Saturday morning we got up with the sun to complete what every trip to England must require — a visit to London. We even managed to recruit friends Trista and Emma to make the short journey with us. We all rode up on the bus and took the tube together then Emma parted with us at Oxford Street to meet up with a friend. Trista, Becca and I ventured off towards the British Museum. This was the first item on our ever-growing London to-do list and Trista, a history major, made it it one of her top priorities as well. Trista’s knowledge newly-appointed post as tour guide made it quite an enlightening field trip. To see the whole museum probably would have taken a couple days, but we at least hit the high points, including my absolute favorite — MUMMIES!! And if the large crowds in these particular exhibits serve as any indication, then I’m obviously not alone in my strange affinity for elaborately decorated dead things. It’s a comfort to know these ancient corpses (or is it corpsi?) provide perpetual fascination for people around the world, and it’s not just me being strange. Picture above: Trista and me trying to decipher the map of the very LARGE British Museum…it was a little confusing.
After passing several lovely hours in the inspiring presence of all that is dead, crumbling, and historically significant, we decided to take a a moment to air out our brains from all its Classic cobwebs and rejoin the modern world. Next stop was Parliament Square, where we –quite accidentally– stumbled into another epic and educational tour of none other than the Houses of Parliament themselves. It went something like this: friendly tour guide meets confused American tourists and cheerfully hands them a flyer. “Last tour of the day!” she calls. “Only ten minutes to go and we offer students discounts!” And, even minus her glowing smile and she had captured us with the magic word, “discount.” We were officially the last three people to receive tickets that day so we bounded off with the rest of the tour group with such a stroke of luck that way that made me feel a little bit like Charlie entering the Chocolate Factory…that is, if the Willie Wonka had employed policemen with guns and metal detectors to stand guard over his chocolate factory. Anyway, two hours of touring stately rooms and learning about English government was fascinating and exhausting; (I was a little disappointed by the lack of chocolate rivers and singing oompa loompas but whatever).
We celebrated the completion of our educational journey with a perfectly English dinner at Prince Albert’s Pub near the rail station. The only things I remember about this pub are that the food was very tasty and very English…and that I felt under-dressed while surrounded by the sophisticated Londoners dining there…and that our waiter was rather cute. But those are just general impressions that do not quality me to give a detailed restaurant review; I can’t even remember what I ordered except that it was “good” and that I was so hungry I scarfed it down pretty quickly.