Day 2,067 of Traveling the World | London, UK | September 26, 2023

Big cities are the bomb! We were just in London last summer for a month – what could be new this time? And of course, being a big city, there was, and always will be, new things to discover. It did rain every day of our visit, which meant we couldn’t wander around aimlessly as much as we would have liked. But London is wonderful. We visited Borough Market again, went to an organ recital, spent a day (as usual) in the British Museum, and had a few hours free of rain when we walked on the Queen’s Walk along the Thames, passing the National Theater, a skateboard park, the London Eye, the “Clink” (London Dungeon), and a million ice cream and sweets kiosks (we liked one called Dinky Donuts).

It is always meaningful to once again see people whom we met on previous trips. When we went to breakfast at our hotel, the same two chefs were there, making omelettes, eggs, waffles, and pancakes – Shanti and Daniel. We are two people out of the thousands they serve annually, but when we went up to Shanti and said hello, she immediately knew who we were, broke into a wide smile, and reached out to hug us. The next day, she brought us gifts from Goa, India – her home city…wonderful nuts and a local confectionary. So sweet and loving. Traveling is always, always, about people – they make up the wonderful cities and memories. Our fun stories, and sweet stories, are always about people – doing something silly, crazy, heartwarming, or outlandish. And this visit to London was no different. In a sense, visiting museums is getting a sense of the people from another age and delighting in their accomplishments and contributions to history. So even if we don’t see or do much, or stay very long somewhere, every different location gives us opportunities to interact – and be greatly touched – by locals.

An afternoon view of Big Ben and Parliament over the Thames.
On the right: Hungerford Bridge and Golden Jubilee Bridges. We just describe and report; we don’t name them!
Right underneath the London Eye.
The London Eye, the Thames, Parliament, Big Ben: this photo has it all.
Along the Queen’s Walk, this rustic-looking “building” appeared, and we knew it wasn’t there last summer. It is “Open Work I” and is a “slow experience” area.
When we got closer, it became apparent that it was constructed of tubes…
…that sounded like this. Peaceful and glorious!
We liked the wooden pier with a background of metal and glass buildings, and on the left, St. Paul’s Cathedral.
This is “London Pride,” commissioned in 1951 for The Festival of Britain.
Not accepting jumble??? We deduced that it meant “donations,” and it seems to be a correct assumption.
Down the street from our hotel is this pretty pub with lots of flowers.
Knowing my fate is to be with you. A feel-good banner? It is just tagged with “Waterloo,” which is near here.
No, no, we weren’t on the Jack the Ripper tour.
The beautiful interior of Southwark Cathedral, where we went to an organ recital.
The Shard was ever-present wherever we walked, as it was close to home.
This sculpture is “WE,” by Jaume Plensa. The human form is spun out of the letters and characters of seven different languages.
Riding in an Uber, we shot this while stopped at a light. It looks a bit Sci-Fi – as if an alien force had pushed up the corner of the building into a pile of debris and the force is still holding it up off the ground. Then, at some point in time, having become accustomed to its presence, the city came by and put street signs below the suspended debris.
Likely the most-sought out item in the British Museum: the Rosetta Stone.
An eagle-headed protective spirit of King Ashurnasirpal, found in the Nimrud Northeast Palace. Assyrian, 860-865 BC.
Human-headed winged lion, also Assyrian, 865-860 BC. Yes, it has five legs.
The Nereid Monument, found in Southwest Turkey, from 380 BC. Found in pieces in the 1840s, heavy stone fragments were floated on rafts down the river Xanthos to the ship HMS Beacon. This ship transported the finds to Malta before being forwarded to the British Museum for reassembly.
Head and arm of a statue of Amenhotep III, from Thebes, Karnak, 1390-1352 BC.
Mosaic panel showing Oceanus, one of the Titans, with seaweed as his beard. From Carthage, 200-300 AD. It looks strangely contemporary to us.
Outer coffin of the priest Hornedjitef, from Thebes, 220 BC.
Mummy sarcophagi.
Mummy from the Roman Period, after 30 BC. His shroud was painted and inscribed and had small amulets of gilded wood.
Our favorite item in the British Museum, from 1585. The museum calls it “a spectacular machine.” It is an automaton that announced banquets. The entertainment began with music from a miniature organ inside the hull, drumming, and a procession. The ship would travel across the table, and as a grand finale, when it stopped, the front cannon would automatically fire, lighting a fuse that would fire the other guns. WHY are items like this no longer available? Sounds like a blast – in more ways than one.

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