Boris had business in London and I tagged along for the week. He is off for a couple a days over the weekend so we are going to take the Eurostar over to Bruges, Belgium for a few days. We were there in September when the weather was just beginning to turn away from the summer warmth.
We are staying at the Waldorf in Covent Garden with easy access to the theaters. I did a little research prior to going but didn’t purchase tickets this time. Since I was underwhelmed with the musical offerings, I decided just to buy play tickets at the discount booth in Leicester Square.
I arrived a day after Boris and traveled into town during the morning rush hour. I arrived at the hotel in time to make breakfast and then walked down to the square to get my theater tickets. I am still just a few months post surgery, so I am wearing a boot when walking around. After some sightseeing in the neighborhood, I returned to the hotel to rest my foot and unpack.
The executive lounge tea at the Waldorf was substantial enough to make a meal of with scones and tea sandwiches. I made that my pre-theater dining. Tonight I am seeing Apologia featuring American actress Stockard Channing and Downton Abbey alum Laura Carmichael (Edith). Laura did a pretty good American accent. Boris was back by the time I returned. He will be pretty busy the next couple of days so I am on my own.
I really wanted to try to see some places I had not visited before on this trip to London. I have always wanted to see the Egyptian exhibits at the British Museum ever since I started reading the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters. So day two, I started my day there after a walk from the hotel. It was early on a Tuesday morning and the crowds had not yet arrived, so I was in quickly after the security check.
I passed through the original entrance foyer and bought a guide book before entering the Great Court. You could spend days here, so I decided to identify those areas I really wanted to visit and save my guide book for a return visit to see more. I started in the ancient Egyptian area on the ground floor, just to the left from the Great Court.
The museum is a photographer’s dream. First thing I saw was the Rosetta Stone, not easy to photograph with the hordes of people admiring it and the reflection off the glass. Get close enough and study it and you see how impressive it truly is. The collection is amazing, but you are also wonder why are these artifacts are here rather than where they were found (or at least in the same country). Times have changed and exhibits like these would now be found in their native homelands.
Next I went upstairs to visit the exhibits containing the mummies and the decorations of the tombs. This was the most crowded place I visited in the museum. By this time there was also lots of school groups. Each child wore a vest like we would see on someone directing traffic in the states. It is a pretty good idea in regard to safety, but with so many children in vests it would be hard to identify a particular child.
This area of the museum was particularly fascinating to me. I have been to Egypt and visited the Sphinx and the pyramids at Giza at a time when it was safe for Americans to do so. Even then, we went with armed guards. The light show on the sphinx was really impressive. This visit of the Egyptian exhibits at the British Museum was a wonderful compliment to my travel to Egypt.
From here I went on to the less crowded exhibits on Ancient Greece and Rome on both the upper and lower floors. Like the Egyptian exhibits, the smaller artifacts were in glass cases on the second floor, while the large exhibits were on the ground floor. Some of the pieces were quite massive requiring a whole room of multiple stories to house a single treasure.
After my touring I was ready for a break and stopped by the fish and chips shop near the entrance for lunch. They had the traditional take-away and a few place to sit inside with table service. They even sold Dr. Pepper, which I never expected to see in London. There are some nice shops across from the museum as well.
In route to the museum this morning, I stopped by the Fortune Theater and picked up a same-day discount ticket to see The Woman In Black one of the longest-running shows in London. It has been running in the West End for 28 years and is currently at the Fortune Theater just behind my hotel. I saw the matinee performance and then caught tea at the hotel before my evening show, The Play That Went Wrong at the Duchess Theater, even closer to my hotel. The last two shows were at the older, smaller, intimate theaters that I so love in London. London theaters also have ice cream intermissions right in the theater. In two days, I have seen a drama, a triller and a comedy, all at discounted prices. Excellent.
Tomorrow is Downton Abbey day with a visit to Brampton Village, Highclere Castle, and dinner at Rules. I’ll be getting an early start. Until then…