To be perfectly honest, I am about to cry. No, this is not an absurd exaggeration…the sadness that I am feeling is deep and cutting, and I feel absolutely ill at the thought of leaving England. This is my last night here in the UK, tomorrow I go "home".
We got a late start today much to my dismay, but the weather outside was gorgeous and the sun actually made a dazzling appearance. We dressed and began walking towards Kings Cross station, and along the way we stopped at a Pret a Manger. I have always had a sort of stigma against Pret A Manger, due entirely to my father who has always scoffed at it and called it "crap". However, after yesterday morning's surprisingly nice meal I have completely shifted positions. I had a cappuccino and another Ham/Cheese/Tomato croissant, and we then made our way to the tube. We took an easy yet crowded ride to Pimlico station, and we then walked briskly (we were close to the embankment so their was a heavy breeze) to the Tate Britain museum.
I visited the Tate Britain museum a few years ago, but it was when I was much younger and not able to fully grasp the grandeur of the great masterpieces. Instead I favored the quirky and interactive aspects of the Tate modern, and the unique sculptures that filled the rooms. We hadn't been back to the Tate Britain since, but now that I am more interested in art, I was excited to give it another try.
There was little on at the Tate Britain besides the pre-Raphaelites…but these alone were worth the entirety of the trip. There was a persistent crowd but it moved quickly, and there was a lack of screaming children which was much appreciated. I have since decided that I am not at all a fan of Rossetti, which I know might immediately discredit my artistic taste in many people's eyes…but I found his work utterly unappealing. It all seemed overdone to me, and his portraits of women all seemed technically "off", as certain aspects (such as the hair and flowers) seemed out of place, and the females all seemed distinctly masculine. I much preferred the work of Edward Burne-Jones and of course Millais and Turner. I purchased some gifts for my more artistic friends, along with a side satchel for myself that was decorated with cartoons of polaroid cameras, and my family and I then made our way down the embankment of the Thymes until we reached the boating dock. We waited for 15 minutes until our boat arrived, and then took the short ride down to the Tate Modern (which is across the Thymes from St Pauls).
My memory of the Tate Modern had always been one of comedy and intrigue, but this trip was actually quite boring. Throughout the entire museum we saw nothing of any interest to us, and in fact I am still puzzled as to the fact that some of the works there were actually considered "art". It didn't take us long to get through the entire museum, and we were soon left standing next to a grey sculpture of a flower deciding what to do next.
What we did next was entirely my suggestion…and in retrospect, not a particularly good one.
We went to Harrods. As soon as we boarded the tube to head towards Knightsbridge we all knew that we were in trouble, as it was absolutely packed. We were all squeezed like sardines in the very center of the train, all swaying back and forth as we clung to the high poles. Once we emerged from the station we followed the steady flow of people around a corner, and soon the crowds made sense…Harrods was having a sale.
We battled the crowds and made our slow way down to the grand food court, all the way being jostled about by mindless women with handbags (I'm sometimes ashamed of my gender). We bought samosas and other various Indian/Asian sides, and then quickly
ran away left and rode the tube back to the hotel. At the hotel my Mom and I began the long, arduous, dreaded, horrible, wretched, and incomprehensible task of packing.
I could have cried right then and there.
Finally we went to dinner at Pizza Express, where we had perhaps one of the more fabulous nights of the trip. We had pizza and caprese as we chatted and kaughed, uktimitaley having such a wonderful time that when we finished eating our meal we set our forks down, looked at each other, smiled, and asked for the dessert menu. (we had cappuccinos and tartufo).
I'm back in the room now, lying in bed staring at the ceiling dreading our return home. My Dad and I went for a quick little farewell walk
through the nearby streets and alleyways, following the siren call of quaint street lamps and the cheerful shouts of Londoners out on the town in raucous pubs. We wandered aimlessly as the wind kissed our faces and a commotion of nostalgia, happiness, and bitter sadness spread throughout us. It seems impossible that I'll be leaving England tomorrow. I don't know how I'll possibly be able to return to my normal life. It all seems so surreal and like a dream, and I can't even fully describe just how much this country means to me.