Today was to be spent "filling in the gaps" of places I wanted to see throughout the city. Before getting to that, though, I had a lovely breakfast with Laura before she left to catch her ride home.
My first site of the day was the British Library. Not only, as previously mentioned, do I love libraries and the books, but Laura had recommended I go there as well. Just as in the National Library of Scotland you needed a library pass to get into the reading room, BUT there were plenty of exhibits around that were more than interesting enough. First, I looked through a collection of London records that were being digitized. The name Housley is Welsh, so I figured there were probably some London connections in there. A quick search pulled up multiple entries. I'm not so adept at Ye Olde English, so I couldn't understand everything in these documents, but here is some information from two:
1. Peter Housley was murdered on January 29, 1692 in London. Pleasant. On February 2, 1692 there was an inquisition in which his wife, Mary Housley, among others, testified/were questioned. I couldn't tell if there was a suspect nor the conclusion.
2. On June 6, 1745, John Housley's (my grandfather's name) body was moved from the cemetery at St. Alphage, a parish church in northwest London, to St. Andrews in Holborn, where he was from.In another room I was among a collection of some of the most influential/important works I have ever seen. I can't recall a time I even saw 1 or 2originals of such things, let alone a room that I could have spent hours in. Among the collection were writings and drawings of DaVinci, Handel's drafts and scores of Messiah, the Magna Carta, and... a Gutenberg Bible! Take that, Scotland. Of course there was much more, but those were what I was most fascinated by.
I then went to take a little mid-morning break in Trafalgar Square. This was one of those places that I went to simply because you're "supposed to." I guess it's nice enough, but I don't quite get the popularity. It's right in front of the National Gallery, which I debated going in to, but I had another museum in mind.
The British Museum! I spent about 3hours here and didn't even come close to seeing everything. The place is huge. It made my feet hurt. Exhibits of note: Rosetta Stone, The Elgin Marbles, the Lindow Man, remnants of Sutton Hoo, and - my person favorite - Egyptian MUMMIES. I was looking forward to this place all week and was not disappointed. If you are ever in London, GO!
I hadn't done much shopping up to this point on my trip. I bought a few small things in Edinburgh, but I didn't quite know what to look for in London. What is distinctly London, unique, and makes a good gift? I had no idea, but I had heard about the market at Covent Garden and decided that this would be a good place to try. I was sorely disappointed. You could tell that the marketplace had the potential to be good, and from what I understand the stalls do change depending on the day, but the day I was there it was just full of cheap crap. And the shops that line the area are of that unique nature I referenced, but definitely upscale and out of my price range. So all in all, a bust.
That night I went to see Blithe Spirit at the Apollo Theatre. I had gone to the TKTS booth at Leicester Square (seriously under construction) earlier in the day and settled on this show for 2reasons: 1) I had heard my mom mention it before, so why not and 2) It was among the cheaper shows (not a musical). Traveling when you don't have a job for next year (and thus no income!) is a serious bummer. Anyway, the show was amusing, the production good, and I got a kick out of every time they said one of the character's name: Elvira. Think of how you pronounce that name. For me, the "i" is long. Oh but with a British accent is suddenly becomes El-vEEr-ah. So foreign.
Once the show was over, and it was dark out, I was able to see Picadilly Circus at night. Check that off the list.
Up next: Oxford, (not) Ohio.