Saturday, 26 August 2017

Got up several times during the night, but think I eventually got some good sleep before starting the day. Ironed some shirts, sent a payment to American Express, then was ready to visit the British Museum.

Has been helpful to have a U.K. American Express since it makes it easier to make contact payments by holding the card next to the payment device. I can’t do this with my U.S. cards here and required to sign the receipt before the payment is complete. I also can use this card for the underground, but it is more cost-effective to use an Oyster card to get a travel discount. The Oyster card can be topped off in many locations and used for most transportation in the city.

When I arrived at the British Museum there was a long line to get in. The gate attendant asked if I was traveling alone, and when I said I was, he directed me to another line (with no people in it) that got me in the museum within a minute. I took a picture of the long queue of people waiting to get in. Was almost like being a VIP.

Front of British Museum

Long Queue

Took a picture of a sign, then noticed people not paying any attention to the sign. Guess I prefer to play by the rules.

The museum is vast. But I guess “vast” would be an understatement. I thought the Victoria and Albert Museum had a large collection. This one holds some of the same type of collections, but so much more. Wikipedia says, “… dedicated to human history, art and culture. Its permanent collection, numbering some 8 million works, is among the largest and most comprehensive in existence and originates from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present.”

The “lobby” was the first thing that got my attention. Well-designed and functional. On the ground floor I walked through some of the galleries and looked for items that were unique. Having been through similar museums in other countries, I had seen many versions of what was on display here. Though, having the collections displayed in a new venue helped keep my attention.

Egyptian Statue

British Museum “Lobby”

After about an hour I was ready to take a break. There was a nice restaurant on the third floor so went up there to sit and have some tea. I would have liked to have had a salad but all they were serving was tea and treats. So much for having just a salad. Darn!

Earl Grey Tea and Victoria Sponge Cake

There were two items that I wanted to see before leaving. The Rosetta Stone and the Lewis Chessmen (or Ulg Chessmen). My friend Mary, from Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, told me about them when I was there last October.

Lewis Chessmen: Wikipedia: “A group of distinctive 12th-century chess pieces, most of which are carved in walrus ivory. Discovered in 1831 on Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, they may constitute some of the few complete, surviving medieval chess sets.” Most of the pieces are in the British Museum (pictured below) and 11 of the pieces are at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

Rosetta Stone: Wikipedia: Is a granodiorite stele, found in 1799, inscribed with three versions of a decree issued at Memphis, Egypt in 196 BC during the Ptolemaic dynasty. The top and middle texts are in Ancient Egyptian using hieroglyphic script and Demotic script, while the bottom is in Ancient Greek. Thus, was the key to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs. (Its dimensions are about 4′ x 1′)

Rosetta Stone

The museum was going to close soon and not being one who likes to be ushered out of a building, I left for home. (Always good to know when to leave. Appropriate for visiting museums and visiting friends and family too.)

One other thing I’ve been wanting to do was to get my glasses adjusted. I sat on them a couple of months ago and have had to keep adjusting them on my face so they aren’t crooked. Found a nearby Boots Optician shop and they made some adjustments – though they were concerned that it might break the frames. My sunglasses have the same perception, which is only really needed to read anything up close. I could use “cheaters” reading glasses, but then I’d have to take on and off when I wanted to use my phone. Think I should order a spare pair of glasses soon?

After getting home and taking a shower, I worked on my blog, texted some friends, then had something to eat before bed.

Tomorrow I’m meeting up with Zsolti and planning to visit Kew Gardens near Richmond.


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