Day 4: Shakespeare’s Globe, Tea at the Swan, the Tate Modern, the British Museum and Piccadilly Circus
The double-decker bus, another iconic London sight.
It was finally time to discover the (rebuilt) hangout of the Bard himself. William Shakespeare’s mother Mary was the sister of my 12th great-grandmother Margaret, we respectfully call him “Cousin Will.”
There are multiple bridges that will take you across the Thames to the South Bank, home of Globe Theater. Being Harry Potter fans, we opted for the Millennium Bridge that the Death Eaters destroyed in The Half Blood Prince.
A tour at the Globe Theater shared information about the genius of Shakespeare, the crustiness of the gallery and that most of what the actors produced was improv. With only a very short time to practice, much of what occurred onstage was created as the play progressed. Performances were held in the afternoon due to the absence of artificial lighting. The poorer people paid one coin and were allowed to stand in the pit near the stage. Wealthier patrons had boxes or were seated above the stage with the musicians.
Rebuilding the modern Globe was a project initiated by American director Sam Wannamaker. The theater is so popular that when I tried to order tickets 2 months in advance, every show was sold out. But we drowned our sorrows in a delicious (herb) tea at the Swan Restaurant next door, more on that in a minute.
An exhibit of stage props at the Globe. I think the head on the shelf was Macbeth.
A model of the Globe Theater. Because the Puritans of England circa 1600 A.D. were influential and didn’t like theater, especially that young boys played the roles of women (theater was not considered an appropriate occupation for women), it was outlawed in London. The venues were built across the river; it is ironic that both Queen Elizabeth and King James enjoyed the entertainment so much, they had Shakespeare’s troupe perform at their castles and friends’ manors.
The musicians were seated above the rear exit of the stage by the ladder. These were also high-priced seats for patrons that wanted to be seen by the crowds.
And now it was time for afternoon tea. The Swan restaurant is adjacent to the Globe. We were seated by a bank of windows that overlooked the Thames.
Anyone who knows Newell also knows that he is very careful with his money. I wanted to have an authentic English tea and talked him into taking us there for an early anniversary gift. The china and menu are decorated with characters from a Midsummer Night’s Dream.
The guys’ meals were served on wooden chopping blocks. Mine was on a tiered tray.
A link to the tea: https://www.swanlondon.co.uk/afternoon-tea/
Did I mention clotted cream? Oh goodness, this is something we need in America. We all agreed that tea at the Swan was one of the most pleasant experiences we had in London, I highly recommend this restaurant. Be sure to make reservations in advance and request a table by the window.
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM AFTERNOON TEA
Wild mushroom & leek quiche
Wiltshire ham, grain mustard, pea shoots
Oak smoked salmon, lemon pepper butter, dark rye
Clarence Court egg mayonnaise & watercress
Rose infused raspberry mousse & lemon cake
Elderflower & violet macaroons
Glazed white chocolate blondie, coco nibs
Blackberry compote & lavender cream
Mulberry scones & plain scones served with
clotted cream and seasonal berry jam
GENTLEMAN’S AFTERNOON TEA
Your choice of tea
4oz Shorthorn beef slider
Blue cheese & cider scones
Legbar Scotch egg
Fish finger sandwich
Potted smoked salmon
We selected 2 herb teas: Citrus Chamomile and Lemon Verbena, they were served with rustic lumps of brown and white sugar. Not being a tea aficionado it was all so new, charming and delicious. After this feast we will need to do some serious walking, the Tate Modern and the British Museum are our next destinations.
That and a quick trip to the Globe gift shop to pick up some gifts for the grandchildren. Warning: You can spend a lot of time and money is this quirky establishment. We jokingly say that we dropped a lot of pounds in London (and didn’t lose any weight…)
From Macbeth who killed one of my ancestors, Duncan, King of Scotland around 1000 A.D., not that I’m bitter at all…
The Tate Modern is adjacent to the Globe complex on Bankside south of the Thames.
Notice the Millennium Bridge, the Globe is to the left. As an artist I try to visit different styles and genres of art. Contemporary art is not my favorite, but I think it is important to see what is being made and discussed currently.
At the Tate there were “Black Power” exhibits; interestingly, one of the champions of the American Civil Rights movements was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., named by his father for the great German Reformer Martin Luther. The 500th anniversary of Luther’s translation of the Bible into German and act of defiance against the Catholic Church in posting 95 thesis identifying areas of conflict with the scriptures would be commemorated in Germany in a few days.