[Continued from here.]
We shower with lemon dish soap, and catch a series of buses to the British Museum, which is impressive on several levels: the significance of the artifacts within, the amount of trust they place in tourists, and the breadth and depth of imperial arrogance it took to steal them and haul them back to London. Simply amazing. Becky’s not usually into museums, but a friend sold her by saying it a museum full of “actual things.”
The water was “delightfully still.”
This place is filled with cool stuff. Cleopatra is here, yuguise!
Yeah, that’s part of the Parthenon. The British ambassador chiseled the friezes off and had them shipped back to London. In broad daylight. Okay, the story is a little more complicated than that, but still. London? Is that really the best place for these things?
Then we walked across the street for proper afternoon tea. I read a book about sandwiches; Becky read who knows what.
We like to walk places. We visited several palaces, churches, cathedrals, and other amazing architectural wonders. It turns out Christopher Wren is responsible for most of the ‘look’ of old London, having designed many of the major landmarks, and dozens of churches.
We wandered briefly through the warren of little alleys that is the Courts of Justice, saw the original (and very wee) Twinings Tea Shop, and captured a score by the castellated roof of the Templar Church.
It’s actually illegal to leave the country without a phone-booth photo. They check at customs.
Today was a day for a pub crawl. Guided by our good friend Rick Steves, we tried to visit as many varied specimens as we could, and sample their wares. First stop was…some pub with really high ceilings. We have no record or memory of the name of this place, but it looks incredible, doesn’t it?
Next stop: Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, a pub which was established in 1538. That’s right, they’ve been serving P’s and Q’s here for almost half a millennium. Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Alfred Lord Tennyson all had favorite drinking rooms here. The beer was good; the fish and chips, not so much.
Crawling along, we stopped at the Black Friar, which dates from 1900 or so.
We walk around St. Peter’s Cathedral (another design from Mr. Wren, who it turns out is buried here) and Paternoster Square, and through the banking district to London Bridge for some sunset.
Then back to crawling pubs. Our final stop for the night was the Counting House, which used to be a bank in the days of lavish banks. Since the invention of the ATM, banking has moved out of these spaces, making room for spectacular pubs with lots of teeny tiny pies.