We decided to finish off our trip with couple days in London. We were staying at a little flat in West Kensington, and happened to arrive on the night of 2016 American Presidential Election. Because of the time difference we ended up staying up super late watching that train wreck happen, so didn’t get off to a terribly early start the next day. Fortunately we were planning on taking it easy for our final days, so we didn’t have a ton of things planned.
We figured the British Museum was a must do, even though we’ve both been there before. Since the museum contains (stolen) stuff from pretty much every country, it seemed like a good way sum up our trip. Chris’s favourite bits were the exhibit on the Anglo-Saxon ship burial at Sutton Hoo, and of course the room of complicated old clocks. We also visited the Enlightenment Gallery for the first time, which is an example of what a collector’s curio room might look like from that period. When we were tired of perusing, we headed to a nearby pub for lunch.
Camden Lock Markets
Afterwards, we headed over to the Camden Lock markets to look at all the nifty things for sale. Chris tried on a bunch of hats and we went into the craziest rave store.
When we were done browsing, we headed over to the West End to see Aladdin! We stopped for tea and cakes first at a cute little nearby cafe before heading to the Prince Edward Theatre.
Aladdin is the latest of the Disney-based Broadway musicals, so it’s a fun if fluffy good time. It stays pretty true to the movie, with all the same songs and characters, minus Abu and Raja, understandably. Jasmine and Aladdin have actual human friends and Iago is also a man instead of a parrot in this version. The Genie is definitely the showstopper, and “Friend Like Me” is pretty bananas, with simultaneous magic tricks and dancing happening everywhere. There is also some pretty cool visual trickery used for the flying magic carpet, and Chris liked the Cave of Wonders set. Jasmine is played by a former member of the British girl group Sugababes, which impressed my dad haha.
On our final day we decided to check out the Tate Modern, which has had some big new additions since I was last there. As usual in modern art museums Chris spent the most of the visit being confused. The thing I remember most from my last visit was the big Louise Bourgeois spider outside, so it’s nice that they have a whole exhibit dedicated to her now.
We saw some pretty crazy installations, and the new addition to the building is pretty neat. Because of the expansion the museum is now quite close to a nearby super trendy apartment building. All of the apartments are furnished very modernly and hilariously when the expansion first opened people thought they might also be art. Must be weird for the people living there that tourists can see them watching TV.
After we were tired of looking at weird art, we took a walk down the Thames to the parliament area. We stopped for some delicious pies on the way and watched the sun set over Big Ben and the London Eye.
We continued our walk past Buckingham Palace and eventually ended up at Harrods, where we admired all the very fancy Christmas displays and did some last minute souvenir shopping. We finished up the night and also the trip at the Nags Head, an old-timey traditional local pub with about a million knick-knacks hanging on the walls and a no cell phones allowed policy.
Unbelievably, it was then time to head back to Canada!