England, part 6: Looking at London from the Tate Modern; Aren't birds brilliant!
I followed up the Tate Britain with a visit to the Tate Modern the next day. I loved the eclectic collection; I was particularly mesmerized by the room of portraits by mid-20th-century West African photographer Seydou Keïta, and by a room in which all four walls, from floor to 20-foot ceiling, were covered with original Soviet propaganda posters. And the Tate's worth visiting for the building alone, a former power station with a vast Turbine Hall at its centre and a 99-metre-tall chimney, from which you get the spectacular city view in the photo above.
The Thames Festival was on, and the riverfront was crowded with people. Directly in front of the gallery, a bandstand and outdoor dance floor had been set up, and a beginners' tango lesson was in progress. I snapped some photos from the chimney with my zoom lens.
In front of the gallery, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds had set up a booth & were explaining to people that a pair of peregrine falcons had built a nest way, way up in the chimney. There were binoculars at the booth through which you could look at the nest, though both of the falcons were off hunting when I was there. This was one of a series of RSPB events called "Aren't Birds Brilliant!" You really have to say that out loud with a British accent.
I walked to the British Museum after that; I've been before, and I got there only 30 minutes before it closed this time, but I love the British Museum and it was good to spend a little while poking about in the Enlightenment Gallery. There was a big exhibition on about the Emperor Hadrian, and it was "Roman Life" day at the museum; people dressed as centurions were wandering around having their photos taken with tourists.
Next: getting lost on Hampstead Heath.