So today I'm going to talk about something I haven't mentioned in a while: my social life. Calm yourselves please, I know I don't go out much like other people my age but I still do have some form of a social life. Now that you've gotten over your initial shock, this post is about my trip to the V&A last week.
I think a good place to start with this post is talking about how I actually got there, don't you think? Aren't you all curious about how visually impaired people travel in a big city like London? Well, there's quite a bit of equipment out there that we use and thanks to the age of smartphones there are some helpful apps out there too!
Here's a list of some that might be of use to you sighted people and to those of you with sight-loss:
Tube Mapp- it's an app that let's you see the London tube map on your phone. You can zoom in, see what all the coloured lines mean and the station names. It'll help you see where you are and what lines you can take at different stations. Also you don't need WI-FI or data or 3G to use it once it's been downloaded.
TFL can also send you an audio tube map and enlarged tube map in the post for free if you want (click here to find out more).
Bus Countdown- download this if you ever use the bus. You can use it to find out what time buses come to any bus stops near your house. It'll help you decide what time to leave, so you don't end up missing the bus or waiting a long time for the next one.
Google Maps- this will help you plan a journey in advance or on the go. You just type in the place you want to go to and it'll give you some directions and ideas of what the place looks like. Also you can use the navigation to direct you where to go- I think you can use that for walking too.
These are all the ones I use. Also I've heard there's an app called City Mapper that tells you every detail of a journey like where to get off, how many stops left etc. I've never used it but it might be useful for some of you?
In terms of what I used to get to the Victoria and Albert Museum: firstly I used Google maps to figure out where it was and the nearest station (South Kensington). Then I used my Tube Mapp app to see what train lines I'd take and an alternative route if something went wrong. On the actual day I walked to the station and got on the trains I needed to get on and made it to the museum safe and sound. Oh, I also underestimated how long it would take me to walk to the station and asked someone for directions once leaving South Kensington Station to make sure I was going the right way; so what I'm saying is I made it to my destination but was a little late. Also I took my freedom pass, wallet, binoculars, phone charger and my cane.
Once I crossed the busy main road crossing, I was reunited with my friend- we hugged and did all the getting through security and catching up stuff blah blah- you probably don't care about that so I'll move on to what we saw at the V&A.
At first we mainly took some pictures of some of the things on display. Without further ado here is a slide show of all the pictures I took:
A look at Japan:
So for those of you that know me, you'll know that I like Japanese things: Anime, Manga, Sushi, I've seen a few Japanese films and want to go to Japan by myself with some friends one day. Anyway I think you get the idea, since I have such an interest in Japan I couldn't pass up an opportunity to go to the Japanese section at the V & A now could I? Nope. In this section you get to see Kimons, aspects of both the old and modern Japan. From the slide show above you should be able to see some of the modern Japanese things like technology and clothes as well as the Old Japan.
There's a lot more than what's in this video, but if I filmed everything I would have never left and explored elsewhere.
Next up we just walked aimlessly around the museum. We saw some statues, a place with wooden stairs, and big pillars. From the first video down below you'll get to see a big room with lots of paintings. It was quite dark in there for me, but I took a video of the balconies which I thought was pretty.
From the second video down below you'll see the things I could see from the bridge as I walked and also glimpses of different exhibitions.
In this section we got to see some plates and other display items from Muslim countries like Syria. You can see some pictures of these in my slide show above. The Islamic art was quite beautiful. Also in the video below you'll see some rugs that were also on display.
I suppose you can tell by now there is a lot to see at the Victoria and Albert Museum and all the items on display had quite a lot of detail put into them. Below you should be able to see a video of a section with books and statues as well as blue plates on the ceiling.
Now you should be able to see a video of a section with different types of railings. Plus a section with gold architecture.
Last but not least I'd like to end this part of the blog by mentioning how, as someone who is visually impaired I was pleased to see that there were displays books with large print font explaining the history of some of the items. Also on some of the stands the information was written in braille, which I thought would be handy for those of you that can read braille. Personally, I never learnt how to read braille but I think it's really cool how some visually impaired people can read with their hands.
Below you should be able to see a video where I talk about this. Also just as a heads up for anyone who can't see at the start of the video I'm referring to an owl statue, which I think looks like Hedwig from Harry Potter.
After that we then had lunch at a Lebanese restaurant, ice cream at Snow Flake Gelato and walked around Oxford Street for a bit. I've lived in London my whole life but have never been there myself. We walked into the huge Primark there and I got a glimpse of Harrods and saw Selfridges from across the road as we walked. We didn't go into Harrods, though, because it's a "posh" shop and it was raining at the time and I was wearing my black rain coat with swans on it; so according to my friend if we had gone in we would've looked like "peasants". Now, I don't usually care about what people think of me, maybe because I can't tell if I'm being stared at but my friend can and what kind of friend would I have been if I had put her in a situation that made her uncomfortable? So I decided to end the discussion there and continue looking around. As for Selfridges, we did a lot of walking that day and my feet hurt so I didn't feel like walking into such a big store at that moment.
That's all I've got to say about my day out. I hope you enjoyed this blog post!