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A quick trip to the Tate Modern

Berlin, Germany
Got a wakeup “Morgen” at 06:12 from the conductor. The train pulled into Berlin Zoo at 07:06, and I made my way to the bus terminal. The X9 bus runs to the airport much faster than the 10, and I would have waited for it even if it hadn’t arrived first. I arrived at the airport at 07:45 at the latest, and after shaving and being told I was too early to check in, I went to the market and got breakfast: Grapefruit Gatorade and a pecan roll. It’s just past 8am and already the air is heavy with cigarette smoke. As I was looking at the flights and departures, I noticed that the increments are every five minutes. It looks nicer than having them posted at all times. I suppose it’s easier to keep the flight number and departure time separate that way.

I checked in at 08:40, and the guy behind the counter said that I had to come back in 5 minutes because he had to enter my passport or something like that. Odd. I think it turned out to be just “I need an emergency contact # for you”. Basically sat around until boarding the plane at 10:30. It’s over booked by 1, and they were offering 200€ to take a slightly later flight. I seriously considered it, but I’d really like to see that Tate museum/gallery. But it would have been a sweet end to the trip. I’m due to arrive in London around 11:38, and I hope to blow through customs because I have no bags at all.

London, England
I was quickly on my way after landing, having made only a slight wrong turn while following the pack. I changed my Euros to Sterling and was standing with ticket in hand for the Heathrow Express at 12:04. On the Tube at 12:38, it figures that I’d have to take a line with occasional construction (circle) to the Tate Modern. Had to switch from District to Circle line at High St. Kensington, where I snagged a bag of Walkers salt and vinegar crisps. Addictively tasty. Got out at Blackfriars, walked across the bridge and got some fish and chips while looking out over the Thames. The Tate is just next door, I expect to have about 1.5 hours there. Sat next to an old artist who talked about painting with a colleague while I was eating.

Inside the Tate, I saw a room full of Rothkos, from his Seagrams series. They’re intended to make the viewer feel trapped and oppressed. The colors he used are maroon and black, on gray walls. First impression: “It’s the MIT room”, so he made his point. I’ve grown to like Mondrian, Matisse, and a few others, but much of the art here is past my taste. I hopped on the Jubilee Line at Southwark, changed at Baker St, made it to Paddington with enough time to get two more bags of crisps and make the 15:55 Heathrow express. While I was checking in, they made an announcement for volunteers. This time, I walked up to business class (short line…one person) and volunteered. They are looking for 17 on this flight. I find out at boarding time. I went through customs, then went shopping for a tin soldier on a horse (the English entry in my trinket collection). Picked it up at the Harrod’s store in the mall. My flight began calling up people to head to the gate. Checked in, high level security check. They swiped my boots and jacket with swabs and had them analyzed. Wild. No volunteers needed. Flight went fine. Landed at 20:34, out of airport at 21:00. All volunteer bags came out first, so that really helped get past customs fast. Caught the T and got home and went to bed.

And so ends this adventure.

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