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28 January 2013 @ 09:49 pm
Ted and I went to London last weekend to visit bryant and michele_bluewho were visiting. We flew in Saturday morning, and I had a Clever Plan, darnit. My clever plan was that I'd printed out instructions for the one-shot Tube trip to our hotel, because Ted gets notoriously stressy when he's in a new city and doesn't know exactly where he is or where he's going. Turns out that it's only the first time in a city that he's stressy, and this was his second time in London, so my clever plan was less necessary than I imagined. Good thing, too, because they were doing work on the Picadilly line and my best-laid plans etc etc etc. Ted said *I* seemed stressed over it, which wasn't exactly true. I was piqued. It had been a good plan!

So the first time Ted and I went to London together, we went in the back entrance of the British Museum. We didn't know we were going in the back. We spent about four hours there, tromping through exhibit after exhibit and growing more and more exhausted and never finding the Rosetta Stone. Finally, we went around a corner into yet another display of Egyptian artifacts, stared at it numbly, then turned around and worked our way back the way we'd come, too tired to go any farther.

Turns out that last display room was in fact basically the first room if you come in the front door, and we had been within a hundred meters of the Rosetta Stone without ever knowing it.

This time, we went in the front door. Which we first stopped to admire:

The British Museum

It's a good front door. Imposing, and things. And then you walk inside to great and tremendous beauty, because the foyer area is stunning and airy and light, even on a dismay grey snowy day, and you are greeted by creatures like this:

British Museum Lion

It took us a remarkably long time to get past that fellow and into the first exhibition room, where we found what we sought:

The Rosetta Stone

It's not a great picture, but it's hard to get a good one, especially since there are constantly at least fifteen people jockeying for position in front of it. Many of them apparently didn't know what the Rosetta Stone was, which does my head in. But wow, the inscriptions are so tiny, so delicate. The craftsmanship blows my mind. And I kinda like that my reflection is faintly visible in the photo. :)

I took a lot of pictures. Most of them weren't very good, but a few were good enough or of subject matter I liked enough to post anyway:

Horus   British Museum statue

The Infamous Crystal Skull   Easter Island head

I think we spent a couple hours there without going past the exhibitions off the main foyer. Most astonishingly, that wasn't even too bad, because that stuff alone was just wonderful. Then we took ourselves back to the hotel room, where I--being made of stern stuff, you understand--took a nap until I had to get up to go to dinner.

Which was at a Moroccan restaurant called Souk Medina, and which was very, very good (aside from the fact that our host spoke directly to Ted every time he approached us, rather than to both of us or to me. He did, however, at least respond to me when I spoke to him). We ordered the non-vegetarian appetizer and two mains, but the host pursed his lips and said, "I will put the order for the mains in after you have had your appetizer," and we were all like "ooh la la!" but he was right. *laughs* We ended up sharing a main between us, and that was quite sufficient. And left us room for dessert, which was worth having.

Then we went to see Phantom! I've seen it before (possibly as many as five times, if you count the 1925 and 2004 films), but Ted hadn't (at least not on stage), and we got quite terrific seats, 10th row stalls. Slightly too far to house left; some of the view was blocked, but very little, so we were quite happy. And knowing Ted, I caught some of his reactions and could tell exactly what had triggered them (he was Displeased with the cacophany of "Prima Donna", for example, and startled out of his skin a couple of times in the sewers scenes). He preferred the ambiguity of the Phantom's character and story in the 2004 film, but vastly preferred the staged version of Raul. So it was a good production, and to my relief, the audience didn't feel compelled to offer a standing ovation, which they often do even if I don't think it's worth it. I'm glad we went to see it.

And now it's past my bedtime so I'll write more about Sunday in London later. :)
aberwyn on January 28th, 2013 09:57 pm (UTC)
The British Museum is one of the my favorite places ever. Another is the Victoria and Albert Museum in Kensington. Have you see that one? Or I should say, have you seen part of it, because all of it is rather large . . . :-)
kitmizkit on January 28th, 2013 09:58 pm (UTC)
I haven't even seen part of it! I've seen part of the Natural History Museum, which I love, and next time we go to London we're going to a DIFFERENT museum, having done the British Museum twice now. :)
mevennenmevennen on January 28th, 2013 09:58 pm (UTC)
The BM is amazing! Sounds like a great trip.
Alix (Tersa): Arnold--contemplative (tersa)tersa on January 28th, 2013 10:03 pm (UTC)
(All about ME time!)

Your foiled plan and First British Museum story reminds me of the time I went there: I very carefully researched the best way to get there from where I was staying out in the sticks (but on British Rail), including the closest Tube station, which seemed to be a hefty walk still. I hefted and walked and puffed and chuffed (and stopped at a McDonald's along the way for chicken nuggets, because I needed lunch), got there, saw my thing, then decided to follow the signs pointing to the nearest Tube stop to get back...

...to discover it was a mere few blocks away.

I don't know /how/ I got so confused looking at the map, but man, I felt dumb after that.

(And isn't 221B Baker Street near there? I seem to recall seeing signs for it on the way back to the Tube.)
The Bellinghmanbellinghman on January 28th, 2013 10:54 pm (UTC)
Baker Street is just under two miles from the British Museum. Not close but walkable, though most locals will take the bus or the tube as being somewhat quicker and easier.
kitmizkit on January 29th, 2013 09:17 am (UTC)
We think something similar happened to us, causing us to go in the back door instead of the front. :)
irishkateirishkate on January 28th, 2013 10:22 pm (UTC)
I got a whistle stop tour of the British museum a couple of years ago - it's quite the place. I really must go back. Glad you had a good time.. especially with the not getting lost part of some big city holidays...
The Bellinghmanbellinghman on January 28th, 2013 10:50 pm (UTC)
So, how has the camera been so far?
kitmizkit on January 29th, 2013 09:18 am (UTC)
Irritatingly complicated. I feel like I require lessons in navigating it properly.
The Green Knight: Snowgreen_knight on January 28th, 2013 11:53 pm (UTC)
I am so glad you had a good time - the snow chaos forecasts had made me rather nervous. (A whole inch of snow! Airports closed! Roads in chaos!)
-peartreealley on January 29th, 2013 12:29 am (UTC)
What a fun trip!

I loved the tube in London. I'm very stressy in new cities, especially if I don't know my way around (Tokyo was pretty nerve-wracking at first), but once I realized that all I needed to do was return to Shepherd's Bush station to get back to my hotel (and that wasn't complicated at all), all of London was mine to behold.
Deborah Blakedeborahblakehps on January 29th, 2013 02:59 am (UTC)
I hate it when a plan doesn't come together :-)

And just WOW for the rest of it. The museum looks amazing.
kitmizkit on January 29th, 2013 09:19 am (UTC)
You could go to London for a week and do nothing but visit the British Museum and not feel you'd wasted a minute of your time. :)
ex_rolanni on January 29th, 2013 02:10 pm (UTC)
That is possibly the most awesome lion ever.

One of the many things that I like about visiting Montreal is that the waiters address themselves to me. Possibly Steve has the air of a kept man...
Flitterbyflit on January 30th, 2013 06:52 pm (UTC)
Ooooh what a lovely trip!