The Beginning of the Museum Tour

Trip Start Mar 26, 2011
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Trip End May 01, 2011


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Flag of United Kingdom  , London, City of,
Wednesday, March 30, 2011


This morning I went over to St Pancras Station....have I mentioned what a glorious old building this is?  It has been obviously restored and added to and I saw a statue dedicated to Perleman the poet who was said to be responsible for saving it.  There I went to Costa's, advertised as London's favorite coffee shop chain.  I got a large cappuccino and orange juice for later and sat and read for a bit while I drank my coffee before starting out on a short ride on the Circle line to get to the Museums.  It was extremely easy since there are signs : "Museums" pointing the way.
 
The Natural History museum is huge and has several entrances.  Today it is actually raining so I got out my raincoat eventually but managed to get into the Museum without it.  There was a short line and then I was in....no fees...amazing!   There is a huge hall with monster staircase going off to some exhibit rooms.  Although there were excellent signs, it took me awhile to get oriented and choose my direction.  Direction more than content area.  I ended up first in a new section...the cocoon which houses specimen collections and scientists who are studying them so the exhibit is a history of the collection and exhibits through glass windows into the offices of the working scientists.  It is very high tech with cards to scan topics that you can review at home.  There were lots of school children and pre-schoolers in cute little uniforms too.  They jumped around and made lots of noise as they excitedly moved from exhibit to exhibit.

Somewhere after the Cocoon and the new part, I found a hall... on the second floor I think... with cases and cases of rocks.  It reminded me of the old NYS museum but it was much, much larger.  I visited the dinosaur exhibit and mammals...saw a stuffed pangolin.  I had so much wanted to see a live one in South America but since they were nocturnal and elusive, I never did.  I must have seen other things in the museum because I was there for over 4 hours. 

I was just about museumed out but I wanted to see at least a little bit of the Victoria and Albert Museum.  This Museum has its own tunnel leading to it from the Underground station so it was quite easy to access.  I had little over an hour so I concentrated on the jewelry exhibit.  It was quite dazzling...mostly European jewelry from Middle Ages on to modern.  There were a few beautiful Etruscan pieces...they were noted for their gold work.  I found I liked the older stuff better than the modern.  I like modern jewelry generally....or at least I can find pieces I like....most of these modern ones I really didn't like.  I don't usually get excited about diamonds but many of the diamond pieces had amazing sparkles, multi-colored sparkles.  I wonder if it  was the lighting.

It was now about 5:30 closing time and I was to meet Sarah and Hillary at 8.  I wasn't too far from the meeting place so I took the tube there without too much problem but I did have to ask...it was then that I realized that 4th train would include the one standing in the station at the moment.  How to interpret directions never seemed so precarious before.  I got to High Street Kensington and found the Whole Foods store that Sarah loves....it is very large and very nice...the largest Whole Foods store I have been in.  I was surprised to find imported wines from Virginia in the United States wine section.  The prices of food in London seem comparable with the US in dollars vs. pounds ... which makes them about 1.7 times more expensive.

Luckily there was a Starbuck's virtually next door to the restaurant so I got a coffee and a chocolate chip cookie and sat reading for the next hour or so.  I also wrote out a few postcards.  The manager informed me that they close at 8 and seemed anxious to get rid of me so I left before I really wanted to.  As I was leaving, he said thank you and see you tomorrow.  I wonder if that was sarcasm or he thought I was someone else....but then why would he have told me when they close..????  Not really important.

When I got there, Sarah and Hillary were already there....with a surprise guest....Mike from our Dragoman trip!  It was so great to see them and reminisce about our Dragoman experience, get updates on what some of the others were doing, and updates on their travels in between.  All of them seemed to be yearning for more adventures.  Sarah seems to be happy in her new job....with McDonalds.  I will have to switch to thinking about McDonalds now instead of Kraft.  She also clued me in to the merits of McDonalds coffee and their free wifi.  So I think I will be having McDonalds coffee from now on.  We managed to order some food while we were talking and drinking and the evening flew by quickly.  I followed Mike to the tube and said goodbye when he got off and I continued on the St Pancras where I confusedly got out by the wrong exit.


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