Busy Free Day

On Thursday, March 14th we had our free day! I used it traveling all over London to see all the things I’ve wanted to. The tube is so easy to use that it was really quick to get to all the places. I started my day walking to the Tower of London, which is right next to our hotel. The battlements and tower were amazing to see because we have nothing like this in the United States. Everything reminded me of Game of Thrones because the show is based off English Casltes and history. Then we travelled to Abbey Road to see where The Beatles recorded there first album. It was amazing to see this because I’ve been raised as a Beatles fan ever since I was born, my family loves them and so do I! Then we went to see platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross station where Harry Potter starts into the wizarding world. My brother loves the books so I had to see it for him. Then we made our way to Buckingham Palace, which I was really looking forward to seeing because I love the Royal Family, it was so neat to see the gate and the changing of the guard. The guards were wearing grey which is there winter clothes which is much different then there bright red summer outfits. After this we walked to Westminister Abbey and it was so amazing, it’s such a pretty feat of architecture. I love the flying buttresses and all the windows, it was so pretty. My free day was filled with history and my favorite things, London is just as great as I thought it’d be!

Kew Botanical Gardens

For day three, the group made our way to the Botanical Gardens in Kew to see some exhibits and the location. First we went to the exhibit housing some botanical artwork. There were these amazing graphite pencil drawings of different oak trees that were dead. The artist wanted to show how beautiful these dead trees can be. We then moved on to these paintings that were extremely naturalistic. If you moved in close to these paintings you could see the amount of fine detail in them. Up the stairs was a room full of paintings, similar to the early renaissance private art shows. After seeing that exhibit, we travelled across the rest of the park to see different greenhouses. Focusing on the anatomy of botanical life, we walked and looked closely at different plants. One greenhouse was housing tropical plants which were really tall and big. Sadly, a lot of the exhibits were closed because of renovation, but the Gardens will definitely be a memory I won’t forget


On Monday, March 11th, We went to Kew Gardens and it was a beautiful garden full of many many plants and beautiful galleries but the only way finding that was good was the layout of the map and the few signs around the area but my main issue of finding my way around was that there was so many paths and walkways that I didn’t know which to take. If they were labeled by specific names or numbers or letters it would help. If the map had the label on the pathway and then the road or path could have a sign every couple feet or even painted nicely on the pathway it would help immensely to aid people figuring out where to go. That’s just one way finding issue i’ve had so far in London. The tube is a great way finding system and one of the easiest public transportation methods I’ve ever used. So it’s easy to compare that to everything else because it’s so good.

Day #3 Kew Gardens

Day 3 I started off my day late walking up at 8:30 and rushing to breakfast before we left at 9. We all hopped on the underground and took the hour-long ride to Kew Royal Botanic Gardens. When we got into the garden I was shocked to find out how much there was to do, there are over 300 acres and they employ over 700 people. I could have spent the whole trip day there was just so much I wanted to see like the color tower and the tree top walk which was closed. While there we mainly walked off the path and explored on our own, walking we got to see lots of ducks and peacocks. We got to visit a lot and take amazing photos as well, hopefully, one day I will be able to go back and spend a day there.

Tate and The National Galleries

On Wednesday, March 13th, We went to the Tate Modern, The National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery. The Tate Modern was really cool to see in real life after learning about all the installations. I really liked the Jenny Holzer’s piece about provoking strong responses. It had a lot of interesting quotes that really made me think. At the National Portrait Gallery I really liked the portraits of Henry VIII and Anne Boelyn and Queen Elizabeth I. My ancestry goes back to them so it was cool to see. In the National Gallery I really liked seeing Leonardo Da Vinci’s Virgin of the Rocks and some of his sketches next to it. His way of painting is like no other painter it’s really amazing. Overall these past few days have been really interesting with seeing all this really thought provoking art.

Museums & More Museums

On Tuesday, March 12th we visited The Design Museum, The Victoria and  Albert Museum, and The Natural History Museum. My favorite part of the Design Museum was the section on Design And Business and how a brand is what makes these companies so great and famous. It talked about Braun, Sony, and Apple which have all changed immensely over the years. These companies use Design as the foundation of their businesses. Sony discusses how they had to change not only there technology but how things are used for different purposes now like phone and computers. Braun has Ofocused from the start that they are near perfect and there items will always work which is. A great thing to hear for house hold items. Apple talks about how they spanned the gap between what technology can do and what people wanted it to. All of these companies have really strong brands that are super interesting because it really does effect the success of there company.

In the V and A I found a statue cast by Donatello of Judith and Holofernes. I love the story of Judith and how she killed Holofernes and all of the paintings of it but this sculpture was very interesting because I’ve never seen Judith standing over Holofernes and dressed in armour, which is a pretty cool image. The sculpture also is to represent Italy, and Florence overcoming tyranny. Which is a badass way to show that. I also noticed some other sculptures by Alfred Stevens which were representing Valor taking over Cowardice and Truth silencing Falsehood, but both Valor and Truth were women slaying the men. This made me think of how all of these sculptures show women as traits that everyone should have, even Judith becoming the overthrowing of tyranny is a great message. I like how these women are shown so powerful.

Kew Gardens

The visit to Royal Gardens Kew has been the highlight of my trip so far, I love visiting botanical gardens and feeling like I have traveled to the farthest parts of the world.  The herbarium at Kew Gardens houses around 7 million plant specimens from all over the world. Some of the locations you can visit in the 326 acre location include the tropical Palm house, the East Asian style Bamboo Gardens, and the extravagant Temperate House.  We were able to see many different categories and classes of flora, and every plant was labeled, even the trees between major locations. Since to grounds are so large, every time we went to a new location, it felt like a completely new environment. My favorite location was the temperate house because of the beautiful way the plants were organized.  It also included a small portion of almost every category of plants that we would be seeing later on the journey through. You really understand the royalty of the gardens when you visit this house.  Even though the large expanse was difficult to walk in the cold weather, We were excited to trek to as many locations possible during this visit.

Transportation Museum

The first museum we visited when we came to London was the Transportation Museum. it was a fun and interactive historical museum that displays the amazing history of London’s many forms of mass transport. At the time of our visit, there was a poster exhibition going on with many pieces of work from illustrators and students. My favorite poster of the day was called The Faceless Woman, and featured an illustration of a woman sitting at an empty train station on a clear starry night. It was my favorite poster because of the the elegant and soft style the artist was able to create. There was also a beautiful glow that came from the night sky that didn’t seem like a simple illustration, the stars were shining off the page an creating a beautiful luminosity. there was a sense of loneliness and peace that I felt looking at the work, which was emphasized by the desaturated colors and from the sky taking up about 50% of the composition. I later discovered the artist wont the bronze prize in the contest for this illustration, and I feel it was well deserved.

To wayfind or not to wayfind, that is the question…

While the Victoria and Albert Museum was super interesting and I could spend all day on just one of the six floors it has, I found the way finding system to be completely average and not very well designed. Due to how large the actual museum is I understand that breaking up the map on different pages, but I still felt it was way too congested and confusing to navigate when trying to get to a particular exhibit. I propose they choose different icons to represent their gift shops/bathrooms/cafes so they don’t take up so much room and I also would play with the color palette to break more of the exhibits up as looking for numbers filled with white on an orange background is not the most efficient way to help someone navigate. I just feel like the map is too much to look at and wastes time. I want to be able to not feel stressed and overwhelmed when looking at a guide.

The London Transportation Museum

For our first full day out in London we ventured over to the Transportation Museum. Once there we discovered a fabulous poster exhibit called “London Stories”. My favourite poster of them all was this one by Katerina Bazantova. I find her illustrations to be playful and exciting. She has added so many details that you notice something different every time you look at it. I feel like she really incorporated all of the things that makes London, London; like the London Eye, Earl Grey tea, guards from Buckingham Palace, the Tube, the Thames, Vespa scooters, and Big Ben (are a few to point out). I also find her poster to be humorous as she has an English Cocker Spaniel playing a detective. All around she seems like a fun artist who really cares about London’s quirks and specialities.