I began my day exploring Trafalgar Square and the surrounding area while waiting for the museums to open. I went from statue to statue, taking photos and reading inscriptions. Around the block, I found myself at Leicester Square where a statue of Shakespeare is under renovation.
I spent about an hour or so running around the National Portrait Gallery, which was a lot of fun since very few people were there so it felt as if I had the whole museum to myself. During this time, I discovered many interesting paintings and that sometimes the portrait is just as much about the subject as it is about the artist behind the scenes. I was particularly delighted that the portraits of William Blake, Lord Byron, and Lord & Mary Shelley were all in the same room. Also, I was excited to see Sir William Blake Richmond’s portrait of Robert Louis Stevenson and Sir John Everett Millais’s portrait of Sir Arthur Sullivan.
After that, I had an early lunch at The Chandos pub Opera Room — a cozy restaurant with fire places and stained glass windows — and ate the most incredible fish and chips I’ve ever had. Like the Portrait Gallery, I had this place too all to myself.
After lunch, I tried to take the Harrods bus tour, but it was sold out — which was fine by me. Instead, I bought some chocolates and candies at Harrods for later and had tea time at Café Liberty, inside the Liberty of London department store.
Around 7 p.m., I was reunited after three years with my great friend Elena and company for a Jack the Ripper walking tour. It was so wonderful to see Elena again and we all had a great time on the tour. The tour guide was very good, like an actor performing each character in every murder and theory. At the end, to rest our feet a bit before going home, we hung out at The Ten Bells pub — know as the Jack the Ripper Pub since the victim “…Annie Chapman may have drunk at the pub shortly before she was murdered.”
All in all, a busy but exciting day!
Copyright 2013 by G. E. Gallas