Thursday, February 10, 2011

Tut, tut, it looks like rain!

Outside the V&A
Today the weather did a complete 180 from yesterday's sun. It was a brolly and wellies day. A stay away from the edge of the road or you'll get splashed day. A stay indoors day. In short, today was a rainy day, and I was thrilled!

After all, I am in London, which basically means I'm likely be thrilled independently of the weather. But I have to say, I have been looking forward to a really rainy day (it rains a lot less than I thought it would). Rainy days are practically synonymous with museum days, and I have heaps of museums -and shops -to explore. After a hearty breakfast and an extra cup of coffee, I donned my cheery red trench and headed out for a day inside.

My first stop was Harrod's. I was looking for a bathing suit and some fleece welly socks. They had neither. Well, that's not quite true. There were a few models, but sales associates in both areas told me it would be best to look online - more selection and better prices. Other than food (glorious food) and Harrod's souvenirs, there isn't really a lot there to buy. It seems that this giant department store is a kind of museum: people go to drool over luxury goods and possibly sample some fabulous food, and to take pictures of the Egyptian escalator hall, but they shop at Amazon. Yes, Internet shopping is alive and well in London.

I decided to skip shopping in favour of visiting the Victoria and Albert Museum. Again. I was there just two days ago for a quick peak, but this place is so huge, you could easily spend two full days looking around. Today was much busier than Tuesday (Tuesday was sunny, and while the steps outside the museum were packed, the inside was pretty quiet). There were crowds of umbrella-wielding visitors hanging out in the lobby, jammed into the cafe and dutifully following tour guides. There were also artists sketching scenes and objects and copying texts. Neat.

The courtyard in the rain
My guidebook states that a plan is imperative, but I disagree. I missed the orientation tour, and on the advice of the information officer, I decided to "wander around and get lost". Here's some of what I saw:   

Lots of touch stations

A neat Japanese incense burner

The Frog Princess

A huge carpet

A very ornate sink
I wanted to see some of Princess Diana's dresses, but the textiles wing was closed. My day ended when I was thrown out of the Art Library. I had a shopping bag and a purse, so "All Welcome" didn't apply to me. I'll just have to go back!

Have you been to the V&A? Did I miss something fabulous?

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