Monday, 26 January 2015
Made my way from Sean’s to King’s Cross Station and then to the Crestfield Hotel where I checked in. The room was spacious, had an en suite, and was only on the second floor this time! (Though the British do not seem to believe in putting elevators in hotels apparently). Convenient location for the British Museum and King’s Cross/St Pancras International Stations.
After checking in, I headed out to grab a late breakfast/lunch/early dinner. The café I stumbled across was okay. Unsure of their hygiene standards though: the sign on the door said it was “generally satisfactory.” Slightly worrying, but I’m alive!
The British Museum is enormous! I managed to get through most of one level, but that took nearly two hours. I saw about a third of the Egyptian stuff (the rest is on higher levels) and maybe half the Greek stuff. You really need a full day or two to appreciate, say I decided I’d have to come back the next morning too.
I was impressed by the fact that the Assyrian carvings were in good condition and presented in the same style as an art gallery with slabs of rock hanging off the walls. The Egyptian artefacts are incredibly too: great stone monuments and sarcophagi. These are things I’ve really only read about, and to come so close is truly amazing. I was standing literally less than a foot from the Rosetta Stone.
I’ve always been interested in history — I took Modern, Ancient and Extension History at school — but it’s really something else to be this close. You can practically reach out and touch history! Afterwards, when it started to close, I left, got a little bit lost, found a pub (a recurring theme, right?) and then wandered back to my hotel.
Tuesday, 27 January 2015
Checked out, left my luggage at the hotel, had breakfast and raced back to the Museum. Looked through the rest of the Egyptian Collection, including mummies of course! They sure did loot a lot of stuff from Egypt. The European Collection was fascinating too — especially the Sutton Hoo Mask. Like the Rosetta Stone, this is something I’ve read a lot about, but never actually seen. To stare at it in its three dimensional glory is just unbelievable!
The Roman statues are interesting, including one of the Emperor Septimius Severus, described as “the last great Emperor before the crisis of the third century engulfed the empire.” Other areas I looked at were the Asian, African, Islamic and American Collections, but there are simply too many cool things that I can’t really describe them without failing to do them justice. It’s really something worth visiting if you’re in London.
I made my way back to King’s Cross to get the train to Leeds. I saw Platform 9 3/4, but I didn’t take pictures because (a) I had luggage that I didn’t want to leave unattended, (b) I had a train to catch, and (c) there were just too many tourists around it already! I got the train and was surprised at two things: again, how much the English countryside looks like rural New South Wales, and how quickly the trains go — 125 miles per hour (200 kph) was the top speed I saw. That’s insane.
Got the train from Leeds to Keighley and Levi picked me up from the station. We had dinner and then went to the pub. Keighley is pronounced “Keith-lee.” I’m sure there is a reason for this, but I’m equally sure the reason is not a particularly good one.