London Diary – Goodbye 2015 and Hello 2016!!

Dec 29, 2015 – National Gallery

By then, Ben had visited Natural History Museum and British Museum, and now he set his mind on National Gallery, excellent Choice.

Since it was close by, we had planned to see the Change of Guards first, which is done on the odd days at Buckingham Palace, we however underestimated the crowd, which turned out to be much bigger than the last time we visited it in Sep. of 2014. By the time we got there, there was not a decent spot left. We tried a bit but eventually turned away. Avoid the Christmas/New Year holiday season or be there early.

So we had more time for National Gallery which worked out great. National Gallery’s specialty is paintings. There are so many treasured pieces at the museum by so many masters, it is an amazing experience going through its labyrinth of rooms. First and last time I visited was more than 10 years ago and all I remembered was its Impressionist collection. Strategy this this time was covering it chronologically. I find it interesting, keeping the historical context in perspective and pondering upon the link between history and art, vice versus. By the end of the day, I went through Early Renaissance, High Renaissance and Baroque. Although I could appreciate the artistry in all these works, I enjoyed the paintings more as the subject matters turned away from being dominantly religious. The Baroque collection is by far the most interesting, it whetted my appetite and I look forward to come back for the later period, Impressionism especially.

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Dec 31, 2015 –New Year’s Eve

By now, I’ve already figured out people here love fireworks. What do they do for New Year’s Eve? One of the most spectacular firework displays in the world over River Thames. Alas, the event became ticketed since 2014 and ticket sale starts in Sep/Oct. Not having moved to London until mid Oct. and not having started to think about it even later meant that tickets were all gone. There were other alternatives of course, various parties and dinner packages, we opted to stay away from the crowd.

Instead, we planned an easy day that turned out delightfully pleasant. We visited Westfield Shopping Center, a chic and huge shopping mall at Shepherds Bush. I think it is the largest shopping mall I ever visited. There are more than two hundred shops and a few dozen places to eat, plus a movie theatre. We shopped, we watched Start War and dined at Wahaca, a Mexican restaurant, and had a feast of Mexican spirit and street food.

Champagne, noshes and sweets continued at home to accompany the count down and fireworks on TV.

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Jan 5, 2016

Somehow it is only now that I am able to say good bye to 2015, which was one of the most interesting year by far. While there were a few bad things and battles to fight, there were more good things, and we triumphed at the end.

And since moving to London, it’s been a journey full of happy experience and interesting discovery, especially the holiday with Ben. As Ben put it, All is well that ends well.

One party ends and another begin. And it is time to say Hello to 2016. I wish all a healthy, prosperous and happy 2016 and I wish all wonderful discoveries and triumphant experiences!!

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