A few months ago, in George St Dymocks (Sydney), I bought a brilliant little pop-up map of London, so neat & small it can fit in a pocket. I’ve used it a fair bit this trip, only I misplaced it the day after my birthday, and only just found it today. So I was forced to rely on my iphone Maps (only good when there is 3G service) and what I know of London. Which isn’t that much, I have found. So my next few days in London were interesting. And iPhone battery draining.
The day after my birthday was spent packing, wishing Sarah happy birthday & bon voyage (they went to Spain!), moving my stuff around & attending a job agency interview, after which I strolled around St Paul’s Cathedral (around the building, not inside) and then totally damaged my feet by walking through Angel Islington to get to Loop, a luxury yarn store. Worth the visit, though I didn’t buy anything.
I moved from London Central YHA to Earl’s Court YHA. It’s a fair distance, involving a couple of changes on the tube, and one back-track due to me getting on the train going in the opposite direction. Earl’s Court YHA is older and quieter. It seems to have a faded feel about it, like it used to be bustling with lots of young backpackers, but not so much anymore. Earl’s Court used to be the place where all Australians living in London ended up, I think it was even nicknamed ‘Kangaroo Court’ at one stage. But these days it seems more eclectic & has a good mix of people, in my room at the YHA there was an Alaskan, 2 Americans & a Mexican.
So, the day after all the excitement of pulling a pack about half the weight I am up & down several flights of stairs and a few kilometres, I met Goran & Jean at the Natural History Museum for some nature & science. Meeting at some geologically important rocks, we went up to the exhibits that traced the history of life on earth and how the Earth was formed into the Earth we know today. We went through the exhibit backwards, but it only enhanced the time traveling experience.
Of course, what I was really after, was the dinosaurs. Maybe it’s some preset thing, but I think all children are fascinated with those giant lizards that roamed the Earth thousands of years ago. And we know they cannot get us, because they’re all dead, right? Well, the animatronic T-Rex that they have here scared the living daylights out of a small child that day. The poor little girl was screaming, covering her eyes and clinging to her mother. Who was saying “Look at the nice big monster”. I don’t know what this woman was thinking, but the poor girl is going to be scared for life. He was quite life-like, in a jerky kind of way. And it did have an unerring ability of looking at the person making the most noise. Which was the little girl screaming uncontrollably.
The Natural History Museum is simply too big to do all in one day. Not that you couldn’t, but I think it’s best taken in small amounts, that way you absorb a little more, and you don’t have to cope with kids – of which there were several hundred, all on their end of term excursion I’m guessing.
Jean, Goran & I left the museum and went and had lunch at an EAT just off Piccadilly Circus. Then I went walking, walking down to Trafalgar Square and into the National Gallery. I was really only interested in finding Van Gogh’s stuff at that point, which I did. The National Gallery has an astonishing collection, and I’m sure I will be back for repeat visits. As long as Van Gogh’s Sunflowers stays, I will be happy.