Tuesday, 7 June 2011

We're Tourists, Let's Get Trapped

We chose to stay in the Victoria Station neighbourhood for our time in London, as it obviously makes the most sense to me to stay as close as possible to central travelling lines. It was a great spot, and our B&B was everything that I hoped it would be: a tall row house on a good street, clean, but was crumbling just enough to mean that we could afford to stay there.

It was shabby chic, if you will.

The breakfasts were also dynamite.

Since it was just after twelve o'clock when we checked in, it was determined that we needed to get our London on and stat. And since Victoria Station happens to front onto a little avenue called Buckingham Palace Road, we decided to follow the grey cement path to its promised namesake.

Except we got sidelined immediately because passing Victoria Station meant we also passed a Subway (the fast food chain) and Dan's eyes glossed over like a kid on Christmas morning. It has been a year and a half since he'd sunk his chompers into a sub (even though, yes we know there's three in the whole of Switzerland) and we had to immediately stop so he could get his fix. It was worth it.

Once that craving was satisfied, we continued on our way to Buckingham Palace where I exclaimed with giddy wonder: "It looks bigger on t.v., but more elaborate in person. LOOK AT THE GUARDS." Then I wanted to drop-kick all the tourists who were pressed up against the gates trying to get pictures. Get out of my shot! Get out of my shot! 


And the Queen Victoria memorial in front of the palace was really quite impressive.


Once we finished seeing my sight, it was time to move on and cross a 'must-do' off Dan's list, which was to see the British Museum. So, can I get a show of hands of anyone who doesn't find museums interesting? Or is it just me? Because I really, really, don't. And I'm not talking about interactive displays where one can walk through preserved buildings or historic sites to view artifacts and get a history lesson, because I find those types of exhibits exceedingly interesting. I am talking about straight-up 'old stuff behind glass' museums.


That said, I'm not so uncouth as to not be aware that the British Museum boasts the most extensive chronicle of Western civilization, so I was open minded to the idea that maybe this museum wouldn't be totally dull.


Highlights for me personally were the Egyptian mummies, the squashed head, the body that was buried a 1,000 years before the pyramids were built, and the Bog Man--that poor dude who way back in B.C. or the turn of A.D. either found himself on the wrong end of the sacrifice ritual, or playing poker with some truly unorthodox brutes. Also, I enjoyed the reading room. So basically, I liked all the dead bodies and the books.

The picture on your left is that of a squished head wearing jewels.
I'm not sure who the skeleton belongs to. This obviously isn't the preserved body, or the Bog Man.
Sorry skeleton, I can't remember you.

Other sights were interesting, but I just couldn't summon the appropriate amount of awe when looking at old Roman coins, the Greek frieze, Egyptian sculptures, or old pottery. Obviously I appreciate the fact that these amazing artifacts (because yes, they are amazing) have been preserved, but there's something about them being removed from their original landscape that makes the whole viewing experience really underwhelming for me. Go ahead and judge me now, I know you want to.

After two hours in the museum, we decided to find somewhere to eat and decided that fish and chips seemed like the obvious choice. I picked a pub that was right on a busy tourist road but Dan was skeptical.

"This is going to be a tourist trap with mediocre food."

I shrugged my shoulders, "But we're tourists. Let's get trapped."

Not the pub.

Then we went in and dined on mediocre fish and chips, surrounded by other tourists. It was a greasy pleasure that I washed down with ale AND Pimms. After that, we decided to walk off the gut-ache that only comes after consuming grease and alcohol and we jumped in the tube and got out at Westminster Station to marvel at Big Ben as the sun started to dip down in the sky.


When I listened to the sombre seven rings of the bell, made Dan pose in front of a red phone booth, and heard a little boy say in the cutest little accent: "But mummy, I don't want to share," my face split into a huge grin as I realized: Bloody hell, we're in London!


mom said...

Love your pictures Cait. It looks as though you had great weather. Two weeks today....yaaaaaayyyyy!
Love mom

T said...

Love the pictures!!! Is there more to come still?!

I'm 1/2 with you on the museums. I'm not a fan of stopping and looking at every little thing behind glass and am a bit of a pessimist in that I have to think that a lot of the things they have locked up in museums are wrongfully stolen from other indigenous peoples. That being said I do enjoy taking a walk around and learning what I can--but I probably would have been read to go after an hour!

I much prefer to stand in awe of an ancient building where I can touch the stone or walk through an old site and imagine what used to happen there hundreds of years ago.

Habebi said...

Love, LOVE this post. I felt as if I was walking along side you. Then I looked up and that bubble burst lol. I can understand the museum thing, though in the Louvre and Musee d'Orsey I was pretty giddy. I guess it just depends on what's in said museum. I think it's like shopping for me, I need to know what I'm looking for- I can't go and just look for the sake of looking.

Fantastic pictures as always Hun! I am inspired to go snap some photos myself! Havent had that feeling for awhile I have to wait for a new lens though. Ah well, good things come to those who wait right? ;-)

Habebi said...

Ps- you look fabulous in that shot in font of Big Ben and the House!

Ais said...

I think that the little boy you heard, was little Aislinn reincarnated!

Caitie said...

Mom--it wasn't too bad, the weather. I mix of London rain and sunny breaks spread out while we were there.

T--More to come! The thought of how the displays got to the museum didn't occur to me, though of course you're right. I just think looking at old pottery would be more interesting if I was also looking at it inside the little hut where it was discovered. I'm terrible.

Habebi--You're totally right! "Can't look for the sake of looking". I think that sums it up for me too. And thanks for the compliment :-)

Ais--He TOTALLY was little Aislinn. Though, he wasn't carrying a pink purse stuffed full of pilfered goods lifted off his siblings. He still has a ways to go before he's as evil as little Aislinn was/is ;-) haha

Ais said...

Poor little sod. So much to learn. I suppose I could lend him my old pink purse to get him started.

Caitie said...

Ais--Do my eyes deceive me?! Did you just say you would 'lend' something? Do you mean you would...share?? Holy crap, I think a pig just flew by the window.

Ais said...

No, youre eyes do not deceive. I only share/lend things when they have become of no use to me anymore. That pink purse served its purpose many many years ago. It did a good job, but now i can pass it along to someone else in need. Some other non-sharer in training :)