Sunday, June 30, 2013

Let me take you to London! - Day 3

From June 15 to 23 I was on a nine day trip to London! These posts are my slideshows of that vacation so you can all travel along with me and enjoy the sights. 

I also kept a journal while I stayed there which I will show completely when I'm done with the photographs. Enjoy!

LONDON DAY 3

On day three I wanted to do two things: walk up Oxford Street both ways and visit the British Museum. Oxford Street is a very (very) long shopping street which is overflowing with people at just about any time the shops are open. I already knew I wouldn't find much in the shops, since they are all about fashion or full of touristy stuff which I don't care for anyway. Not my thing really. But I love to walk among the masses and glare at everything that's for sale. I think this is simply because there's not one place in London so completely opposite to the island I live on as Oxford Street.

You also need to understand that a lot of my love for London has to do with the charm of just being there. There's nothing attractive about Oxford Street, unless you love shoes, clothes, cosmetics and jewelry,  but for me it's like walking in a parallel universe where everything is different from what you know. I also enjoy being anonymous among these masses of people. On my island being anonymous is pretty much impossible.  If I had to walk there (Oxford Street I mean) every day I think I would go insane, but just for the experience it gives me  something like a shot of otherworldly...um..something. ;-)

Coming from Tottenham Court Road I intended to take a halfway stop in Hyde Park and then walk the full length back along the other side to continue on walking to the museum, which is just a short walk from there on.

After the insanely busy tube trip I decided to start calmly with an iced coffee and some pastry at a still quiet M&S café.

Then it was on to the street. This is still early in the morning, so it's relatively quiet.

I believe this is the entrance of Selfridges department store. I loved the winged figure.

Done with the first half I left for Hyde Park and passed Marble Arch on the way.

In case you get lost, there's these signs just about everywhere.

On the way back I did enter the department stores. For their books and for their stationary.

Stationary, books and office supplies may be the only thing I could not resist shopping wise.

Much later than I  would have liked I arrived at the British Museum.

You know a museum is big when there's the entire front of an old Greek temple inside!

I was mesmerized by the classic statues. Took so many pictures of them!

This male face fascinated me most, so stern and serious. And gorgeous too, haha.

Also took many close ups of ancient writings, like Egyptian hieroglyphs.

The museum is beautiful inside and out.

And I got to see way too little of it. Still a little sorry about that.

My loot of the day. Three notebooks, sticker labels and a set of sharpies which was on sale. Oh and a little chocolate!

I had every intention of visiting the British Museum again later that week, because there was a special exhibition on Pompeii and Herculaneum. But I never got around to it. In hindsight I wished I hadn't spent so much time on Oxford Street, but hindsight is always twenty twenty, right?

Like I said I took many many photographs of classical statues. I hope to use them to practice my drawing. I actually did a few of those while I was there and will show those when I show you the journal pages of my trip.

Well, you must be exhausted after all that walking, take a good nights' sleep and I'll see you tomorrow! ;-)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Let me take you to London! - Day 2 (and another guest post at CMM)

From June 15 to 23 I was on a nine day trip to London! These posts are my slideshows of that vacation so you can all travel along with me and enjoy the sights. 

I also kept a journal while I stayed there which I will show completely when I'm done with the photographs. Enjoy!

LONDON DAY 2 

I had a loose plan of where I wanted to go each day. Sometimes I kept it up and sometimes I threw those plans to the wind. It's all okay. I just knew I needed a little direction up front since time was limited and there was so much I wanted to see. In the end you just cannot do everything in seven days so I had to throw some things to the wind anyway, haha.

I knew that on my first 'real' London day I wanted to go to Camden, because that's when the markets are at their most active and complete. Since I only had one Sunday, it would have to be the first day I was there. 

I started the day walking up Primrose Hill, which offers an amazing view over London (and is good for your leg muscles, phew!)

After enjoying the sights I walked along Regent's Canal ....

... right unto the Camden Markets area near Camden Lock.

It holds the best little second hand bookstore ever. The owner shares my love for Philip Pullman.

This is just a fraction of the markets, but it is the most authentic part I think. It's gone too commercial over the years. A pity.

I loved this woodwork, a whole staircase wall was covered in it.

This is the actual Camden Lock, where the water levels are artificially heightened or lowered so ships can go through.

Walking along Regent's Canal is fascinating. You kind of get to see the backside of a lot of London area's that way.

Or how about this view through the trees at an old church?

After all the busyness of the markets I went searching for some peace in Regent's Park.

And I actually found some too. The London Parks are gorgeous.

I did not get to spend half as much time in the parks as I would have liked. There just was not enough room in a day.

But Regent's Park I explored on this day from every side.

I ended the day on a nostalgic trip to the Brunswick shopping center.

I suppose I have to explain that last one. The Brunswick is right next to Russel Square and Bloomsbury. I stayed in an apartment in that neighborhood four years ago for four weeks. It was the most amazing vacation I've ever had. I used to come to this shopping center for my groceries practically every day.

My hotel this time was in a completely different kind of area, King's Cross/St. Pancras, which is a bit seedy and not very nice. I knew that up front, and I simply chose to go with the cheapest offer I could find, so I didn't mind that.  But Bloomsbury has a very laid back small town atmosphere that I liked to take in from time to time. I really like it there. Since I knew there was a good supermarket here I sometimes went there before going back to the hotel and get my food for the night. It was also like a comfortable trip through memory lane. ;-)

One day I wish to be able to stay in that same apartment again, it was fabulous. 

Well, I hope you enjoyed our first real full day in London. Put your feet up and relax. It will be another long day tomorrow. See you then!

PS - on a completely different note - guest post on CMM
I have another guest post on the Create Mixed Media site. Again thanks to Ricë Freeman Zachery who's generously sharing her spot there with me. I'm so proud. You can see it here. Enjoy!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Let me take you to London! - Day 1

Well hello, my lovely blogsy people! How are you all doing?

It's been a while, but I'm back from my trip to London which was both wonderful and exhausting. I have decided to give you a day by day account of my wonderful vacation, so if you don't like my slideshows, well you can just skip my blog for the next week or so and come back later, no offense taken. ;-)

However if you would like to vicariously travel along through some of what this city has to offer you are most welcome to join me. I will be posting daily for the coming 8 days with pictures I took with my smart phone. I also took a truckload of pictures with my camera, but it's a lot more work to get those blog ready, so I'm taking the easy road. Don't worry, I have taken most shots with both my camera's especially for you so you won't miss a thing.

If you have been tagging along with me on Facebook you may have already seen a lot of these photos, but without any commentary, so if you want to know  more about what you were seeing on my timeline, here's your chance!

If you're only here for the artsy stuff, well you'll be pleased to know I kept a journal while I was there and I will show you all about that after the slideshows are over, okay? Still, some pages may slip through the cracks of the photography posts. You never know.... ;-)

Well, pack up your bags, get your passport ready, for we are going on a trip!

LONDON DAY ONE

Day 1 was mostly about getting there. As you know I live in a somewhat remote place, so even though London is just a short flight from Amsterdam, getting to Amsterdam in the first place is quite an undertaking. ;-)

All trips start on the ferry and this one was no different. I figured I might as well get my sketchbook London ready.

I went by train to Schiphol Airport where I arrived way too early. But that was fine by me. Lots to see.

I'm no hero flying and somehow messages like this don't make me feel safer. ;-)

I'm not petrified though, so taxiing we go!

And we have lift off!

I'm a scarety cat, but fascinated by the beauty of it all. Flying really is a bit of a miraculous journey, isn't it?

And there she is, the city of cities. Hello London. The landing was....um...bumpy...I got a hint of motion sickness even.

The reason it was bumpy is that the weather wasn't all that good over there when I arrived.

Time to go to the hotel. I stayed at a Travelodge at Kings Cross Road. Not the best neighbourhood and not the best hotel.

But it was clean and everything worked and it had a nice street view. It was good enough for me.

I arrived in the early evening quite tired from travelling, so all I did was visit St. Pancras Station which has this amazing central hall.

I basically went there for some food. The way I do London is as cheap as possible. So no dinner in restaurants, tickets to shows or musicals, paying huge entrance fees for attractions, taking guided tours or going out or anything like that. I live on supermarket food which is very doable if you're not there for a very long time and I visit the attractions that are free or just ask for a small donation. People complain London is very expensive and it can be, but you can do a lot of great stuff there at hardly any costs.


After the shopping and getting settled in my room I pretty much just relaxed for the rest of the night and got ready for the real exploring I would do the rest of the week.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Photography Friday (and a blog break)

Can it really be two weeks have passed since my last Photography Friday? Well, yes it can! Then let's have another one, shall we?

This is the pond near the lighthouse. So green and lush!

Hello! Can you see me?

You can always tell the tourist season is starting up by the boats on the Wadden Sea.

A gorgeous still life, right in my own kitchen!

This is the pond near my house.

Same pond from another angle. This is just a small part of it by the way.

No matter what time of year it is...

...I'm always fascinated by the shape of trees and foliage.

Close up of a pine.

Climbing the dune up to the light house.

And going down along the other side.

Pretty in bloom.

Journal bliss. Very romantic pages.

Lots of foam on the beach.

Lots and lots.

And there's the pond again! Who can resist?

Well, my dear blogsy people, now I'm going to say goodbye for a short while, at least for ten days. See, I'll be going on vacation to my favorite city in the world: LONDON! (Yes, I had to capitalize that, 'cause I'm so excited!). It's been four years since my last visit, so I've been pretty homesick for my home away from home and can't wait to walk its streets and visit all my favorite places again.  My love for this city stems from an internship I did there in the nineties and I really feel at home there.

Last time I was there (in 2009) I got to stay a whole month, but I can't afford that this time unfortunately. Still, nine days isn't bad. I'll be leaving tomorrow and I will be taking my camera, so no doubt you will get some major slideshows when I get back. Don't say I didn't warn you!

Until then I wish you all a wonderful and artsy time!

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