London - sitting on the first seat on the upper floor of a double decker and watching people, figuring out who the tourists are from their identical umbrellas just aquired from one of the hundreds of souvenir shops which apart from said umbrellas all seem to store replicas of Kate's engagement ring.
After I left Devon, waved goodbye to my Boyfriend and got off the coach a few hours later in London with beaches and waves still filling up my head. It's thrilling to arrive to a new city a finding your bearings, and after a good nights sleep I was more than ready to concentrate on some of the quirkier treasures of this great (by which I both mean wonderful and huge) city.
|The Wallace Collection, Source|
I've been yearning to revisit The Wallace Collection, a museum of 18th and 19th century art displayed in the original collector couple's London townhouse - I still felt like a visitor at the Wallaces' home, enjoying the decor and the furnishing of the house just as much as the paintings on display.
In each room they have a catalogue of the paintings so you can read about who is on the pictures and why - it was a bit like reading a 19th century gossip magazine, and it made the house come alive with chattering crinolined ladies who faint because Madame this-and-that wore that outrageous skirt when you-know-which Artist painted her portrait, "it's so terribly obvious she wants to seduce him"!
|The Wallace Collection, Source|
This visit only had me wishing for more quaint delights - so after hearing a lot about the Soane Museum, I decided to see it for myself. Whenever you're in London and would like to be transported not only in time but also in spirit, have a look at Sir John Soane's house.
|Sir John Soane's Museum, Source|
(Photography wasn't allowed and it's very difficult to find good pictures of the place on the web too - you'll have to see it for yourselves!:)
What's better than spending a whole day in two museums? Spending the next day in only one. And if you've ever been to the Victoria and Albert Museum, you know you can spend not a day but more like a whole year there, there is just so much to see. When you're visiting a big museum, I recommend focusing on the topics you're most interested in, this way you can enjoy your visit and won't get frustrated at gathering way too much information.
So what I saw in my day spent there was the ceramics section, the Arts and Crafts movement room and 20th century jewellery - by which I was so blown away I had to get out and sit down, I simply had a shock of beauty.
Last but not least, I met the amazing ceramicist in residence, Claire Twomey.
Talking to her about how she works was the absolute highlight of my London visit. She was so accessible and kind, so happy to answer my questions. I got to know some of her art projects - like her "Blossom" at the Eden Project, where she left thousands of delicately handmade unfired china flowers to slowly melt back into the ground.
|Blossom by Claire Twomey, Source|
Or her exhibition (or rather installation) of 4000 little blue birds that only lasted a few hours as the visitors took them home, one by one.
|Claire Twomey: Trophy, Source|
She talked about the creative process of the collective artwork she creates, which not only includes her and the others who work on the physical producing of her ceramics, but also the audience, who is encouraged to actively take part in her art - taking the objects away, breaking them, or watching them disintegrate.
It was an amazing visit - in two days I saw so much art, some being created right before my eyes, some finished hundreds of years ago, still it all came alive around me. I watched London life walk or skip or rush past me, sat on the top of double deckers and walked through vast parks. Two days to enjoy and be inspired by, what more can you wish for?