If you read my earlier post, you'll know that today was supposed to be pretty simple-- leisurely morning, then a walk in the afternoon. However, it did not end up that way. I joined up with the group, and we all walked over to the Tate Modern. The plan was to go through the Tate Modern together, then walk over together to the National Gallery and walk through that together. It all went well until I stupidly walked a bit in front of the rest of the group, and didn't find them again. The other professors I've done walks with tend to count heads every few paces and make sure everyone stays together before moving on, but this one is highly in favour of students striking out on their own, so his stated policy on if you lost the group was that 1: it wasn't too far from the dorm, you could find your own way back or 2: you could do your own version of the same tour and look at the National Gallery yourself. So, after realizing that they had gone on without me, that's what I did. I finished looking around the Tate Modern (Calders and Rothkos and Picasso's, oh my!) and then made my way outside and asked someone who looked official (with a museum name tag) where the nearest tube station was. She happened to have a stack of basic maps of the area, and gave me directions to wind around a certain building, then follow a series of orange lamps to the Southbank tube station. I followed the directions, but after the first orange lamp-post I failed to find any others. However, every few blocks was a map of the area and the tube stations or bus stops within 15 minutes' walk, so I just kept walking towards the tube station. I finally got there, and it looked very much not open. I stopped at the corner, comparing the map there with the map I held (and wishing I had an actual map) when one of the station's employees, a motherly Irish woman, came over to see if she could help. I explained my problem, and she told me that I had found that station alright, but it was closed for the day to fix something. Then she gave me directions to the next nearest tube station, which happened to be Waterloo, the station closest to our dorms. I thanked her profusely and went on my way, deciding to continue on to the National Gallery with a double motive in mind: to see the paintings there, and to get a map from one of the kiosks outside. It was a bit tricky remembering how to get from Leicester Square to Trafalgar Square, but I must have looked confident doing it because someone with a British accent asked me for directions. When I got the National Gallery, I wandered into an entirely new area of art which included Monet, Manet, Renoir, Seurat, and Van Gogh, including the one and only Sunflowers. Then, when I realized my feet ached and the gallery was closing in less than an hour, I decided to head back, and got a wonderful map on my way back.
Tomorrow is the first day of real class, and mine is heading out to tour the library of St. Paul's Cathedral! Then tomorrow night is the official welcome event from King's College, at the Somerset House. If you want to read up on where we're going beforehand, here's a blog written by one of my instructors that has some great info.