It rained in London today. All day. So College Student and I thought it was a perfect day to do the British Museum. Apparently so did half of Britain. At least, that’s how it felt…we haven’t experienced crowds like this anywhere else on this trip. But then again, my guide book claims this is “Britain’s most popular tourist attraction.”
My guide book also offered a 30-minute trip around the museum. 30 minutes in there???? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!! (If you actually READ their tour suggestion, it’s pretty tongue in cheek.) We arrived when the place opened and stayed all day…and by skipping all the pottery (unless it had writing on it) and pretty much breezing past anything from about 1200 to the present we managed to see just about everything else.
I gave College Student all the time he wanted to sit and peer at all the tombstones and other slabs of rock or marble that had Latin writings. I have to say, I enjoyed watching him translate (and I learned quite a bit about Latin myself). Of course, a lot of what we were looking at was incomplete…or was difficult to read. That was the challenge. Translating from a stone tablet is quite different from translating from a modern book…but College Student was in his glory! I would look at the translation and help him out if he couldn’t make something out…tombstones are really interesting! They tell their own stories. For instance, there was one that was written from the perspective of a husband…apparently he had freed his wife from slavery and then lived “without any complaint” with her for 35 years…and this tombstone was his tribute to her. There was another one that had two people buried under it…College Student had a bit of trouble making out some of the words, but I thought it was interesting when he said, “hmm…it seems like the person who wrote this doesn’t like one of the people who was buried here very much.” The translation claimed that one of the people was the man’s wife…the other was thought to be either the wife’s friend or the wife’s mother!
Other things of interest at the British Musuem…the Rosetta Stone is there! And pieces from the Parthenon…lots of ancient stuff, actually. Mummies…Egyptian writings and statues…a chess set from around 1200…and there’s a really interesting glass roof that covers all the buildings (it’s the “largest covered space in Europe”). Best of all…the musem was FREE! Which was good because we spent some money tonight. (Actually, we spent the money this morning when we went to the discount ticket booth)…
Note to Junior High Kid: STOP READING THIS!!!! Stop reading this NOW…reading further will only upset you…
Okay, hopefully he’s gone (he’s probably not…)…College Student and I went to see WICKED tonight! (Somebody I don’t know (maybe a Londoner?) left a message on my blog last night suggesting we go see LORD OF THE RINGS instead…he/she claimed that was “the best show in London right now”…and it’s closing in July…and we’ll have other opportunities to see WICKED. We thought about it…but we don’t get a whole lot of opportunities to see this kind of theater in Iowa. I left it up to College Student (and a Shakespeare play at the Globe was on the table as a possibility, too)…he really wanted to see WICKED. (He’s got friends who have seen it in Chicago.)
That’s all I can say about it. That was truly the best show I’ve ever seen. (College Student says the same thing.) I’m curious how the version we saw compares to the version his friends saw in Chicago? It looks like the set would’ve been different for sure…this company has won awards for their set.
When the show was over, we managed to catch the last train that was running back to our hotel (the line was closing down for repair tonight)…but even if we had missed it, we could’ve walked back. Even though it’s pretty late. For a city of its size, London feels remarkably safe…even late at night.
Tomorrow…the Tower of London!