Day Eighteen was my last full day in London (sniffle) and since it was forecasted to rain for part of the day, I thought I would spend it visiting the British Museum as I hadn’t done so before. The sun was shining when I headed out the door around 9:30, catching the Bakerloo Line from Paddington to Oxford Circus and then the Central Line to Tottenham Court Road, getting to Bloomsbury a little after 10 am. Even though the museum had just opened for the day, being a holiday weekend, it was already crowded, but I slowly moved along with the herd, dropping £5 in the donation thing, entering the Great Court, buying a map (worth the £2 price), and slowly progressing into the Ancient Egypt section, where people were swarming around the Rosetta Stone. After a wait, made longer by people who either don’t know how to queue or don’t give a crap, I managed to grab a glimpse and a photo of it and moved on through to the sections on Ancient Greece and Rome and the Mausoleum at Halikarnassos.
The museum is almost overwhelming in the quantity and breadth of its artifacts and with the crowds, I knew I wouldn’t make it through everything or be able to take in everything I did see, so I decided to head for the upper floor and focus on the European rooms, ranging from Medieval Europe (AD 1050-1500) all the way to present. That section alone is big enough to make a person’s head spin, but I managed about an hour of wandering through the various exhibits before the crowds started to try my patience. It was only 11:30-ish, but since I’d skipped breakfast (unless two Jaffa Cakes count as breakfast), I was a bit peckish, so I headed back downstairs to the café for a cup of tea and a bite to eat. Afterward, I browsed through the substantial gift shop, but didn’t find anything I can’t live without; there was something I was tempted to buy, but if the remorse of not doing so gets to be too much, the whole museum shop is conveniently available online. My weather app indicated that the rain had moved through and I decided a walk along the Thames would be a nice way to spend this last afternoon in London, so I walked through Russell Square to the Tube station of the same name and caught the Circle Line to Blackfriars. After taking a moment to check in for tomorrow’s flight, I headed out into the wind and sunshine, intending to walk along the Embankment to Westminster and then turning onto Birdcage Walk to catch the Tube at the St. James’s Park station. However, not three minutes later, the sunshine was gone and was replaced by very cold almost horizontal rain and even with my umbrella and two hoods, I was soaked by the time I ducked into Temple Station, the next one down the Embankment on the Circle Line. I got off at Westminster to dash into the Tesco next to the station, hoping the rain would have let up enough to walk a bit more, but no such luck. I got back to Paddington and headed to the Pret a Manger in the station to grab something for dinner and by the time I’d done that, the sun was shining again. But, since my Toms, jeans, jacket, and scarf were all damp (my Toms were down right squishy), I decided to call it a day and head back to the flat, having spent the rest of the afternoon doing laundry and relaxing before I stress this evening over packing everything up. Like last time, I’m not ready to leave the UK, not at all, and I think I’ll leave another piece of my heart here. But this adventure isn’t quite over yet and I fly to New York tomorrow for a couple of days of Broadway awesomeness before heading home to California.