Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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London 3

666 words on

With my flight only departing at six in the afternoon, I still had a couple of hours to spend in London. As this coincided with Chiho's day off, we went to Tate Modern (again) to see the Max Beckmann exhibition they have. I couldn't get in there the other day as firstly their ticket computer had crashed and secondly the guy selling the tickets – reasonably – pointed out that having only the 45 minutes until closing I had back then wouldn't do the exhibition justice.

Thus, we went again and looked at the paintings and drawigs from the various stages of Beckmann's life, showing different styles. The style-changes were attributed mainly to the two World Wars by the guide leaflet we got. Other things to remark from my unknowledgeable position: Beckmann painted many scenes related to the circus or carnival, there frequently are fish in the paintings – according to one note symbolising both sex and the soul – and he seems to be fond of musical instruments. Many of the paintings have a dream-like character and some of the circus related paintings made me think of Kafka's short story Auf der Galerie which at school I once analysed using Freud's Interpretation of Dreams. It all fits together rather well.

After two hours flying by in the gallery we were already in a hurry not to be late to pick up Dave at work for his lunch break. Walking across the Millennium Bridge we managed to make it by foot with only a slight delay. Luckily there are signs pointing to the Bank of England('s museum). With it being a lovely day again, we picked up a couple of sandwiches and sat down on the lawn in a little park. Looking at the weather and the scenery you wouldn't have thought you're sitting in the middle of London – in March.

After this I had to rush to get back to Chiho and Dave's flat to pick up my bag and then head to Liverpool Street station to get the Stansted Express, which isn't quite as fast as the name suggests but at least sets you back another 13 quid. I found it quite ironic that the announcement on the train says Thank you for choosing Stansted Express considering there isn't really much to choose from. It doesn't in the German translation, though.

Luckily the lady at check-in didn't complain about my overweight (22kg) bag after the giving up of which I bought some extra magazines – Uncut for myself, Top Gear magazine for my brother – to make my rucksack nice and heavy (Powerbook, my paperwork, two magzines, three bottles of wine, money, passport, etc.).

It turned out that I couldn't really get Stephie a good deal on duty free cigarettes: The duty free price in the UK is the same as the normal price in Germany. Of course it's still way cheaper than buying them in Norway but this isn't quite the German duty free price we were aiming for and which I couldn't get as I wasn't leaving the EU when departing from Germany.

I have the impression that Ryanair tries to be particularly unfriendly in how they word the announcements when people don't turn up for boarding on time – making it very clear that the person is getting in the way of everybody else. Similarly, they were very explicit about not only saying that smoking is prohibited on the plain but also pointing out that offenders will be prosecuted. Seating in Ryanair seems the be even tighter spaced than in ordinary economy class but the seat next to me remained empty throughout the flight so I can't really complain.

Now I'm on the two hour bus journey from the airport to Oslo itself. Basically Ryanair giving a 'subtitle' for the airport usually means that the little cheap airport they use is nowhere near the stated main destination – cf. Frankfurt (Hahn), Hamburg (Lübeck) ...

March 19, 2003, 21:31

Tagged as country:uk, travel, UK.

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