Wednesday, July 6, 2011

There and Back Again

 Last week my daughter and I went to London: her first trip there, and my first since before she was born. We shared a flat in Fulham, about 20 minutes outside the city center, with my sister and her husband.
The view out my window

The song "One Short Day" from Wicked kept popping up in my head: we had six short days to see as much as possible.
 We walked everywhere. We started at the British Museum the day we arrived. Where the I remembered a dark entrance,  this vast space now greets you. It is the largest enclosed atrium in Europe:
So large the hordes of visitors seem small

We took a random turn and walked smack into "Ram in Thicket" from Ur, in southern Iraq.
Dates from about 2500 BC
It was the first in a seemingly endless stream of amazements, to be in the presence of places and objects we've known only through books for so long. 

London's museums are free. So the next day we began what would be our pattern throughout the week, of returning to where we left off, to take in still more. This is the Egyptian wing:

There are few guards; much of the work is within reach. You can stand nose-to-nose (or more often with the monumental works, nose-to-toe) with ancient masterpieces:

A quartet of serene goddesses
 Throughout the week, an unplanned turn, a mistake navigating, would lead us into something we'd spend the next two or three hours on. Lost at one point, we stumbled on James Smith And Sons, a world -famous, 3-story purveyor of walking sticks and umbrellas:
In business for almost 200 years
We were looking for old, for the past. We spent a great deal of time at museums. On the streets, it was often the  "unimportant" that captured our eye:
graves stones along an alley
A wonderful store sign

 1930's  ceiling at Harrods

Random street corner

Parlor window, Fortnum and Mason

 Because my sister is a Shakespeare scholar, we went to the Globe theater twice.

This was our last vista, at the end of a long day, approaching Westminster to hear evensong. It is the view from Buckingham palace, across St. James Park - the oldest of royal parks in London - to the London Eye.
We have started saving for the next trip.

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