My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

Beth Kaplan logo

On to Firenze

Last half day in London – another beautiful blue sky. The behemoth is packed and ready to go; I can leave my stuff in the lounge here for the morning while I go back to the British Museum and for a last wander before hauling myself to Gatwick and on to Florence. Now that will be a shift – Italy! Looking forward to seeing dear Bruce, who has been there for nearly a month already.

Went yesterday afternoon to the National Gallery to see the exhibition ‘Inventing Impressionism,’ about the art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel, who discovered and championed the reviled early Impressionist painters, bought and sold their work and helped them stay alive. An art history hero, and a beautiful exhibition full of treasure.

And last night I went to the play Oppenheimer, an RSC production in the West End. At least, I went to the first half, as is my wont, a long first half too. It’s a biographical exploration of a complex man and a complex subject, the discovery of the power of atom-splitting leading to the atomic bomb, and Oppenheimer himself, his life and loves, his left-wing beliefs tossed out as he works to develop his Fat Man bomb. They did a very good job of attempting to make physics generally, and nuclear fission specifically, understandable to a theatre audience, though I remained mystified. There was an awful lot of life and science jammed in – perhaps too much. But also I was tired after a long day and a matinee, so was glad to see a goodly chunk and walk back to my peaceful room.

There seems to be no part of central London that’s not jammed with people, especially in the evenings, huge merry crowds outside every pub smoking and drinking. So very different than Paris. Friend Richard wrote this morning:
London is so dynamic and exciting. And Paris is not. It is beautiful, aesthetically pleasing and you can count on it but it lacks for something. I think it is the freedom that comes from the freedom of speech and ideas that flows so freely and is unregulated in London. There is a lot to consider in a comparison of the two and the national characteristics which produces these two capitals not that far apart. Perhaps France is just a little too Socialiste je pense? The legal system, the regulated language, the unions, the right way of doing everything? The planning. In any case good that we have both to choose from.

I agree – the anarchy here, the vital frantic mix of this mad city, is exhilarating. But also tiring. Onward.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.


Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.


I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.


Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.


Juliet in Paris, Spain and Beyond
Juliet is a Canadian who’s lived for decades in Paris and writes about her travels and the many things that interest her.