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We went to London and saw some culture! Despite the strikes on Friday we had a smooth trip to Croydon to the stay at Fishlifter Manor, where we were greeted by a very welcome dhansak.

Saturday we headed to the Royal Academy to explore Making Modernism, an exhibition about four German Modernist painters; Maula Modersohn-Becker, Kӓthe Kollwitz, Gabriele Münter and Marianne Werefkin. It was an interesting look at a different perspective, the Kollwitz drawings in particular. We were then joined by John’s parents and explored Spain and the Hispanic World, which was a very ambitious exhibition exploring Spanish art, its influences and impact on its colonies in the Americas. There were some highlights, but it suffered a bit from its scope – at once so broad the the best examples felt a bit lost in the sea of objects and also limited; the “Spanish” (Roman, Visigoth, and Moorish, pre-Romans merely glimpsed) history crammed into a single room in order to get us to the “Hispanic” and the way art and culture was combined and reinterpreted. I sort of wish it had not been presented chronologicaly, seeing the textiles or religious art side-by-side would have been interesting. Still, there were some amazing pieces and a lot to chew on.

We had lunch at Vauxhall Marketplace and then headed to Battersea Power Station which was impressive. We went up Lift 109 and admired the fantastic views, the set-up was also pretty great, though the signage and line control could be better. The interior is a mall of course, so we didn’t spent much time there but instead had a wander along the waterfront and had a look at the new buildings. It’s wild to contemplate that there is an entirely new neighourhood in the middle of London, and it looks like it will be a lovely place to have a wander in the summer. We had dinner at Arcade, which is also opening a location at Battersea as it turns out.

On Sunday we had a slightly lazier day, starting with a good old fashioned fry up at Eddie’s Cafe, followed by beer at The Craft Beer Cabin where we met up with Alison and Steven. Conversation, more beer, and even a pastel de nata from the Portuguese place next door followed.

Monday was another art day, John and I headed into London to the Science Musem for the Voyage to the Edge of the Imagination. Like most of the exhibitions at that museum it was aimed at a younger audience and naturally was geared towards connecting the SF and the science, but it still had some neat items on display including Boris Karloff’s costume from Frankenstein. Done with that it was off to the Tate Modern for the Yayoi Kusama mirror rooms. The exhibition includes an overview of the artists life and work, which was very interesting and added context which I appreciated. We entered Chandelier of Grief which I’ll be honest, I found completely underwhelming, personally for me both the emotion implied in the title and the illusion of infiny were absent, in this case the photos on the website are more impressive than what I experienced. Infinity Mirrored Room – Filled With the Brilliance of Life was the opposite though, the title is possibly a bit extra, but the experience was transporting. If you’re nearsighted like I am I also highly recommend taking your glasses off and experiencing it in soft focus.

A good weekend, though it could have possibly used a bit more just sitting around gossiping time, but then the problem of living far from London is that you try to cram the cultural activties in when you are in town.

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