Part 4: France and England

Readers, so it’s been a little over a week. I have been absent because I went on a second trip. This time, we went on safari in Namibia in Southern Africa. It was the bees knees. Now that I’m back, I’ll resume my discussion of my first trip in England and France. Then I’ll move on to my adventures at Erindi Private Game Reserve in Namibia.

After Bordeaux and Toulouse, we made our way to London. To this day, London is still one of my favorite places. I believe that Oscar Wilde had it right when he said, “When you are tired of London, you are tired of life.”  I love walking its streets and feeling the weight of all that history.
On our very first day, we went directly to the British Museum. I know I’ve said this before but the British Museum is still my favorite museum. On this trip, we actually went three times, taking advantage of their free admission. Every time I go, my first stop is the Egyptian galleries on the first floor. The ancient Egyptian sculptures are my favorites; they feel like old friends. I even know when they’ve moved stuff around. I love seeing these serene sculptures of past civilizations. And yes, I know that their history of getting to the museum is quite questionable (I’m looking at you. Sphinx’s beard) but I can appreciate their beauty all the same. I like to check out the Rosetta stone in the middle of the gallery, despite the fact that it is always surrounded.
Ramsses II

Ramsses II

We also ventured into the Parthenon Marbles gallery. It was rather striking to see a hole in one of the pediments. The British Museum lent out part of a sculpture from one of the pediments for an exhibition in Russia. It’s quite controversial move; the museum has said that the statues are too fragile to move in prior statements.  Greece is understandable upset. It seemed really jarring to see the absence in person. I can only imagine what it feels for the Greek people to feel entire absence of all the marbles. Here is the Guardian article about it: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/dec/05/parthenon-marbles-greece-furious-british-museum-loan-russia-elgin
The Hole

The Hole

Later that evening, we returned to the museum to check out the coin galleries. It’s quite an extensive permanent exhibit that covers all aspects of currency, such as its role in history, religion, social commentary and more. I thought it was really neat to see British coins that had been stamped to support women’s right to vote. So cool!
"Vote for Women" Coin

“Vote for Women” Coin

I also checked out my favorite item(s) in the museum: the Lewis chessmen. As a rule, I have a fondness for all things chess. These walrus ivory pieces are simply magnificent. They are so superbly carved: rooks bite their shields, queens express concern. Such exquisite pieces!
On our third visit several days later, we checked out the clock exhibit and the Sutton Hoo hoard. The clock exhibit was fascinating, tracing the history of the invention of the clock. There are many working clocks in the galleries including one that has a little ball rolling from side to side. Not surprisingly, it doesn’t tell the best time but it was really  neat to see this 100s year old clock still in action. The Sutton Hoo hoard is an Anglo-Saxon hoard found in the mid-20th century. If I recall correctly, it was found in the 1930s but excavation was put on hold because of the impending war. It has some impressive pieces including helmets and shields.
That’s all for now! Tomorrow, I’ll talk about the Middle Temple, and my talk on the Savoy.
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