#WOMBATSDOAMERICA Day 16
Blogging our recent US trip day by day, four weeks after the event.
Wednesday 20th August – Cleveland
We were up early, ignoring the lying clock, and out quickly. Breakfast was at six, but we really didn’t have time as we managed to cadge a ride to the airport in an old lady’s cab that was just leaving, and it seemed safer to just get there than to trust that the car we’d asked for would actually arrive Mary grabbed a banana, lucky lady.
The flight to Cleveland went normally, which was turning out to be unusual for us. Cleveland was our eighth airport in two weeks – Manchester, Amsterdam, Detroit, Erie, Buffalo, Minneapolis, Sioux Falls and now Cleveland. Our list of unusual flying events that “almost never happen” was also quite long now –
- An “Is there a doctor on board?” call.
- Security cock-ups with the TSA not having the right forms available.
- Flight cancelled requiring departure from a different airport the next day.
- Flight turning around mid-air due to a technical fault.
- A missed connection due to storms.
- An overnight stay in a hotel.
- Flying TO a different destination due to cancellation.
The news that morning had been of a volcano in Iceland that was threatening to erupt. The last time that happened it had played havoc with flights. That would be all that we needed to complete the set.
As we stepped outside at Cleveland into hot sunshine (Door 1, fact fans) Tom and Kim drove up, arriving exactly on time rather like Janine and Barry had at Sioux Falls. We drove into the city and spent the day at the remarkable Cleveland Museum of Art.
The place is deceptively vast, with an impressive central courtyard roofed in glass. We meandered for hours, finding hundreds of works of art of endless variety to admire. Near the entrance, though, was an extraordinary interactive wall of art. A packed grid of pictures of works floated around. Each picture could be touched to reveal a larger image, information about the piece, and its location in the museum.
Close by there were other large screens on which the visitor could experiment, or play games. I had a go at something called ‘Embody Art’, where the idea was to copy the pose of a work of art. I tried to emulate ‘Angel’ (1583–1584 by Annibale Fontana). Apparently the angelʼs extended arm would once have held a trumpet. Her movement mirrors the blast of sound from the instrument. I’d have done better if I’d known that before making a wazzock of myself.
Tom and Mary declared that they were hungry and, the cafe looking ridiculously expensive, we wandered outside to find somewhere to eat. We ended up across the grassy square outside at the Botanical Gardens, where the food was excellent and much cheaper than at the Museum of Art AND there was an exhibit of Lego. Mary only managed half her sandwich, though. She put the rest in her bag to take home and put in Kim’s fridge where, for all we know, it remains to this day. Strolling back over to the museum we spotted a red cardinal atop a nearby tree, singing for all it was worth. A beautiful bird.
The museum was superb. Even Tom seemed to really enjoy it after being sceptical at first. The exhibits that really spoke to me were those where the artist had given the subject genuine expression, where they looked real rather than idealised. For instance Valentin’s ‘Samson’, Rubens’ ‘Portrait of Isabella Brant’ or David’s ‘Cupid and Psyche’. ‘Fifth Avenue Nocturne’ by Hassam was one American painting I loved. Other beautiful items that I coveted were a two-handed sword from 16th century Germany, an Italian table depicting Chronos and an ivory sculpture portraying ‘Christ’s Descent from the Cross’, an eight-figure group carved from a single elephant’s tusk. Poor elephant, yes, but what an intricate, impressive work of art.
Thoroughly exhausted, back we went to Erie where Kim and Tom fed us on many snacks. Mary and I particularly loved Kim’s Brie thingy. We got to say hello to Monnie once more, which was nice. We watched several episodes of ‘Jeopardy’.
“A show with a sodding theme tune that won’t ever leave your head.”
“What is Jeopardy, Merv?”
After that, much packing against tomorrow’s flights home, volcano willing. I dearly hope that we can reach Amsterdam easily, see Yvonne, and return to Manchester without incident.