Sunday, April 5, 2009


Where am I? 

Hm, let's see. It's Sunday. We crossed a familiar looking bridge toward a 14th/15th century castle with hundreds of French, Croatian, Italian, German, Spanish, and who knows from where else tourists.  Ah, the Tower Bridge. Yep, this is London, and Jase and I are just two foreign faces in the vast crowds.

After Palm Sunday services at St Martins in the Field (complete with processional and donkey) and a stroll along the Thames, I dropped J off at London Bridge station so he could make it to a meeting with a curator from the Tate. It's fun accompanying a 'celebrity' artist on his first tour through Britain.  Finally, a few minutes to blog.

Yesterday it was Manchester, where we arrived Thurs PM after a morning in London for a 2 day art historians conference. Jase delivered a paper to what turned out to be a fairly sparse

 crowd. And then participated in a roundtable. I was off to explore Manchester on my own and was charmed by the city and especially its architecture.

Manchester was at the epicenter of the 18th century Industrial Revolution in Europe.  A major cotton industry fluorished here with the invention of hydro and then steam and then electric powered weaving machinery. Prosperity throughout the 19th century left extraordinary Victorian buildings 

and museums in its wake. Jase and I love the architecture here--mid to late 19th century Greek and Italian revival. Unlike so many places we have been in the past 16 months, aside from Israel/Jordan, this is the best preserved and restored architectual heritage I have seen.

The scale of the central core is welcoming and easy to navigate. Distinct neighborhoods with individual character, from the Gay Village through Chinatown and the upscale shopping districts. Have uploaded some photos here for you to take a look.

Had one memorable meal at Yang Sing, an excellent Cantonese restaurant just down the street from where we stayed.

Virgin Rail trains run an express service from London to Manchester. 2 hours in quiet and comfort and hardly a sway or a bump on the tracks along the way.  Why can't we......

Our first day in London, I led us on a wild goose chase to find the Haunch of Venison gallery. Looked up the address on googlemaps, and it pointed to a location in far west London.  My mind was lost somewhere on a continuum between jetlag and utter stupidity, so before you could hum the entire chorus of God Save the Queen, we were stepping off the tube in Acton, clearly lost.  Jase looked great, though, in his proper British trenchcoat and beret.

We headed back into town, to discover that the gallery was only  a 2 minute walk from our hotel. Ugh.  Round and round and round we go…..

We made up for lost time, though, and enjoyed an hour at the gallery exhibition, Mythologies.  All A list contemporary artists plus selected emerging talent.  I especially enjoyed Carlos Morales's work.  Here's something cool from artist Jennifer Wen Ma.

After 2 days in Manchester, we arrived back in London late Saturday afternoon and headed to our hotel at Trafalgar Square.  Perfect spring afternoon and everyone was out enjoying the weekend.  After we settled in, I dragged Jase on a short tourist walk to the river to see Big Ben, the Parliament, etc. 

More later…..

1 comment:

  1. I've never been to England, but your discriptions have sealed the deal for me to visit someday. The idea of "strolling" around town is a concept unknown to where I currently find myself.