07 August 2012

London Calling, part 2

Because of house selling last spring, followed by moving, followed by the insane amount of traveling in the week-plus before our trip to London, we didn’t really plan out a good itinerary for our visit in advance. When we arrived, the only thing on my list besides the wedding was the British Museum.

I showed you a view of the interior last week, but this is probably a more familiar view of the building:

And this is probably one of the most familiar items in the museum:

The Rosetta Stone! It was crazy busy with people surrounding it every time we walked by, so it was hard to see it, let alone get a good photo. Oh well. Still pretty incredible!

Also incredible was the head of Ramesses II:

Totally worthy of a famous poem, although I was partial to this other pharoah’s giant fist:

(That’s Mr. P making a “getting punched” face. I also took a photo of me fist-bumping the statue, but it came out blurry. Dangit.)

The British Museum also has a whoolllle bunch of mummies. Now, people have different feelings about mummies. Some think they’re scary. Some, like Mr. P who wandered over into a corner to examine “Ancient Egyptian Architecture” or something or other, think they’re creepy and maybe a little gross. I, however, belong to that group of people who finds them endlessly fascinating.

I took so, so many photos of the mummies, as well as those not-so-formally-mummied who were instead mummified by the earth. And I took photos of their skulls, and their organs, and.... well, just in case you’re more like Mr. P than me, this is the only other photo I’ll show you:

That’s a sarcophagus with the portrait of the individual on the lid. And I don’t know about you, but I think this may be the oldest painting I’ve ever seen. Isn’t it interesting to see a photo-realistic-ish painting of someone from millennia ago?

After the Egypt section, we headed to the Greek section to see parts of the Parthenon. It was only right, as former residents of Nashville with its replica Parthenon!

They have replicas of these in Nashville, so it was neat to see the real thing!

There was so much more we saw in the British Museum, and so much more we had left to see! But unfortunately, the lack of routine over the past few weeks kicked in right about that time with a yucky migraine. (I also blame the loud school groups.) So, we called it a day on the British Museum, having seen the things I’d most wanted to see.

But that’s not the last museum we attended, oh no. If you hadn’t figured it out from the Italian Adventure, Team P does a lot of walking and a lot of museums. We definitely continued that trend here considering that all of the major museums are free! Some charge admission for traveling exhibits, but the permanent collections are free at all of them. Yeah!

So, after all the history and art at the British Museum, we cleansed the palette with science and math at the Science Museum! Here’s Mr. P next to a pendulum that he was very excited about:

(No really, he made a youtube video of it swinging and everything. We’re made for each other!)

The Science Museum had a big exhibit on Alan Turing’s career, inventions, and life. Remember him? He’s the guy who cracked the code of the Enimga machines to help end WWII – these things:

He’s kind of a big deal.

Of course, Mr. P the computer scientist/mathematician/logician liked that stuff, but I was more pumped about the mini-exhibit showing how Turing suggested how developmental biology worked decades before it was figured out:

Back to math.

And science!

And taxidermied mutant mice!

Oh science, you are so weird and so lovable.

Next to the Science Museum is the Natural History museum. We swung in there about forty-five minutes before closing (FREE!) and found ourselves stuck in a bunch of exhibits about volcanos and earthquakes. I kept complaining that there weren’t any dinosaurs or taxidermied lions, like I’d expected from a Natural History Museum. I mean, rocks are nice and all, but... Anyway, turns out we went in totally the wrong entrance to see that stuff. It was there, but we only caught a glimpse of it on our way out. Oh well.

The last museum we attended was the Tate Modern, because Mr. P likes that sort of thing. I liked the entrance, which felt like we were in a giant airplane hangar...

.... annnd... sipping coffee in the cafĂ© with a view of St. Paul’s in the background.

Ehh, modern art just isn’t my thing. Mr. P liked it, though. Still, I think my eye-rolling is a bit justified. When I asked Mr. P why we didn’t see one of the most famous pieces in the Tate Modern, Duchamp’s Fountain, he said he’d heard it was removed because... someone peed in it.

I rest my case.

Finally, one last non-museum thing we did on our own was a little visit to Greenwich. You know, of GMT fame? It was a bit out of London proper, but the quiet and the cute little streets were fun:

Just getting there was a bit of an adventure (long story, but an intended “pleasant walk along the Thames” turned into a “muddy trek through a creepy construction site”), so I was looking forward to the Royal Observatory... only to discover it was closed! Why? Because they were building this in front of it:

The stadium for the equestrian events, apparently! Ah well. We went to see one sight and ended up getting another!

And at least we were able to get this photo of the North Greenwich Arena, which is where our Team USA would take gold in gymnastics a few weeks later.

So that’s most of what Mr. P and I did during our London trip... as in, just Mr. P and me. Because don’t forget, we had a bunch of our friends arriving for the wedding as well. And once they arrived... well, more on that tomorrow!