Saturday, October 29, 2016

London and Manchester

Late July of 2016 I traveled to Manchester's Seventh Urban Sketchers symposium to reconnect with some of my favorite artists from around the world, sketch from morning till dawn, and present a couple of lectures on my favorite subject of Travel Sketching.  

 Piccadilly circus (London) energy is undeniable as the light of giant neon displays around the square gets reflected on the classical fa├žades, double-decker buses, and amazed faces

Manchester is a historically industrial city that is majestically dressed in brick and blanketed in moody lilac skies. It undeniably evokes the spirit of industrial revolution in Europe, although the modern city masterfully combines the old and the new.  

I stayed in the Gay village on Bloom street which meant that my jet lag was nursed by the sounds of the restless partiers on the nighty basis. Here is a sketch of the corner across from my apartment with the street cleaners scrubbing the street after another wild party evening.

Lancaster house dominates the downtown skyline. Formally a packing and shipping warehouse it currently appears to serve as a luxury apartment building.

"Drink and Draw" is one of the oldest standing traditions at the Urban sketchers symposiums. I am always amazed and amused  to have a place completely inundated by people feverishly drawing together and such was the daily experience at the classic, brightly colored British pub Peveril of the Peak.  

A swarm of sketchers in front of the brightly colored pub called The Peveril of the Peak during the last Urban sketchers symposium in Manchester.

Another lovely tradition is going out for dinners with a large group of sketchers.   This time we picked Tiffan–an Indian restaurant as our home base and ended up going there for three nights in a row. By the end of the symposium our waiter already knew what we were planing to order. As usual I was hanging out with the group of Portuguese and Spanish speaking sketchers–all of whom are incredibly talented and sweet. 

The majestic John Rylands library in Manchester
The three days of the symposium always fly by way too quickly. Fortunately, the trip was still not over and I had a few days in my favorite London ahead of me. 

London skyline sketched from the Tower Bridge
I met up with my old friend Isabelle Perez, and together we explored and enjoyed London. I took Isabelle out for some Pho–British style, a serving of which almost made her small French stomach explode.

My friend Isabelle having trouble with her Pho

Approaching Big Ben and the Parliament we witnessed the Afrikan Reparations march. 

Wet and cold London weather pushes us indoors. Fortunately there is no shortage of museums with free entrance.  First we duck into Victoria and Albert Museum and then pay a visit to the Natural history museum, which not only boasts an amazing collection but is also housed in an impressive space.

Samurai at the Victoria and Albert Museum 

Natural History museum with the giant dinosaur in the middle

Late night drinks and laughs with one of my favorite people in the world at this bohemian London bar in Shoreditch.

The visit to England would not be complete without the pompous affair of the afternoon tea.

High tea at Fortnum and Mason

High tea at Fortnum and Mason

Verge Bar where no hipsters are allowed

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