Today is our last full day in London. It’s a little rainy but, hey, we are not made of sugar! Westminster Abby is our first stop. And what a sight it is! Every second of our tour is mind-blowing. There are probably thousands of memorials inside the church ranging from ginormous and opulent to easily overlooked tiny. There are memorials to scientists like Darwin and Sir Issac Newton; to poets and writers like Geoffrey Chaucer and Dylan Thomas; to musicians like George Fredric Handel; to actors like Sir Lawrence Olivier; and to the opulent resting places of kings and queens. The videos of royal weddings do not begin to show the grandeur of the church.
We spend a couple of hours exploring the church and the gardens and then head off to the nearby Westminster Arms pub recommended by Rick Steves. I have sausage and potatoes and Howard has steak and ale pie which he says is even better than the one he had at Trafalger Square.
We should be tired enough to go home but we forge on to the British Museum. And that is a place not to be missed! Rick Steves says “it is the only place I can think of where you can follow the rise and fall of three great civilizations –Egypt, Assyria, and Greece–in a few hours.”
The ancient Egyptian exhibit (2400 to 200 B.C.) is soooo amazing! It begins with the Rosetta Stone dating back to 200 B.C. That discovery made it possible to decode Egyptian writing. We then come face-to-face with a colossal statue of Ramesses II from about 1250 B.C. And the fun never stops through the entire Egyptian wing. There are animal statues, coffins and sarcophagus, more colossal statues, paintings, statues of the gods and more!
Then on to ancient Assyria (Iraq 1100 to 600 B.C.)… The huge human-headed winged lions and winged bulls are my favorite of this exhibition. But the rest of the exhibit is incredible too. It is for the most part carved panels showing battles, palace scenes, and lion hunts (my favorite of the panels–it is so realistic).
And last, Ancient Greece (600 B.C. to 1A.D.). This exhibit was my least favorite. Although it was interesting, it just couldn’t beat the other two exhibits. There is pottery, small humanoid statues called Cycladic figures, sculptures, and frieze.
We were rung out at the end of our time at the British Museum and hobbled home with a stop at the wine shop and bakery to use up the last of our British pounds.
LAST THOUGHTS ON LONDON:
We had great weather! Lots of sun; pleasantly cool temperatures; and the little rain we got, did not inconvenience us.
London is WAY too expensive! It is also sooo crowded. And the metro is not as convenient as in Paris. It’s an interesting place to see but not interesting enough to come back. Our trip to the country was great–would love to see more of that but the country roads can be very narrow and driving on the other side of the road is too much. It was nice to be able to communicate although sometimes I wondered what language Britons were speaking. But one man said he didn’t understand at first what I said.
Londoners are very friendly and helpful. People stopped to ask if they could help if they saw us looking at our map.
London made me feel OLD! Too many people offered up their seats on the tube for us. I tried to convince Howard the first time it happened that the lady was talking to him but both of us elicited sympathy from younger Britons. So if it had not been clear before, it is crystal clear now: We are old!
We had tasty pub food. It was nothing fancy but it was good and we enjoyed our meals.