Day 4: Modern Art, and the Confluence of Round

Art museums are, in general, themselves a piece of art. Modern Tate was no exception, except that it used to be a power plant. This gave it a vast open atrium and plenty of room for art.

Unsurprisingly, the younger boys were not particular fans of the modern art. There were classic pieces by Dali (tentatively Ellen’s favorite), Mondrian (Dad’s favorite), Rothko (my own favorite), and many others.

Among all of these artistic greats, I would definitively say that the younger boy’s favorite was a wall made of carpet.

See, they could rub it and make shapes on the wall. When you try to touch the wall made of Rothko, they tend to yell at you. (For those who don’t know: Rothko is known for his large wall-like panels)

They made smiley faces and inscribed their names. Fun was had by all.

Afterword, we went up to the observation deck, which was 18 stories above the city. 18 stories is high enough to largely be above most of the buildings – this is a relatively short city, but from what I hear, not for long. 18 stories is high enough to see a decent distance, but also high enough that the wind is unimpeded. We three (Ellen, Jason, and I) huddled against the driving wind and drizzle debating how hard it would be to hit the pedestrians below with a bouncy ball while the other three stayed inside and brought us hot chocolate. That’s one thing that’s different about Europe that I remember from last time I was here: hot chocolate is actually good. It’s not that powdery stuff that we get in the US, but it has actual taste and texture.

After a while on the deck, we walked down the river over to the London Eye, the big ferris-wheel-like structure on the banks of the Thames. Apparently it’s sponsored by Coca-Cola now, so it’s officially called the Coca-Cola Eye of London. I guess someone has to pay for it. At any rate, the Eye was roughly what I expected: a pretty decent observation point. We walked onto enclosed pill-shaped capsules at the bottom of the wheel, and then slowly rotated around to the top. Around capsule were small tablets which pointed out what could be seen from the Eye, which went out quite a distance. We saw the Big Ben from above, right next to MI5, right next to the Buckingham palace. Each of these buildings looks hundreds of years old (because they are). Back in America, our CIA building just looks like an office building.

Ryan said he would be scared of the height, but the slow-moving nature of the wheel meant that he wasn’t scared and got to enjoy the sights.

By the time we got back on the ground, a quick 28 minutes later, it had started raining in full. We stopped by the picture booth, since for some reason they take a photo of you in the capsule, like it’s a carnival ride. It’s fun, but it’s not like a carnival ride where you make goofy expressions and scream a lot.

We ducked through the rain to a small steakhouse located under a rail bridge for dinner. We filled up on steak and then headed home on the tube, to rest up for our final full day in England.



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