For Free!!!

Not going to lie the bed we are sleeping in SUCKS! I was up and down, then down and up all night, but then again it could have been my mom’s light hum of breathing deeply, aka snoring! After a restless night, the alarm clock fired early and was punctuated with the sounds of construction workers. Mom prepared breakfast with store-bought crepes, peanut butter, and banana. Three things my mom needs to survive: peanut butter, bananas, and coffee! Two out of three were checked off the list!

We were headed to the TKTS Official London Theater Ticket stand to purchase last-minute deals! We were early in line and scored matinee tickets to the Kinky Boots production at the Adelphi Theater in the West End. We upgraded our seats to the floor center stall, or what we know in the States as center aisle. Our show was not until 2:30 in the afternoon, so we had approximately four-hours to fill! 

Mom still needed the last survival item, coffee. Being that we are both teachers, we have accumulated a small fortune of Starbucks gift cards. So we sought refuge from the second day of high winds at the Seattle’s coffee chain. We each savored a drink and planned the day’s activities of the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, and Trafalgar Square. ALL of them being…FOR FREE, hence the title of my blog entry. 

The number of master artists available to the public with the limitation of no flash photography was mind-blowing to me. A slew of tourist littered the corridors with sprinkles of student groups being lead by docents. With nearly 5 million visitors annually, I was glad to be a small speck on this museums patron list. It was an amazing art appreciation culture. I overheard a father’s conversation about the story of Moses in the Bible to his daughter. A mother encouraging her son to pause and truly look at the artwork. And in the purple collage below, with a mother’s permission, I captured a small girl sketching Monet’s Water Lily Pond. 

I know in Atlanta there are opportunities a handful of times for free entry to the High Museum, but seeing the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery 100% FREE all day everyday was impressive. For all people to explore the wonders of art from the 13-century to present day from religious alter pieces to impressionistic paintings, the collection could inspire any future creative genius. 
There would have been no way for me to capture all of the artwork. The National Gallery was founded in 1824 and has grown to a collection of over 2,300 pieces of art! My mom’s favorite was Van Gogh’s sunflowers, as seen below as she cheesed it up in a cut-out photo booth! I am not sure I could just pick one work of art, but again let me emphasis the quality of FREE!

Something fun that happened while grabbing maps of the galleries, I inquired about their app. I had already downloaded the FREE app while planning my trip and wanted to know if there were symbols through the galleries to use my app. The two employees I asked thought is was cool the museum had an app and didn’t even know it existed. Made me laugh. 

Lunch was a handful of pre-packed snacks and half a grilled cheese sandwich, then off to Kinky Boots. I knew the show gained attention at the Tony Awards and was created by Harvey Fierstein with music by Cyndi Lauper. The story is about two friends with similar yet very different lives changing their own personal narratives through friendship, love, understanding, acceptance, and tolerance. The crew of actors at the Adelphia Theater captured the energy of the drag-rific show! The powerful message ended with Lola saying, “You can change the world when you change your mind!

We are in London until June 5th. Tomorrow we have a guided-walking tour through the graffiti art district of Shoreditch High Street and ferry rides along the River Thames to see some iconic London landmarks. Let’s see what trouble we can get into tomorrow!