Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wednesday, August 29th, London


When we left the hotel this morning, we were going to take the tube downtown (it takes about an hour to get there), meander on one of Rick Steeves' walking tours, have lunch somewhere, and then plan something for the afternoon.  We had ruled out the British Museum and the Kew Gardens, because we knew we probably would need a full ay or two at the first, and a full day to get to and enjoy the Kew Gardens.

The morning went perfectly, and our walk took us passed the theater district.  At lunch, we decided to get tickets for tonight's Julius Caesar at the Noel Coward Theater.  Since we didn't really want to go back to the hotel before the show, we had committed to the afternoon and early evening in town.  So we thought thought that we'd do maybe a wing at the British Museum.

Realize that Pat had been to the Museum 39 years ago, on her way back from New Zealand.  She remembered it as huge.  I've never been there, but have heard it brought up every time we go anywhere.  It's a sort of similar refrain to when we used to show up at a surf spot, and the waves weren't great (You should have been here yesterday!).  The locals at great ruins always would say "It's okay, but the really great stuff was taken back to the British Museum".  So I figured I'd better allow plenty of time to get really dazzled.

Not so.  Oh there's some great stuff in there.  The Rosetta Stone, some stella from the Mayan site Yachitlan showing blood letting by the wife of Bird Jaguar, and some winged lions from Assyria.  But we've been to most of the places displayed, and each place has much less stuff displayed than can be seen on site.   A lot less stuff.  We were done in about three hours.

I guess I can let the British off the hook for stealing as much as I imagined.  Now, the Germans on the other hand.  I'm still itching to get to the Berlin Museum.  What we did see, however, was plenty of materials from site in Iraq and Iran.  Boy, do I hope that travel to those sites becomes easier soon.

So at 4:30pm, we started looking for ways to kill about three hours.  We were near some movie theaters, and we checked out if any of them were showing movies we could see.  All of them were very long movies, and wouldn't have allowed much dinner.  So we walked to the National Gallery, and used their computer monitors to learn about quite a few pieces of their art.  I wish the database they have in their computer center were online, I'd spend even more time on it.  The center closed at 6pm, so we found a small restaurant (Kosovoan) near the stage door, and had gnocchi and salmon.

The play was excellent (more cool lines than I remembered), though the seats need some new pads.   we got home at midnight, and I'm finishing this shortly before 1pm.  We still have the Kew Gardens, and are now thinking of going to Cambridge and some other outlying areas by the underground.  There's still a couple of collections at the British Museum to see, but this opens up our options to look for other attractions.

Here is a link to the photos taken today: Wednesday, August 29th, London


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