brief visit there!
 The one photo I took inside the gallery – and I was scolded by a staff member. Unlike the previous day at Victoria & Albert, I genuinely did not know I was not allowed to take this photo. I knew no photography was allowed in any of the rooms containing art, but thought I could take photos in the central hall. Because I certainly DID do that in ’06…

The weather had turned really damp and cold by the point that I left the National Gallery and continued with my day. I walked down to Big Ben so I could take a picture of the Twizzlers Anna Marie had given me the morning I left. I’d saved it to eat there, just so I could tell her that’s what I’d done. I only wished I had MORE Twizzlers, of course!

From Instagram: “For my Anna Marie: I waited til I got to Big Ben to eat the Twizzlers she gave me (along with a hug) the morning I left”

Big Ben and Parliament 

I was feeling a little blue at this juncture, between my unsatisfactory experience at the National Gallery and the fact that the weather had taken a turn for the worse. I decided to visit a museum called the Tate Modern, because I never made it there in 2006. On the way there, I stopped into a little cafe for a cup of coffee to take with me and got a pastry called “pain au chocolat,” that is made with croissant dough, rolled up with a couple of pieces of chocolate in the middle. Even though it was just from a convenience store, it was really tasty with my coffee. It cheered me up! It’s the little things that can make all the difference in the world, I guess. Thankfully, walking six hours a day allowed me to eat lots of pastries without gaining a stone!
Reflections in the mirrored walls in the main entrance at Tate Modern
 
Me, disheveled as heck in the Tate Modern’s “loo” 
I don’t care for modern art. AT ALL. But I enjoyed my visit to the Tate Modern. It is one of the museums where photography is allowed. So more for my “People in Museums” series!
Dreary afternoon – can’t you tell?
Caught photographing this couple as they gazed across the Thames towards St. Paul’s. The guy thought he was in the way of the photo I was trying to take – but he didn’t know that I wanted to take a photo of the two of them looking across the river! Not a photo where he’s looking at me!
Me, in a museum
 
Walking in Southwark after leaving Tate Modern
 Instead of souvenir from my voyage to London, my niece wanted me to bring her a piece of video game paraphernalia. Specifically, she wanted a figure for the game Skylander. She wanted to be able to say that she had a European Skylander piece.  I searched online for video game stores in  London and found that there was one on a major shopping thoroughfare, Oxford Street. I had walked down to Oxford Street when I was here in 2006 because it wasn’t far from my hostel then. As it had been in ’06, Oxford Street was beautifully lit up for Christmas already. It looked even better for my black and white pictures because the streets and pavements (sidewalks to us Americans) were slick from the drizzling it’d been doing.
Mundane details: I decided to pop into a clothing store called Marks and Spencer because they had Wi-fi. I found that they also had a food section and cafe. I finally had success with a meal! I normally wouldn’t detail every meal for you, but since I’ve told you of my onion-related struggles in the Motherland: M&S  had tomato and basil (Tuh-MAH-toe BAH-sil haha) soup at their cafe and it had no discernible onions in it! SUCCESS!
 
I did make it to HMV, the store with video games and found what my niece wanted. I also bought her a surprise Christmas present: A DOCTOR WHO CALENDER! My quote that night to Twitter was “After my visit to HMV on Oxford Street, I better win the “Aunt of the mother-friggin’ Year” award.”
I felt really pleased with my time spent on Oxford Street! It was a very nice ending to my day.
Catching a ride back to the hostel. I love the Tube so much…
Bonus photos that don’t really go with the rest: Wacky colours from using redscale film in a toy camera that night on Oxford Street:
 
Photos taken with my Nikon EM, Ricoh FF-1, and Lomography La Sardina
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