What we thought was our last full day was dedicated to a visit back to the National Gallery to see, in particular, Leonardo’s Virgin of the Rocks that so captivated me on our previous visit in 2011. We did see that, but I now have a new favourite – Pietro Perugino’s Virgin and Child with Angel. This was a triptych with St Michael in the first panel, the virgin in the middle, and archangel Raphael on the right. We were delighted to be able to buy on-demand prints of each of the two right-hand panels in the gallery shop, produced by a massive HP printer.
My enthusiasm for images of Virgin and Child continues. The NG is full of them – they must easily have a hundred of them there. It’s understandable I think because artists deliberately tried to make them beautiful. Another artist whose version of this image appealed to us was Andrea del Verrochio.
This morning at breakfast, we were asked if we had seen the Trooping of the Colour. We were disappointed that we had missed this event. However, today we had a sort of consolation prize. On exiting the NG we were confronted with a Hare Krishna procession in full swing right outside in Trafalgar Square. It consisted of people dancing in the street and pulling by hands on rope three floats that were then positioned right outside the NG entrance steps on Trafalgar Square. It looked like they were dishing out free lunches too, but we’d already had a very nice lunch in the NG café. The beer I had there really impressed me, considering it was in a bottle.
Admiralty Arch at the top of The Mall off Trafalgar Square
We skirted around this celebration and made our way via Whitehall to the Parliament buildings, crossing the Westminster Bridge to walk along the south embankment to the Jubilee Bridge and back to Westminster station for our return home. The city was full of people today, but then it was Sunday, so a lot of families out and about. We continue to be amazed by the sheer diversity of people in this city.
There was a bit of drama on this trip. We had changed lines at Green Park and Oxford Circus, but were told at Marble Arch that the train was terminating there, due to “emergency trackwork”. A likely story – probably another jumper according to Joan. As a consequence we had to walk about a mile back to our hotel.