Saturday, July 01, 2006

Day 8 - The museums

For people who have forgotten, this is an account of my UK trip, and this is my third day in London.

So I met Nilesh early in the morning, right after breakfast. Nilesh had spent 2 more days in Edinburgh after WWW and he was returning that afternoon so was in London for a few hours. He had got pine cones for me from the yellow hill close to Edinburgh, and also a seashell from the Edinburgh beach for my friend who collects soil (Thats Meghana). It felt very nice to finally have some company while roaming around, and we went to see the change of guards at Buckingham palace.

Unfortunately, entry to the palace is only in August, so we had to be satisfied with standing with more than a 1000 people, trying to see the change of guards from outside the palace. The guards do some marching thing, and then they play a band, and then some more marching - a few guards on horses, blah blah. It was a cute sight to see soo many people stand and watch 50 men marching, and commenting on how the traditions have been maintained so well in the monarchy. :))

After that, Nilesh went off to catch his flight, and I went to Harrods, which was HUGE !! It was soo huge, that I didn't even cover the whole place in an hour (and I was just walking through the damn place - not really window shopping). I obviously spent quite some time looking at all the chocolates available, but everything was too expensive. I instead had a Danish pastry and a cheese croissant from there - which was an interesting and inexpensive lunch. Also saw a LOT of designer wear from Armani and Gucci to other designers who I hadn't heard of. I also spent some 30 minutes trying to buy a lipstick for my mom, but all the lipsticks were either in pink or 1 standard brown shade which I didn't like. (There were some lovely brown shades in liquid gloss, but my mom doesn't like that).

From there I went off to the Victoria and Albert museum which was gorgeous. Saw their paintings and silverware and stained glass displays, and brass-work and a few others. From the beautiful glass display (a very very modern chandelier made of green and yellow glass snakes) to the temple gates, everything was very beautiful. And then I saw David. Michelangelo's David. Huge. Mindblowingly gorgeous. Everything else paled in comparison. Out of words.

Went to the Science Museum from there, which was even better, if thats possible. Saw the 100 greatest inventions of the last century (including the printing press, the XRay machine, cars, trains, the atom-splitter, the earliest computers ...), also saw the History of computing and the History of Math. Then went to the "Who Am I" exhibition which tried to answer questions like "what makes human beings different from other species", "what makes you different from me", "what is consciousness" etc. When I had seen only 10% of what I had wanted to see, it was museum closing time, and I had to reluctantly return.

Back to the hostel for a quick dinner, and I was off to Picaddily Circus this time. A lot of beautiful people, clubs with all hot-looking people waiting in a line to be admitted, a lot of pubs (including one called Cheers), bright lights, interesting shops, flashing billboards and neon signs... seemed like a very "hip" place to be.

Came back to the hostel at 11 pm, very tired, but also very happy and excited to be in such a beautiful place, and was off to sleep, planning all the things to do on my last day in London.

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