Travelogue, Part Five

London is my favorite city in the world, as if you need telling. And what is my favorite place to be in my favorite city in the world?

You know it!
It's the British Museum.

So I headed off early on Monday morning (but not too early, because you know: vacation). And I stepped out of the Russell Square tube station and promptly got lost.

This would be a running theme throughout my stay in London.

After about twenty minutes of aimless wandering, I got back on track, and turned into the courtyard of just the best place on earth.

And ... there were kids. Lots and lots of kids, all running around in their little school uniforms, like it was recess and this was the playground. And it took everything in me to keep from pulling out my Teacher Voice and snapping my fingers at the little brats darlings.

I think museums, in general, are awesome. (This is because I am a giant nerd.) But this museum, in particular, is my favorite, simply because objects that I've read about for years are RIGHT THERE. There is a very distinct feeling that I get when I come face to face with something that I've heard of, read about, or studied; it's like, I have knowledge that it exists, but it's still kind of a relief to find out that people haven't been lying to me about it.

For example:

The Rosetta Stone
It's SO OLD! And yet ... here it is. I am looking at something that people who lived thousands of years ago looked at too. It just blows my mind.

The frieze of the Parthenon, also known (by me, because of this poem) as the Elgin marbles. Isn't it amazing how people, using tools that we would consider to be fairly crude, created something so detailed and beautiful?

Bust of Sophocles (possibly Socrates; I forgot to write it down)

I took these next few photos specifically for the purpose of sharing them with my theater class during our Greek drama unit. You can take the teacher out of the school ...

Models of actors in costumes and masks

Chair, reserved for a priest, from one of the amphitheatres. Greek theatre festivals started as tributes to Dionysus; they were viewed as religious ceremonies (at first) so the priests of Dionysus always got to sit in the front row, in special seating.

Comic mask. Since there were no microphones back then, the masks had were made in such a way that the mouth opening acted as a megaphone. This is just a clay model; the real things were quite large and were made of leather.

Another model of an actor. None of the costumes and masks have survived, so all we have to go on are these models and pictures on the painted pots.

Metal cast of an actor's mask. This one has no opening at the mouth.

Bust of Socrates (possibly Sophocles; they're both in there, I just don't know which is which) (I will always call him Sew-kraytz)

I am in love with early British history, from the Celts to the Saxons to the Romans, but guess what: that area of the museum was totally closed off! Grr! But they did have some of the better-known exhibits on display.

Like the helmet from the Sutton Hoo burial.

And the Lewis Chess Set

Forget DisneyWorld; THIS may be the most magical place on earth:

The Reading Room is right in the middle of the museum. It houses tons of books, and the best part is, IT'S A WORKING LIBRARY. I could have spent hours here.

Books as far as the eye could see.

But y'all know what I came to see:

I spent some quality time in the Egypt Wing, getting acquainted with my the mummies.



Lady S said...

I read someone else's blog (I don't think it was you) and they said they couldn't imagine spending a whole week in one city.

This person has never tried to tour London in a week.

I love reading about your adventure. I can't wait to get back to my second favorite city (I love Edinburgh).

Mei said...

I've been to London twice now, and I have not scratched the surface in terms of the things I want to do there. If I lived there for a thousand years, I would still have a long list of things I wanted to do. It's an amazing city.


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