Monthly Archives: June 2013

Studying Human History at the British Musuem

The British Museum completely blew my mind. It’s amazing and has become my favorite museum ever because it houses so many artifacts from so many ancient civilizations.

I spent a lot of time in the Ancient Egypt gallery taking in all the mummies and their sarcophagi, huge granite statues of Amenhotep III, statuesque busts of Ramesses II and, of course, the Rosetta Stone. The museum has the largest collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities outside of Cairo (and I won’t even begin to ponder the hows and whys of this). The etchings in the stone are still very visible. The mummies were wonderfully well-preserved. It feels as if you are truly stepping back in time.

Another vast collection I enjoyed was the Greek and Roman galleries. They included many artifacts from different societies, such as the Etruscan, Minoan, Mycenaean and more. When you enter a room, you never know what you’ll find. There were wall carvings depicting scenes of battle that lined entire hallways. There were floor-to-ceiling slabs of ancient buildings. Intricately carved marble statues were scattered throughout the wing. All were simply amazing!

I could’ve spent hours and hours (and I did) in The British Museum and still not covered everything. There are so many things I skimmed past or missed completely because there’s an exorbitant amount of things that call for your attention. It is definitely worth going back to again and again to discover new artifacts and revisit old favorites.

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B-Boys Dancing in the Streets

I watched some busking b-boys in action one night as I returned to my hostel near Piccadilly Circus. Three guys were doing a choreographed breakdancing routine for a crowd of about 50 people. It was pretty great and a change of pace for me.

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In and Around Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square, one of the major tourist hubs in central London, is an interesting cross between a concrete jungle, buskers area and museum entrance. On a warm day, I would’ve liked to sit in the sun and people watch. However, the biting cold encouraged me to head into The National Gallery, where I spent hours soaking up the art and culture.

With more than 23,000 pieces, you will not be bored and are bound to find something you enjoy even if, like me, you’re not well-versed in the arts. Despite my lack of knowledge on the subject, I extremely enjoyed wandering through the galleries to explore all the paintings and artists.

What I discovered during my time in The National Gallery is how much I missed seeing all of this history and culture. During my travels, I have not spent much time in museums, preferring to stay on the move and enjoy the outdoors. I did not realize how much I missed the antiquity and reverence that comes with artifacts, artwork and history.

Even after spending hours roaming the halls of The National Gallery, I quickly went around the corner to the National Portrait Gallery to see what could be seen before they closed for the day. This gallery houses paintings and busts of famous Brits throughout history. It was a lot smaller than The National Gallery, and with this came a more intimate feeling about the place.

Having spent the entire day on my feet and walking, I was ready for a break and looking for a bite to eat. I found Little Frankie’s on Whitehall, which reminded me of a New York-style Italian diner. When I saw that they had free refills on soft drinks, I decided to give it a go. If there’s one thing that annoyed me the most during my travels, it was having to pay for each beverage I ordered. It’s extremely uncommon to offer free refills outside of the U.S. so when I find someplace that does it’s like striking gold!

I decided to go with something simple that couldn’t be mucked up – a burger, fries and a Coke. The portion was big and the burger was tasty. There were lunchtime deals that helped keep the cost down. I even treated myself to some dessert – a brownie sundae. It was delicious!

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