Tuesday, August 11, 2009

London Part 3

I still have quite a bit to discuss about London. Picking up from where I left off, on my last day in London I first stopped by Westminster Abbey.

I was a little surprised about how pricey admission into the cathedral was. There were no student discounts, so the full fare was 15 British pounds (~$25). Although an audio listening device was provided at no additional cost, it was still rather expensive.

Inside the abbey is a coronation chair where all English and British monarchs sit when they're being crowned. It's been used at every coronation since 1308. I couldn't take pictures inside, so I won't be able to show images.

The Abbey is also the location of many burial sites. On the ground inside the Abbey, there are slabs the size of coffins that acknowledge the body of the person lying below. Several historical figures that are buried here include Charles Dickens, Jane Austin, Sir Isaac Newton, and Charles Darwin.

London's Tomb of the Unknown Solider is also located in Westminster Abbey.

After visiting the Abbey, I made my way to the British Museum.

This museum is essentially a miniaturized version of the Louvre in Paris. It contains a hodgepodge of antiquities ranging from ancient Egypt, Greece, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. The most spectacular piece in their collection is the Rosetta Stone.

The crowd gathered around the Rosetta Stone reminded me of the crowd around the Mona Lisa in Paris. An arc of people surround the perimeter and all were trying to take snapshots. I think part of the reason for the large crowd stems from the fact that the Rosetta Stone is placed in the first room you run into after gaining admission into the museum. It is the museum's highlight, so I guess it makes sense for it to be at the forefront.

In the Egyptian exhibit there's a huge bust of Ramses II. There were also the obligatory mummies on display as well.

In the Greece exhibit, remnants of the Parthenon were on display.

After wandering into the Asian antiquities section I found this little guy.

For some reason, this guy reminds me of the Power Rangers. I feel like this monkey just morphed into his combat costume or something. Either that or he's a well-fashioned zord (most likely belonging to the yellow ranger). However, I think the Sabre-Toothed Tiger is more intimidating than this little guy. Unibrows are not intimidating. Okay, enough of the Power Rangers flashback. Onwards we go.

After leaving the the Asian antiquities exhibit, I kind of got lost and I randomly starting walking around the museum. Somehow I ended up in an exhibit featuring the oldest known chess set. It was discovered in 1831 and is carved out of walrus teeth.

I also found this violin-like instrument on display.

It supposedly dates back to 1300. The side view of this instrument I found to be much more interesting.

The British Museum had plenty more exhibits and antiquities, however, I'm only mentioning here the main highlights.

After walking around the museum for a couple hours, I decided to find somewhere to go for dinner. I stumbled into a restaurant called the Criterion. I found it from my guidebook, but it didn't mention that the place was classy. I came in horribly under dressed, wearing jeans and birkenstocks. They didn't refuse at the door though, so I just sat down and decided to have my dinner there.

For my appetizer, I got king scallops with shrimp.

Unfortunately, the scallops weren't very king size.

And for my main course I got ostrich fillets! It was the oddest thing that I saw on the menu, so I obviously just had to try it. Not even Asians eat ostrich, so I guess English cuisine is pretty daring, or probably just more sophisticated. Yeah, I'll go with more classy/sophisticated.

After I ordered the ostrich, the waitress asked me how I would like it cooked. Maybe I'm gullible, but I just glaringly stared at her, confused for a little bit, because I didn't know what my options were. Apparently it's just like ordering steak, so I ordered medium. The taste of the meat was a mix between lamb and beef. In addition, the color of the meat was very dark. By looking at it, I could barely tell it was medium. I was only able to notice after taking a bite and noticing the texture. Overall it was an interesting experience. I enjoyed the taste and if given the chance to order it again, I think I would.

Anyway, this dinner concluded my trip to London. Right after this I had to go back to the hostel to retrieve my things and then head back home to Leuven.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in this magnificent city. Even after 4 days, I didn't get close to seeing as much as I had hoped. Perhaps there will be a next time...

1 comment:

  1. Hey ! it looks amazing!! I think there are cathedrals and other places that worth only "visiting" from the outside and some money-saving. anyhow, I'm just planning my trip to London with LastMinuteTravel and wishing to find a good hotel that is in middle of all those attractions...Any suggestions?