London

My typical Monday morning has been abruptly put on hold. It turned out that my photo in my Russian passport was outdated, and I was to travel to London with my family. What a nice surprise, I thought, until I found out that I had to wake up at 6:00. Too early for me. I crave sleep. Went by train; problems with car parks in London.

The minute I walked into the building, through the security gates, I felt at home. The atmosphere was of the Russian culture; I crossed both political and cultural borders. I was on Russian land. A very interesting feeling. The ceremony of taking photographs at the Russian embassy lasted, to my great surprise, only 30 minutes. And the staff were very nice, talking in a Russian way, this monotonous, straightforward conversation, which you only get to experience among the Russian peoples.
Time. We had a lot of time on our hands, which meant that I had a whole day to spend out and about in London, sightseeing, enjoying the views, as the tickets my mother bought in advance allowed us to travel back home only at a certain time, it being 16:30. Six hours of near-freedom. Nice.

Had an enjoyable, exhausting walk through Hyde Park, after which we decided to go to a restaurant. My appetite was that I could eat a horse, a pleasure I seldom enjoy.
Strada, the restaurant we finally found, after losing hope of finding our favourite Pizza Hut. Hehe, I thought this was London. Last time I’ve been here, Pizza Huts were on every corner of every street I passed. Oh yes, that was near the Oxford Circus station. This was near Trafalgar Square. Which leads me to think of the visit to National Gallery I so much enjoyed. Originals by Rembrandt (such as Belshazzar’s Feast and his self-portrait at 34), and other paintings by other artists, whose names I have forgot. However, I especially liked one painting depicting Christ, standing next to a high-priest, who is accusing Him of wrong-doing ("work" on Saturdays). His eternal sympathy toward the petty, delusioned man, all expressed through the work of the artist (again, I forgot all their names, plus the National Gallery website seems to be down). Absolutely amazing. Personally, this stands to be one of my favourite paintings in the gallery.

In contrast, there were dozens of other biblical paintings, most of them depicting Christ, but with a very different spiritual approach, it being very dark, forced frowns and sadness in the eyes of the holy. Common of catholics (I trust my father on this). A good example would be The Lamentation of Christ, and The Crucifixion. If you study these paintings, you might notice that the faces depicted are very dismal and gloomy. Horrific.

The National Gallery was fascinating...

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