I woke up at 7:00am this morning (Sunday) feeling fresh, though I started feeling a bit tired as the early morning progressed. It rained overnight but it was clearing by 9:00am. I had another delicious breakfast in the hotel and worked on my blog for a while. My first stop for the day didn't open until 11:00am so there was no rush. Having said that, it took me a while to muster the energy to get going, so it was good to not be in a hurry.
Before leaving Australia I saw an advertisement for an open weekend at the London Transport Museum depot so I organised a ticket. Today was the day. It's also the day of the London marathon and I noticed increased police presence as soon as I left the hotel as a policeman brandishing a machine gun was patrolling ahead of me.
I headed to the Kensington High Street tube station to top up my Oyster card and take my first tube ride of this trip (took the circle line to Earls Court then the district line to Acton Town). On my way down the escalator I reacquainted myself with standing on the right side instead of the left as we tend to do.
The museum depot was a few minutes walk from the station. I noticed these serious pieces of hardware on the way in.
The depot has a huge collection of old maps and signage. It was fascinating to see how they have evolved.
The depot also has a good collection of trains and buses.
I enjoyed walking around. Dotted around the depot were stalls selling all sorts of second hand transport related items. Of particular interest to me were some maps. I bought a couple. I also bought my first 2 books of the trip - starting early - I must pace myself. One was London Transport Photographs 1880-1965 and the other was 150 of the most iconic posters from the underground. I could easily have bought a few more too.
After a couple of hours of wandering around I made my way back to the hotel to drop off my purchases and decide what to do next. I decided to check out some exhibitions at the Natural History Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum (next door to each other).
The exhibition at the Natural History Museum was Otherworlds, a collection of large photographs from the solar system to a soundtrack created by Brian Eno. The photographs were spectacular and made me wonder about all that beauty that is never experienced up close ... or is it?
The museum was super busy. I wandered around a bit but nothing really grabbed my attention other than the architecture of the building.
It was still only 3:30pm so I ventured on to the V&A. Unlike the Natural History Museum, I have been to the V&A before. This time I was interested in an exhibition of photos by Paul Strand, a pioneer of modern photography. Some of his work dates back to 1910 and it was enlightening to see photography in that age being used as an artistic medium rather than just a documentary medium or gimmick. The book shop had a couple more books I'd really like but I decided to wait until I come back to London at the end of May. Then I can load my luggage up for the final flight home if need be.
I was going to leave but I noticed the medieval/Renaissance section and some amazing carved altar pieces in particular. The gilded, 3D works were gruesome but stunning.
By this time my feet had had enough. I decided to save them a little by catching the tube part way back to the hotel. After a little confusion over which line to catch I made it back to High Street, grabbed some dinner and stumbled back to the hotel.
I had planned to go out tonight for a bit of a dance at a place I know of, but my feet/legs have given up on me. I'm feeling very tired again and I think an early night is in order.