Back in London, and it’s like a second chance at vacation (for details of the first half of the trip, start here.
Waking up, the plan was to walk through Piccadilly Circus on the way to the British Museum (check), tour St. Paul’s Cathedral (half-check), have tea at Fortnum & Mason (half-check) and take a Jack the Ripper tour (no check).
This may have been the day the travel caught up to us as did an overall lack of sleep. Did I mention I’m sick? What was a moderate cold has blossomed into something that reduces my ability to breathe, comes with a cough and increases my likelihood of snoring to 100%. It keeps Penny awake and I don’t sleep that well either. I feel like Patient Zero.
I have good minutes – just sniffly and coughing – and bad minutes – dizzy, sweating and pretty sure that walking one more block will lead to passing out. Yup, this is how I pictured London.
Anyway, we started our day as planned and made it to the museum shortly after it opened. There’s really cool stuff there. Unfortunately, a great deal of it is similar to what was in the Louvre. I can only see so many Greek-Roman statues, Egyptian artifacts and Etruscan pottery – and I really like that kind of stuff. When it comes right down to it though, the statues of Ramses II (Paris) and Ramses III (London) aren’t that different.
I’d been looking forward to seeing the Rosetta Stone. When planning the trip, it was always on my list of things to see in London, let along the museum. Its case was mobbed so it was hard to spend any time with the stone. Like most museums, the glass is not glare-free so most pictures also have floating tourist heads in them.
The Egyptian exhibit wasn’t all that different from other museums. Plus it was also mobbed. Cleopatra’s mummy was cool though.* As was the Sutton Hoo treasure. And the hoards. I wish I lived in England so I could discover a hoard. You don’t really find good hoards buried in North Coventry. Maybe I just like using the word “hoards.” Hoards. Hoards. Hoards.
We took the tube to St. Paul’s. You may know it as the church where Prince Charles married Princess Diana. Upon seeing an entrance fee of £17.50, Penny and I decided to skip walking around the inside.
We crossed Millennium Bridge to the Globe Theater, but didn’t take the tour. Two reasons – we were still thinking of making our 2:30 tea, and both of were resisting things we “should” do. Tammy likes theater and Shakespeare ergo Tammy SHOULD go inside the recreated Globe Theater. In actuality, Tammy says no thank you and heads back to the hotel by way of the crowded Underground thanks to bank holiday closures. At least today has been sunny.
Once at the hotel, we decide to skip the Fortnum & Mason tea for tea at our own hotel. It’s lovely. Finger sandwiches,** scones, clotted cream, pastries.
Back in our room, Penny decides to relax, and we decide to skip the Ripper walk. See above explanation about not doing things we should. I was also tired, but didn’t want to take up Penny’s relaxation time with more snoring. I headed to Fortnum & Mason for shopping and to check out a few sites.
Before leaving home, we decided we weren’t going to see a play. We live close enough to Broadway to see shows there, and other than Andrew Lloyd Weber’s sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, everything playing on the West End was in New York. But since we were skipping the Ripper tour, a show was back on the books, and it was my job to find one.
I headed out and had a lovely walk through Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square and the Mall. Alas, the shows we wanted weren’t available so I just went back to the hotel.
By now though, a show seemed like a great idea so Penny headed back out with me to our chances at a box office. We could see Hair … and sit at opposite ends of the row. Nope. We Will Rock You had seats. Not interested. No show.
We ended up seeing Clash of the Titans in what is the largest movie theater I’ve ever been in. I don’t mean size of building or number of screens, just the room where we saw the movie … from our assigned seats … on the upper floor. The movie was fun, and I think I should see every movie in that theater from now on.
Now, it’s back in the hotel for late night pizza. Tomorrow’s plans include the Tower of London and the Changing the Guard ceremony. We’ll see if we accomplish the list.
*Or I thought it was cool until I got home and had a chance to read the photo of the sign accompanying the mummy. This was just some chick named after the queen and who died years later. Queen Cleopatra’s mummy is missing, possibly in the Paris sewers.
**And this is where I slipped on the vegetarian/pescetarian diet. One of the sandwiches had chicken, which I didn’t remember until three bites into the five-bite sandwich. Oops.