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Thursday, April 20, 2006

London

We’re staying at 22 York Street, a lovely B&B just off Baker Street in London. Of course it’s foolish to try to make a dent in the to-do list when one has only a short stay in London, but we did enjoy the little we were able to see. This was my fourth time in London, but it was Barbara’s first.

We started out at New London Architecture, which provided a huge scale model of all of London along with an overview of architecture around the city (not to be confused with The City).

Otherwise, museums were the highlight:
The Wallace Collection (the museum, not the band) was new to both of us, but the British Museum was an old friend of mine. I had to revisit the Egyptian Collection, especially the Rosetta Stone, as they were the source of a life-changing experience for me, kindling my interest in ancient Egypt and my decision to study the Middle Egyptian language, best known for its writing system (hieroglyphics) and holding a continuing fascination for me for the past 38 years.

The newly renovated British Library provided a couple of first-rate exhibits, one on the history of printing and another containing many dozens of historically important books from around the world.

We tried to see the Jewish Museum, but unfortunately I had forgotten that it was still Passover, so they were closed. Sigh.

The National Gallery was of course much too large to see, so we contented ourselves primarily with the Impressionists and related artists: Monet, Van Gogh, Pissarro, Seurat, and the like.

No time for either Tate or for the V&A, unfortunately.
A totally amazing structure next to St. Pancras Station is currently being renovated. Check it out the next time you’re in London.

Since we’re in London, we couldn’t pass up going to theatre at least once. We saw Smaller, starring Dawn French, a black comedy about all-too-familiar family dynamics. Reasonably good. A bit predictable, but that’s because it’s so true-to-life.

We also met up with our Norwegian friend Elin, who was coincidentally in London at the same time as we were. She shot a lot of photos, including this one of me.

Since we’re staying right by the Baker Street station on the Underground, we though of paying a small visit to the Sherlock Holmes Museum and to Regent’s Park. We changed our mind about the former, since the description made it clear that it wasn’t worth the $11 admission, but we did enjoy our walk in the lovely Regent’s Park.

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