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The Sky Garden & The British Museum

On Monday morning, Neil and I went up to the Sky Garden for a (free!) view over London.

The view below overlooks the Thames, St. Paul’s Cathedral to the right, and the London Eye to the distant left.

Below is a closer view of the London Eye.

Closer look at St. Paul’s and some of the many construction cranes in the city. (There was construction everywhere!)

Overlooking Tower Bridge and the Tower of London.

A closer look at the Tower of London. A raven’s eye view, one might say.

A glimpse at the viewing floor in the Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch. Also known as the “Walkie Talkie” building.

Afterwards, Neil and I walked to the AutoDesk office in Soho and Neil got to meet some of his U.K. coworkers.

It was a grey, drizzly day so it was a good time to explore the British Museum! We didn’t have time to see everything, so we went on a 3 hour highlight tour.

Below are some ancient Egyptian columns and a sarcophagus. The items in this room range from 2600 B.C.E. to 2nd century C.E. More information here.

A close-up of the Egyptian hieroglyphs on the above sarcophagus.

A close-up of one of the Ancient Egyptian columns.

This had me feeling homesick for my cat.

A few more hieroglyphs.

The Assyrian Lion Hunt Reliefs were one of my favourite exhibits. Created in 645-635 B.C.E, these sculpted scenes graced the walls of a palace belonging to an Assyrian King in what is now northern Iraq. More information here.

Parthenon sculptures. The Parthenon was built in 447-432 B.C.E. as a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena. These sculptures, depicting figures from Greek mythology, once decorated the outside of the building. More information here.

There were two of these winged human-headed lions, dated from the 11th-8th century B.C.E. Together, they  flanked the entrance to an Assyrian palace. More information here.

Easter Island statue. Created around 1200 C.E. More information here.

Carved jade turtle from 1600 C.E. More information here.

These chess pieces were discovered on the Scottish Isle of Lewis. They were carved between 1150 and 1200 C.E. out of walrus ivory and whale tooth. More information here.

You’ll notice that the pawns lack any human features. Social commentary?

More chessman and some other Scandinavian gaming tokens, as well as a belt buckle.

Below: A helmet from the Sutton Hoo ship burial. 18 burial mounds were discovered in 1939 at Sutton Hoo, in Eastern England. The artefacts date from 610-635 C.E and were so extraordinary that it is believed the burial commemorated the death of a very high-ranking Anglo-Saxon man, even a King. The items serve as a time capsule into the Anglo-Saxon world. An impression of a 27-foot long ship was discovered in the ground. For more information, check out the British Museum’s page here. The helmet itself had been crushed into 500 pieces, and was painstakingly pieced back together.To the left, you can see a glimpse of a re-creation that shows what the helmet would have originally looked like.

An automated, mechanical galleon from 1580. The ship is a clock, the cannons fire, the figures move, and the ship propels forward. More information here.

Egyptian scroll.

We barely even scratched the surface of all the amazing exhibits that are in the Museum. A return trip is definitely necessary.

We also paid a visit to the Museum of London on Sunday, after we went to the Tower of London. Below are some of the exhibits that we saw there.

Below, a printed text of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales from 1542.

I wish I could remember what this was. Tiles? It was made of stone. I thought the faded roses were interesting.

Below is part of a painting of London as seen from Southwark, c. 1630. This is the earliest known painted view of London. St. Paul’s Cathedral is shown below as it was hundreds of years before Christopher Wren rebuilt it with its distinctive dome. It was still an impressive and imposing building.

Below is the other half of the painting. London Bridge is shown below. If you look closely to the end of the bridge closest to the viewer, you can see heads on pikes. Notice how London Bridge used to be covered with buildings! To the right you can see the Tower of London.

This was the first time I’ve seen one of these Victorian bikes in real life. They were actually real, and not just cartoons?

Anne Fanshawe’s dress, c. 1751. Made from brocaded silk. This would be a good way of making sure nobody sits on the bus beside you.

After the British Museum, Neil and I went to the British Library. The Treasures of the British Library collection was a real highlight. Unfortunately, you’re not allowed to take photos inside. We browsed: Jane Austen’s writing desk and her handwriting; a journal belonging to Leonardo da Vinci; one of only four copies of the Magna Carta; a Gutenburg Bible; an incredible exhibit on the art of book making throughout history; letters from Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots, Winston Churchill (authorizing the Monuments Men); prints and texts from all major world religions; handwritten lyrics from the Beatles on a birthday card; original scores by Mozart, Beethoven. Handel and others; Thomas Moore’s Utopia; Beowulf; and all other kinds of historical documents. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside. But the free exhibit was definitely a favourite part of the trip, and it’s a must if you’ve ever studied or been entertained by literature.

That night, Neil and I also attended Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre. It was my first musical, and I really enjoyed it! Again, no pictures, but sometimes it’s nice to just sit back and experience an outing and not worry about documenting it.

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