1. There are not enough benches in The British Museum.
2. Victoria Station is hostile to novices.
3. People in London are not as friendly as people in Oxford.
4. London cannot be fully explored in a day.
5. I am currently listening to Radiohead.
That said, I had a really lovely time in London yesterday. It’s a place that I would enjoy being better acquainted with. We left Oxford 7-ish and took a coach into London. We hopped on and off the Underground a few different times, and that was really neat, too. I’ve never had such a pleasant time being squished and grimy. The Underground is such a thrilling place, in spite of the blase (or maybe just tired and bored) attitude of its regular users. I love the rocking of the rail cars and rush of air from others going past. I love the tricky negotiations of hand placement, stance, and bag arrangement that are all calculated to keep yourself upright, keep your things from being stolen, and keep yourself from actually touching anyone. And people do this successfully almost every time! Amazing town.
First, we went to The Globe, which is a reconstruction of the theatre where Shakespeare’s troupe performed for a time. After that, we went to The British Library, which quietly knocked my socks off. To view pictures of that, go here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=46614&l=6f271&id=500823168. (Hopefully this will work better than shutterfly. Let me know.)
After that, we went to the British Museum, which was amazing. I only went through maybe a third of it, and not very thoroughly. I felt like I learned so much. I wish I had taken better notes. I apologize for the bare nature of the captions on these photos, but there was just so much information that I’ve lost most of it. As I said, I wish I’d taken better notes. To see what I saw (and thought was important or interesting), check here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=46621&l=556b9&id=500823168.
I also saw some Japanese paintings of ghosts that were really amazing, but did not take pictures of them. Probably there are plenty of pictures as it is though, don’t you think? Visiting The British Museum made me wish that I lived (or was staying for an extended period of time) nearby, so that I could absorb it in more bite-sized chunks. It was a little overwhelming as it was.
And of course, before, during, and after visiting these specific spots, I saw some other very beautiful or interesting things. They can be seen here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=46630&l=47e5a&id=500823168.
One of my favorite moments was buying roasted peanuts while crossing Westminster Bridge. The weather was brisk and a little misty, and now it seems to me that that is the perfect context for roasted peanuts. Buying them in the mall would never feel as thrilling as munching them alongside the Thames.
After all the looking around, I was sore and wet and tired. I really admire the patience and good spirits of my travelling companions. As far as I can tell, no one really complained (except maybe me) and there were plenty of moments where whining might have been excusable. We walked around in circles more than once, and finding the spot to catch our coach back to Oxford was just ridiculous. But we got home. It was a good, if long, day.