Friday was a great day, especially in light of how miserably Thursday ended. We got a decently early start and headed straight for the British Museum. In Britain, the national museums are all free, though they do like donations (the sign above the box asks for £5) and my friend and I love ancient stuff, so this was a must-see. Another one of those places we’d been before, but couldn’t skip.
We only spent maybe an hour and a half there, which got us through the Egyptian, Assyrian, some of the ancient Greek (it wasn’t all open that day), the ancient Roman, and the pre-modern British Isles sections. That left all the eastern art and the like untouched, which I guess just means I’ll have to plan another trip. Seriously, putting aside the ethics question of whether Britain should even be keeping all the stuff they stole (and that’s as far as I’m going with that), the British Museum is amazing.
I’m only a casual art historian, but as a side note: there are two easy ways to tell if a statue is really Greek, or just a Roman replica. The first is whether or not the figure is free-standing. Sometime between Ancient Greece and Rome, people apparently forgot how to make the figures stand on their own, so the replicas are always leaning on a pillar or something. The second is whether it’s missing multiple limbs. Clearly, the lady to your right is Greek. I could sit here and gush for ages about how breathtaking these statues are (just look at the way they captured motion in marble!), but that’s probably not what you’re here for, so I won’t.
It is weird to try to imagine them painted, though. And not in normal, true-to-life colors, either. Try to picture that statue in bright colors. You can’t do it, can you? Didn’t think so.
Anyway, after the British Museum we ate delicious fish and chips and I eavesdropped on the Japanese tourists behind us, then we moved on to Madam Tussaud’s, which is in a totally different part of London. This one was more for my friends than it was for me. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed it well enough, but I’d never do it again. Not really my thing, you know?
From there we moved on to something that I really did want to see: the Sherlock Holmes Museum. Okay, now this is one that I can’t straight-up recommend to everyone because, if you’re not a big Holmes fan, it won’t be worth the time and entry fee. I really liked it, but I’m exactly the sort of person it’s meant for.
As you might expect, the museum is at 221B Baker Street (which incidentally was not a real address when ACD wrote the stories), down the street from the Baker Street tube station. The people working there are dressed period appropriate, you can take pictures, and it made my in-love-with-Sherlock-Holmes soul happy. I also bought a mug for my extensive collection. It makes my tea feel clever.
And that was where my travel companions and I parted ways for the weekend because I was off to Oxford to visit one of my best friends, Lauren. We met in Matsuyama when I was a JET and she was a foreign student and now that she’s back at university in England, I had to visit. So up next: adventures with Lauren and Lexi. Oh yes.