Tuesday, 15 September 2009

In the blink of an eye

London is blessed with a plethora of museums and art galleries. From old operating equipment and pickled specimens to canal boats and giant cracks in the floor classed as “modern art”, it’s a paradise for anyone who is into antiquity, culture and the downright weird.

Now I don’t know about you, but I can only hack a museum or art gallery for a maximum of about two hours. After that my feet are sore, my posture goes and everything I’ve read is starting to evaporate into the ether. And this after only venturing into one corner of the museum – there’s still three floors to go.

So it comes down to a choice – do I give up and go home or do I rest my feet and partake in a cup of overpriced coffee?

Ah ha and there’s the catch. So much for a free outing in London. Those wily marketing managers have caught on to something here – let’s provide for our tired and thirsty punters who have completed a two-hour museum stint. Their eyesight is fuzzy from the exhibit’s small print and blood sugar levels are running low – oh gee wiz how convenient that the museum comes with its own cafeteria. And with a £5 price tag for a cup of coffee, this is the perfect scam (well I suppose someone has to pay the cleaner).

So how do you get around all this and avoid the pricey afternoon snack?

Simple answer – speed walk.

It comes highly recommended if you are a time-is-of-the-essence type person.

For myself, I can successfully say I have “done” the V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum to those not familiar with London). Yep, two hours in and out – walked past practically every exhibit (the iron gatepost exhibit twice) and had time to queue for the ladies.

The trick is to speed walk – as in don’t stop walking. None of this dawdling, taking your time. I’m talking brisk striding here. You’ve come to the museum for a purpose and that is to walk every floor, every section, in as little time as possible.

Sure there is no time to contemplate the massive beauty of the Egyptian sculptures or read the fine print in the rug section, but seriously it would just go in one ear and out the other anyway.

And ok I admit, you might look like one of those fun-fair mechanical clown faces that rhythmically move their heads from side to side, but this is London. There is always too much to see and not enough time to do it in.

Speed walking, my friend, is the way of the future.