Sunday offered another adventure for me, this time in London! Some friends and I took the bus into the city and set ourselves loose to fulfill any desire.
I started my day at the British Museum, which holds an ENORMOUS collection of treasures from around the world. It made me wonder why I would want to visit the places these artifacts came from, since the finest of everything appears to be in British museums, the best and worst of British imperialism, I suppose.
Many of the plaques had written donated by the Lord of —inghamshireton near each artifact. Was that Lord’s house just teeming with this stuff? Or a WWI officer bought this statue in a bazaar, or a Napoleonic soldier had this relief sawed off the building, etc etc. I actually heard a British couple whisk by me in the museum, debating something, and all I heard was the man say: “Yeah, but, we stole i’ all!”
There were whole halls displaying statues from the Parthenon, including what looked like an entire wall and column set.
After I glutted myself on museum beauties (and everyone has a point after which one cannot take in any more beauty), I decided to head to Borough Market, which I had heard was an unmissable London thing to do. But I had no map and no idea where it was in relation to the British Museum. So, I did the only thing I could do, ask the adults!
From the gift store attendant I found the tube station, and from a help/information woman I bought my ticket and found out which stop would take me to the market. I even had to switch lines! Like I always say, any transportation system is designed to be accessible to average human intelligence; no one is trying to trip you up, although I was still happy for the practice I’ve gotten on NYC subways.
I am a foodie. Let’s admit to that right now. Much of what I saw at this market greatly excited me, but at the end of the day it was really just fruit and cookies. But the market itself was beautiful, and the train whizzed constantly overhead. It was also next door to one of the oldest churches in England – Southwark Cathedral – which has its own mousing kitty.
After touring and sampling my way through the market I wandered up and down London Bridge.
Then it was time to walk to The Globe to watch Henry V! I reunited with friends and we stood together below the stage.
I couldn’t take pictures during the performance, unfortunately, but it was one of the highlights of this trip so far. I had never read or seen the full Henry V play, so I didn’t know how it ended. Jamie Parker, who played Henry, was magnetic and unforgettable. The place was packed and everyone was respectful and enjoying themselves. It reminded me of Shakespeare in Love.
Near the end of the play, I was feeling so happy and delighted that I didn’t want it to end. I stood the entire play, even though my feet hurt, and I didn’t care at all.
This is a good interview with Jamie Parker, and you get a sense of his performance just by reading his thoughts on the play:
I understand now the phrase: “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life,” (Samuel Johnson). I am also starting to realize how much of England I won’t see in my two months here. But, I have to remind myself that it is silly to think any country is seeable in two months, especially when the weekdays are filled with classes. Also, many areas, including my own Sonoma County, have places to go and things to do that I haven’t done…I just need to pretend I am a tourist on vacation. I have great markets and theaters at home!
Even so, my trip to The Globe will be a cherished memory, and I left London jazzed to return.