A Sunny Saturday

Trip Start Jul 06, 2008
Trip End Aug 04, 2008

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Saturday, August 2, 2008

Being my last weekend, Nancy and I started out Saturday morning prepared to cram in much of the remainder of my "To Do" list.  We managed Westminster Abbey and the British Museum, both amazing places.  We also managed to do a some traditional British things, even if it was in quite a touristy setting.

Westminster Abbey (I always want to type Westminister!) is a beautiful church, with, needless to say, a lot of history.  Nancy and I settled for the audio guides since the next tour would ruin our chances to do anything else that day.  (Having Jeremy Irons on the audio made Nancy quite pleased.)  We learned a load of information that I could never remember, but what stood out for me was seeing the empty tomb of Oliver Cromwell (they removed his body, quite disrespectfully, at a later date, which he very much deserved), the ceiling of the Chapel of Henry VII, the tomb of Elizabeth I, the tomb of Mary Queen of Scots, and the Poets' Corner.  While Geoffery Chaucer was actually buried there, memorials were in place for Shakespeare, Lewis Carrol, T.S. Elliot, Edward Lear, Tennyson, Browning, Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, the Bronte sisters, and Jane Austen.  Also cool was Britain's oldest door (c. 1050s), the grave of musician Muzio Clemente, the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, the grave of Winston Churchill, and the elaborate memorials for Newton and Darwin.  There were an overwhelming number of other people buried there, some whose markers were quite worn away or not marked at all.
After such an excursion, Nancy and I were more than a bit hungry.  First, we walked by Buckingham Palace via Green Park, although we didn't get very close nor stay very long - just so I could get a few photos (we've been by plenty of times but I've never taken any pictures).  Piccadilly was next, for lunch.  Nancy treated us to sushi at a place called Itsu, where a Russian defector named Alexander Litvinenko ate just before he was murdered by poisoning.

For tea, Nancy took me to Fortnum and Mason.  Fortnum and Mason is a huge department store, and strategically, the first floor is all sweets and teas.  There were hard candies and lokum and chocolates and honey and cookies and cakes (including beautiful marzipan covered wedding cakes and tiny little cakes for individual gifts, such as birthdays or thank yous).  We made our way to the second floor (garden and kitchen supplies) where there was a little pale green and blue and white little cafe called The Parlour.  We ordered scones with clotted cream and strawberry jelly (one order for each of us!) and Earl Grey for me and a smokey tea for Nancy.  Even though they initially mixed up the teas, it was still delicious, and surpisingly filling.


Finally, we took the Tube (again) to the British Museum.  The Rosetta Stone was my priority, so we went there first.  It was understandably crowded, thankfully behind glass (although the protection prevented good photographs); I remember Mom telling me about how they allowed you to touch it last time she saw it!  Next were the other Egyptian sculptures, then the Greek temple they have built inside, and then the Parthenon sculptures, and finally the Assyrian Lion Hunts.  All of it was so cool, but I can't help but feel that, for the Rosetta Stone and Elgine Marbles especially, they should be in their respective countries.  Many of the sculptures from the Parthenon had labels that read:  "Head in Athens," or "Arm in Greece."  As cool as it is to see, loans are fine, but stealing is not.

We watched "Miss Potter" at night, which was better than I expected. =)


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