London – The National Gallery and Westminster

All photographs © Elizabeth West unless otherwise indicated

I told you I was a museum nerd, didn’t I?  I’ve been stalking Impressionists wherever I go.  Today, I spent time in the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, in Westminster.  I was so proud of myself–I figured out which bus to get on from Vauxhall Station all by myself.

The square.  It’s full of people.  Probably because it was a nice day.

The square.  It’s full of people.  Probably because it was a nice day.

Artwork in the square--Hahn/Cock, by Katharina Fritsch. 

Artwork in the square–Hahn/Cock, by Katharina Fritsch.

Find out more about this work at this link.

Before I went to the Gallery, I ate lunch at St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church, at the Café in the Crypt.  It’s a café, in the church crypt (duh).  I found it on a TripAdvisor thread about cheap places to eat.  Well, the thread was a few years old, because it certainly wasn’t as economical as all that!

The café.  It really is under the church, right next to the gift shop.  A bit touristy, perhaps, but still sort of neat.  

The café.  It really is under the church, right next to the gift shop.  A bit touristy, perhaps, but still sort of neat.

My lunch--a cheddar and English pickle sandwich, leek and potato soup, and a Fentiman’s Curiosity Cola.  It was pretty good, actually. 

My lunch–a cheddar and English pickle sandwich, leek and potato soup, and a Fentiman’s Curiosity Cola.  It was pretty good, actually.

The National Gallery is one of the most important art museums in the world.  It houses hundreds of works, including some incredibly famous paintings.  You could spend days in here and not see everything.  I stayed in the painting galleries, and spent a lot of time in the Impressionist rooms.

National Gallery London

Image:  visitlondon.com

Here are some of the paintings I saw today.  These pictures I took–they let you do that, with certain restrictions.  I won’t post everything, because I think you should come here and see them for yourself.

Farms Near Auvers - Vincent Van Gogh.  This is like the one I saw in Cardiff. 

Farms Near Auvers – Vincent Van Gogh.  This is like the one I saw in Cardiff.

An Old Man Holding a Pilgrim-Bottle - Unknown Italian artist.  They don’t know who painted this, but they think it was created sometime in the 1650s.

An Old Man Holding a Pilgrim-Bottle – Unknown Italian artist.  They don’t know who painted this, but they think it was created sometime in the 1650s.

The Fighting Temeraire - Joseph Mallord William Turner.  There is a Turner exhibit at the Tate Britain, which I am debating going to, but it costs £15 to get in.  Kind of steep. 

The Fighting Temeraire – Joseph Mallord William Turner.  There is a Turner exhibit at the Tate Britain, which I am debating going to, but it costs £15 to get in.  Kind of steep.

The Virgin of the Rocks (sometimes called Madonna of the Rocks) - Leonardo da Vinci.  There are two of these--the other one hangs in the Louvre. 

The Virgin of the Rocks (sometimes called Madonna of the Rocks) – Leonardo da Vinci.  There are two of these–the other one hangs in the Louvre.

AAAAAAAND:

Sunflowers - Vincent Van Gogh.  This is the one I came to see!  :D  It did not disappoint. 

Sunflowers – Vincent Van Gogh.  This is the one I came to see!  :D  It did not disappoint.

———-

After I left the Gallery, I took a walk across Hungerford Bridge over the Thames and along the Embankment.  Clouds were hovering over the city, and I could see rain falling in the distance.  By the time I reached the other side of the River and got to the Aquarium, the wind had picked up.

Westminster Bridge.  You can see the cloud coming.

Westminster Bridge.  You can see the cloud coming.

It did rain, but only a little–the worst of the storm passed to the south, and the sun stayed out most of the time.  I only got a little wet.  But it doesn’t matter; I’m in London.  It rains here.  If millions of Londoners can deal with it, so can I.

The sun came out in force a bit later and Big Ben and Parliament lit up.  Here they are all shiny and smiling.

Parliament and Big Ben in the sun- London

Right after I took this picture, Big Ben chimed the 5:30 chime.  I didn’t get to hear that last time I came here, because they were working on Elizabeth Tower (where he lives–Big Ben is the bell).

I walked all the way to Vauxhall Station, but then I became stupid and got on the train going the wrong direction.  I had to get off at Stockwell and ended up getting on the Northern line instead of back on the Victoria going the other way.  I had to go to the Bank station to switch to the District line back to Richmond Station, making a big circle.

See how far this was on the tube map here.  (Hint: look at the bottom center and go up and around from the right, and then back left to the bottom.  I will definitely have to top up my Oyster tomorrow.)

I don’t mind too much, because if I had gotten on the right train, I would have been home sooner and missed a gorgeous rainbow out the train window.  I’m sorry I didn’t get a picture of it–there were too many people on the train and I wasn’t on the correct side of the carriage.

Now I’m home and full of chili and basmati rice (they eat chili on rice here.  Seriously, it’s delicious.) and watching a hospital show on the telly.  I’m not sure what I’ll be doing tomorrow.  But I will let you know.

Before I go, I’ll give you one more Van Gogh I think you’ll enjoy.  It’s on loan from a private collector, to whom I am grateful for sharing it.  I bring you:

Two Crabs - Vincent Van Gogh

Two Crabs – Vincent Van Gogh

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8 thoughts on “London – The National Gallery and Westminster

  1. One of my favorite places, The National Gallery. I think I have been at least 5 or 6 times. If we had free time, we went back. So lucky to be able to take photos, back in the day, I could not. VanGogh painted 6 vases of Sunflowers. Three he signed and three he did not. The Gallery has auctioned off the unsigned. We were there one day when one went up for bid. Very exciting.
    thanks for sharing.

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