After a horribly busy week, especially these past couple of days, I am finally ready to regale the third part of our London Adventure.
As those of you who have been reading know, I had knee surgery just a couple of weeks before we left for London. I applaud the Underground system; I would even go so far as to say that I love it. Once you get the hang of it, there is a line to get you anywhere, and it saves you A LOT of walking. However, that being said, I was still running head first towards a brick wall when it came to knee. Day Four of the trip is where this happened.
Today was going to be Green Lantern’s and my big museum day. Our first stop: The Natural History Museum of London. However, because we set the alarm on my phone, which was set to home time, we got up and rolling and ready and arrived at the Natural History Museum an hour before it actually open…. oops. I convinced Green Lantern to walk with me a little ways down the street so I could see Royal Albert Hall.
Royal Albert Hall is a famous Music and Concert Venue which was built by Queen Victoria after the death of her Husband Prince Albert. Plans for it were initially started by Albert himself, however when he suddenly died it was the queen who raised the funds that built both the hall and the titan-like monument across the street. Though I was already tired, I was so glad we took that trip. The hall is absolutely beautiful, and the monument, which I didn’t have any prior knowledge of was a sight to be seen. It would have taken a whole hour to really appreciate all of the detail that went into the building of this structure.
We hiked back to the Natural History Museum and got back just in time to wander in. The massive building reads almost like an enormous church until you get inside. The contents can boggle your mind almost as soon as you enter the building. We walked through halls of animals from mammals and marsupials to rodents and reptiles. A highlight for me was the Oceans room, which encased a full size replica of a blue whale, the largest animal on earth. It also held a narwhal tusk which I found particularly interesting, as well as a number of fish and other ocean mammals.
However, the real reason we wanted to spend time at the Natural History Museum was all for Green Lantern. They have on display one of the largest collection of real Dinosaur bones, as well as an interactive exhibit, and even an animatronics T-Rex that is programmed to act like the people it sees are prey (basically meaning it moves around and roars at you Jurassic Park style). It was easily the most popular attraction in the museum, and we had to cut through a lot of people to look at the exhibits. However, it was both educational and fun in an environment that made you feel like you were wandering at dusk through a prehistoric era jungle.
We took in lunch in a little Italian cafe on Baker Street, which is home to both the Sherlock Holmes Museum and Madame Tussaud’s, a famous and extensive wax museum chain. However, by the time we got finished eating, we were in the middle of that rainy cold weather that London is famous for. We took a jaunt down the street and took pictures outside of the Sherlock Holmes Museum, and walked down to Madame Tussaud’s. There we discovered the longest line of our trip: a 3 HOUR WAIT just to get TICKETS! Then you have to wait in line to get in? We opted out of that and moved on to the next major landmark on our list: The British Museum.
This museum is right up my alley. I sometimes think that my true calling was for me to be more of an “Evelyn O’Connell” from The Mummy Series. I could totally see myself working in a library, studying ancient texts, or digging up artifacts, but not just Egypt. I have a deep and undying love for Greek and Roman culture that probably outweighs Egypt… but just slightly. What I was most anxious to see was the Rosetta Stone, that cultural heavyweight that finally gave archaeologists the key to being able to decipher Egyptian Hieroglyphics.
The major dork in me allows me to admit that it was huge for me. To most people it might just be a hunk of rock, but to me as I looked at I could just feel the history pulsing through my veins. I couldn’t even feel that pain in my knee as I looked at, or the rest of the ancient Egyptian statues and artifacts. I also loved the actual, real mummies that have been preserved in the museum, and one of the scrolls containing the Book of Dead, the rites that told us how the Egyptians believed the afterlife would go for them.
The next section was naturally Greek and Roman artifacts. I swooned over the pieces of the pediment from the Parthenon, as well as the other Elgin Marbles which at one point lined the walls of various buildings on the Acropolis in Athens. I literally don’t think I could have been any happier. However, after the happiness started to wear off, and we moved out of my adrenaline based excitement in the most ancient forms of human history, the pain in my knee came back, and to a point that was worse than any other point in the trip. Most of the rest of the visit to the museum I remember more from the pictures as my functioning capacities went way down.
I cannot even begin to describe to you how badly I felt about experiencing the rest of the museum that way. Green Lantern says that you could literally walk in the British Museum for days and still not see everything. I recommend this to anyone going to London, but I also suggest that you be more prepared than I was.
We finished and sat in an English Pub, deciding what to do with the rest of our night. We wanted to do something fun and memorable, but remembering our experience with Hard Rock, were leery about just showing up anywhere. We ended up taking a trip to the court of King Henry VIII.
We decided to go and make reservations for Medieval Banquet London, which provides a four course meal with period entertainment. When we arrived we were ushered into a cellar of sorts, and we could not have been more impressed. The singing by the cast was impeccable and strong. The mini-acts, which took place during portions of the meal, included contortionists, ring dancers, ballet dancers, minstrels, and jugglers. The final act included a sword fight which was well rehearsed and technically correct for both period and actual form of fighting. The food included a first course of a thick and creamy vegetable and potato soup that was soaked up into incredible fresh bread. The next course boosted of whole plates of cheese and smoked or roasted meats, which was delicious but light enough to leave you hungry for the main course: Roasted Chicken and vegetables grilled and glazed in honey. Even me, though I am not a big meat eater, thought that the chicken was incredibly cooked. Dessert came in the form of Compote, which is fruit, cooked in a sugary sauce and topped with cream. I am hungry just thinking about it! We decided after it that we could not have chosen a better place to spend the night and let me sit for a good long time before heading back to the hotel.
There is only one post about London left, and I promise you don’t want to miss out! Keep an eye out for the last night we spent on our Adventure in a few days.