Today’s only stamped itinerary was Madame Tussaud’s at noon. At least that was the slot I planned to get in. I got there a little early so, like at the London Eye, I had to wait just before it was appropriate to get to the specified line. But I was in there within two minutes.
At first, I was excited. But then a cartoonish animatronic Donald Trump was in the foyer, in the middle between a set of staircases. A pseudo presenter would ask all-to-specific questions to the wax figure and wax Trump replied with one of the designated phrases he was programmed to give. Basically, the president was made a mockery like in any political cartoon only magnified.
Look, I don’t like to discuss politics because you’re never going to be on the same page with everyone. But when you make fun of the leader that runs my country and has nothing to do with your government, why are you still, after two years since the election, continue judging my president?
Setting him as a comic front man for an established, worldly-known museum is not appropriate. In fact, it’s completely uncalled for. You can keep the life-like one but don’t set him for comedic stunts when he has nothing to do with your day-to-day life. And considering a lot of your tourists are American and may have voted for him too.
There. Now that that’s out there, I can move on.
So in the course of two hours, I met Princess Di, Charles Dickens, Queen Elizabeth I, Tom Hiddleston, Tom Hardy, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, Thor, and a hell of a lot more. I stumbled into the Sherlock Holmes experience for five pounds. It was PG entertaining, I’ll give them that.
Towards the end, there was joy ride shaped into a condensed black taxi. It trailed passed animatronic figures, such as Shakespeare and Black Beard, to an exit. The exhibition continued to stairs for a special called the Marvel 4-D Experience. A somewhat interactive sideshow despite sitting in a dome theater; movement and sound effects to go along with the 3-D glasses. I could tell you more but then people wouldn’t make the incentive to go see the extended attraction(s).
It was a little after 2 p.m., so I still had some time left to head over to the British Museum.
Since most museums have free admission, I took full advantage to explore the colossus building with its many Romanesque pillars and structure decked out with figures carved above, portraying as gods and goddesses in accents of painted gold.
When I go into a museum, particularly on-location, I make it a mission to go to the areas relevant to the city, town, or country, that I’m visiting. Meaning that if I go to the main museum of England, I’m going to the specific exhibits relative to English and pre-English history. The native discoveries are what I want to see on display typically. I like to learn about the roots of that place I explore.
So while it took me a bit to figure my way around the complimentary map, I headed to the main floor exhibit focusing on ancient Indian and Chinese archaeology and history. I came across many Buddhas, Hindu gods, stone lions used for protection, jade, and hand-painted burial horses and camels. Even a gigantic series of glazed dragon tiles in glossy lapis.
The second and third floors, conspired with neverending halls, linked preserved glimpses of Roman Britain, the Celts, Vikings, Greeks, and Romans. Only pieces in concealed glass provide minimal but just enough to know their bare bones of their worlds. No pun intended, as there were displays of sarcophagi, mummification, and decayed bone marrow. The only downside passing through was that I suppose anything research-related wasn’t there. Or at the very least didn’t jump out and catch my attention.
What I call the finale, for me, was the long, high-ceiling room labeled “the Enlightenment”. From the entryway to the other end of the room was filled, and covered behind glass, with vintage and early-editioned books. On pedestals were mythological statues and busts of scholars and former monarchs. In sub-displays are original documents from all great minds and leaders, not just British. So much knowledge arrayed in one giant room. Its name was a perfect fit.
After enough exploring for one day, I did some touristy shopping. Before I delved deep into tourist-mode, I thought for a moment my eyes deceived me; ten feet from me was an antique bookshop with display telling it sold only 18th and 19th century. Jarndyce was the name of the establishment in painted gold. On its doorstep, I went for the handle. It was locked with a small sign that said: “Ring first to enter.” A few seconds later, an older woman buzzed me in, then preceded behind her distinguished desk.
I spent about thirty-five minutes, engrossed in the aged volumes, collections, and singular bindings on shelves high and low. Within all the books that caught my eye, I concluded the cheapest was ninety-nine pounds. Over in England, they clearly know the value of word on aged paper. If you knew me, you’d understand I was referring to most second-hand bookstores do not see the treasures handed to them. But when sold to me, the worn leather bindings and yellowed paper are cared for as relics of history and memory.
Though I didn’t buy anything, I know I’ll come again someday. With the intention to possess particular editions from that very shop. The air and atmosphere were perfect for those books. I claimed that affirmation as I popped into the first fish-n-chips place I saw.
It was called Munchkins, it had a handful of people there so I didn’t feel unnerved eating alone. I ordered a pot of tea to go with my bangers and mash meal which was delicious. During the ordering and waiting, I filled out some postcards to send over to a few relatives aside from Ma and Dad.
Lessons From Today:
1. Make timetables you think, knowing you, how long you would linger in each attraction and/or location. It’s true when you hear that saying, “time flies when you’re having fun.”
~Katie, The Once & Future Voyager
Every adventure is a chance to live the way you dream.