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Notting Hill

Thanks to the movie, almost everybody has heard of Notting Hill. What I didn’t know before is that the only tourisy place there is the Portobello Market (the world’s largest antiques market?). Obviously this is the kind of place for Tyatt and Margaret. Me and Thomas were pretty much ready to go after an hour there. Not that we didn’t enjoy the time there; we just didn’t feel like buying anything there. Another thing is that I really looked forward to visit the Orangery at Kensington Palace. So we left Portobello Market around 11am, while the gals stayed there until noon.

The Orangery at Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace was the official residence of Princess Diana. There was some sort of exhibition going on in there, but we were certainly not prepared to pay 12GBP to go in. What I was prepared to do was to have lunch/afternoon tea at the Orangery there. Only now that I know orangery is a type of greenhouse, and the one there is indeed a nice greenhouse. I knew I want to visit there when I saw the pictures online. The food there (mostly light lunch and afternoon tea food) is not expensive at all. It is actually one of the cheapest place in London to have afternoon tea.

But instead, we went to one of the more expensive places for afternoon tea. Fortnum & Mason, tea shop turned deparment store, was not too expensive, compared to those fancy hotels. Good thing we had booked ahead of time, people without reservation were turned away, as it was fully booked the whole afternoon. That is where all four of us got back together. While me and Thomas were eating at the Orangery, Tyatt and Margaret visited another department store (Harrods) in the area. It was my first time ever having this kind of afternoon tea, and I guess it was not bad. Just don’t think I would do this often.

Afternoon Tea at Fortnum & Mason

China in London

After the tea (and a bit of shopping there), we split to different things; Tyatt and Margaret went for some more shopping, Thomas went back to hotel and took a nap, while I went to attain my goal in London.

That goal was to visit the Royal Academy of Arts for a special exhibition, China the Three Emperors. Ok, attaining my goal might be overstated a little, but I have this idea of visiting London ever since reading about the exhibition in the Economist. I even have a blog entry on this back in November. So it would be silly for me not to see the exhibition when I was actually in London. Too bad no one else had strong enough interest to go with me.

Some of the neat stuff I saw:

The Qianlong Emperor in Ceremonial Armour on Horseback, 1739 or 1758, by Giuseppe Castiglione (Chinese name Lang Shining, 16881766). Hanging scroll, ink and colour on silk. The Palace Museum, Beijing.

Mineral-blue cotton armour with silk lining decorated with a pattern of clouds and blue dragon, Kangxi period, seventeenth century. Blue-black cotton with embroidery, gilt bronze bosses and epaulettes bordered  with gilt dragon motifs inlaid with coral, agate and malachite. The Palace Museum, Beijing.

Springs Peaceful Message, c. 1736, by Giuseppe Castiglione (Chinese name Lang Shining, 16881766). Hanging scroll, ink and colour on silk. The Palace Museum, Beijing.

The Pine, Hawk and Glossy Ganoderma, 172335, by Lang Shining (Giuseppe Castiglione). Hanging scroll, colour on silk. The Palace Museum, Beijing.


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