19 October – London

Today was an amazingly picture perfect day and I practiced negotiating the various public transport systems to get to the City. I immediately encountered an Oyster crisis. Oyster is similar to a debit card, used on the transit system, and by far the most reasonably priced option for local travel. Unfortunately, the vending machines at the station at which I needed to board the train, provided a lot of different options, but the one that appeared to sell an Oyster did not. All that could be done would be to top off an already existing card, or purchase a ticket to ride for the day. Very confusing. We were able to purchase Oyster cards when we got to Piccadilly Circus, and could have bought them at a variety of shops, but this was not something a visitor could have known. All in all, the public transport system, outside that initial challenge, was easy to manage.

Today was a historically significant day in British history with a Saturday sitting of Parliament to take a vote on Brexit. I only mention it because the demonstrations in the City near Parliament were massive. I felt like I was back in Times Square fighting through crowds demonstrating about something else a couple of years ago. Demonstrators were still around into the evening.

Perhaps the huge crowds at that demonstration or other ones regarding climate change reduced the museum crowds. Maybe it was the glorious weather. I spent a number of hours in the British Museum. Although the Greek, Egyptian and Middle East exhibits looked tantalizing, I’ve been to the museums in Cairo, Athens, Jerusalem and New York which (obviously) don’t have the same exhibits as the British Museum, but they do cover the archaeology of the areas of the world in which they are located pretty well, and the New York museums have a lot of work from those areas. What I haven’t seen much of, though, are exhibits about Europe and in particular about England. I was curious about those areas of the museum primarily.DSC02390.JPG

Recently, I’ve been reading Edward Rutherfurd’s London again. In spite of the huge number of books I’ve never read, I am guilty of reading Rutherfurd’s books multiple times. Recently, I also re-read Rachel Kadish’s The Weight of Ink. Both books tell very different stories, but it was really wonderful to be looking at the exhibits and putting together what I was seeing there, with the stories. Later, walking around on the streets and looking at the buildings, I got even more of a perspective of those stories.

If you are reading this and in London, check out the program(me) on Sunday 20 Oct 2019 at the JGSGB – it sounds wonderful!  https://www.jgsgb.org.uk/current-programme

DSC02408.JPGOh, I almost forgot the weather. The day was indeed blissfully mild and sunny. The exception was what seemed to us to be a sudden and wild rain while we were having a wonderful glass of wine at the Museum. It was still raining when we were ready to leave, so we went into the Museum Shop, purchased two umbrellas, and of course, by the time we walked back to the exit, it stopped and the sun came back out. We actually did leave the States with rain gear but because it looked so great out this morning that we didn’t bring anything with us. Last time we do that!

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