– London, England –
We got to run again today. I’m so easy to please. I think that makes Mark really happy. Who doesn’t want a wife that’s easy to please, right? Just a little exercise and I’m happy as a clam. I almost used “pig in mud,” but it sounded a little southern. I guess I’ve outted myself by mentioning it anyway, right?
Today was Mark’s last day of work while we are on our trip, so I was on my own again. Once we’d finished running and showered, we wandered down to breakfast. It was early enough that many of the tables were even empty. Yesterday, by the end of our breakfast, people were being forced to share with strangers. I’m glad I missed out on that. I had told Mark I couldn’t face another English breakfast, but at the last minute I ordered it anyway. It feels so strange trying to eat baked beans before 9 in the morning.
After Mark left for his meetings, I wrote yesterday’s blog post. That was my last chance to have a free morning to waste writing the blog, so I’m writing this one on Tuesday night, as I should be. The rest of them should be written on the day they occur as well, as they are on normal trips (unless I get behind, which I sometimes do).
With that all done, I left for lunch just after noon and walked down the street to Pret once again for a quick sandwich and chips. I did better yesterday with my egg salad sandwich, I think. Today’s was not as good. I’m not sure if we will have Pret again or not. We leave London tomorrow morning, and I’m not sure how prolific they are outside the city. I guess time will tell.
In any event, I made my way over to the British Museum to have a look around once I’d finished eating. Like yesterday’s museum, most of the British Museum is free. From what I understand, most of the public museums in London are totally free, save for the price of admission for special shows. The British Museum styles itself as a collection of works on human history, art and culture.
What that means, it seems, is that they collect any and all sorts of historical objects, from ancient swords to early jewelry and drawings. Most of the museum’s items are quite old, but I did see a few objects from as recently as this year. In particular, I saw several hand-painted porcelain bowls in the Japan exhibits that were created especially for the museum in the last year.
They had one special show going on at the moment: Sunken Cities: Egypt’s Lost Worlds. The next show is South Africa: the Art of a Nation, which starts in October. I also saw signs for an upcoming Celtic show, but it wasn’t clear when that one would occur. Many of the items from the Europe and England collections had been pulled to be displayed in that show. The cabinets were a bit bare, honestly. I would have seen the Sunken Cities exhibit, but it cost money, and my mother raised me to be a penny pincher, so they will have to make do with the £2 I donated for the map.
I honestly did not even see half of the museum, though I was there for almost 3 hours. It’s quite a lot to take in. I started with Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. The Egypt exhibits are filled with mummies and such. Did you know that at one point in the Victorian Era, mummy unwrapping parties were supposedly all the rage? It’s unclear whether those actually happened, but what is clear is that the world went through a period of Egyptomania, which you can read about on the British Museum’s blog here.
For me personally, a lot of that stuff in really interesting for the way it is entangled with each culture’s mythology. The most famous book written on the subject of mythology, I think, is by Edith Hamilton. It’s quite an old book, as it was published in 1942, but it is well worth the read. It only covers Greek, Roman, and Norse mythology, however, so if you’re more interested in something like Egyptian or Celtic mythology, you’ll have to pick up something else. It’s all moderately fascinating.
Many of the objects in the museum were originally created for some religious purpose. The ushabti in the photograph up near the top were gifts left with Egyptian burials that “were intended to act as servants or minions for the deceased.” Many of the statuary reflect religious personages, or were made in sacrifice to them.
Not everything relates to religion, of course. Coins, jewelry, clothing, swords, and pottery also fill the museum, and most of those things are completely separate from the culture’s religion, though a few overlap. The Museum is quite large, and it was filled with people. It was hard to take decent photos because every time you stepped back to frame your shot, someone stepped in front of the camera.
When I was too tired to go on, I left the museum and made my way back to the hotel. The walk took about half an hour, which isn’t bad at all. I had not been back for even twenty minutes when Mark came in. His meeting ended at 4, which I had forgotten that he mentioned. I was expecting him at 5. It’s a good thing I got tired when I did, otherwise he would’ve had to wait outside until I got back, since I had the only key.
We sat around in our hotel room for a while, since I still needed a rest from my busy afternoon. Eventually, we went back out for dinner. We’d intended to get ramen at a local Japanese restaurant, but we ended up with sushi instead, since it was really warm in the restaurant. Once I’d cooled off, I regretted my decision to get sushi instead of noodles, but it was too late.
The sushi itself was quite good, though I did not enjoy the fake “duck” pancake rolls that we picked as an appetizer. The fake meat was a little weird-tasting. Mark didn’t mind it as much. We both enjoyed our meal otherwise, however. The biggest problem with sushi is that it never seems to stick with you, so after we’d wandered around town for another hour taking pictures, we were getting a little hungry again.
Our hunger inspired us to find dessert, so we wandered around King’s Cross in search of cupcakes. We were briefly turned around inside the maze of shops and restaurants beneath the train tracks, but we eventually sorted it out and found what we were looking for. The selection was a little lame, but we made do. We also purchased a small carton of milk from a little convenience store.
Dessert in hand, we made our way out of the train station with only a few more stops for photographs. From there, it did not take us long to get back to our hotel.
Once we were back here, we dined on passable cupcakes and ultra-pasteurized milk. If you’ve ever had shelf-stable milk, you know what I’m talking about. It isn’t bad, exactly, but if you aren’t used to it, it tastes odd. It has a strangely flat flavor, like a soda that’s gone off. I really don’t mind it, but when I describe it, the stuff sounds terrible. Mark and I actually buy it for trips, so it doesn’t have to stay in the cooler before you open it. We try to keep it around the house, too, for baking emergencies, but sometimes we forget to replenish after we’ve used one.
Tomorrow morning we will get up early and pack up our stuff. We pick up our rental car nearby at 9am. Mark keeps talking about the car and how nervous he is, which is making me anxious. The opposite side of the road thing is hard enough, but he rented a manual, since the cost was several hundred dollars less than an automatic. I imagine the first hour or two will be eventful, to say the least.
If I’m still alive by tomorrow evening, I’ll update you on his progress.
– Trip Total : 4,801 miles –