2019 Day 11 – British Museum

And thus the birthday week of Chris concludes, with….his actual birthday.

Still celebrating, albeit at a much more sedate pace, we train back into London for a day of yum cha and culture: our afternoon is set aside for the British Museum. London is looking fabulous in the sunshine.

First stop, retracing our steps to a rather delicious yum cha a couple of years back. Google photos is rather clever at this sort of detective work: correctly classifying shots by type, then exact location so that one can retrace one’s steps. If only one had thought to look up if the restaurant was still there, first, it would have been a much more successful process. 😂

Not to worry, Google rescues us again with reviews: a top rated, much awarded yum cha is mere metres away.

The reviews prove well founded, with delicate handmade dim sum – most yum. We even find a new favourite, a hitherto untried beef and ginger dumpling.

Fed and watered, cultural pursuits call. We had a failed attempt to tour the museum a while ago but we’re much more successful today.

There’s days of exploration to be had here, but it’s hard to go past the Eyptian, Roman and Ancient Greek displays which are extensive and cleverly catalogued by timeline.

Soon we’re deeply immersed in cultures lost in time. I’m fascinated by the ancient Egyptians, a solution driven people if ever I saw one: like your earthly stuff and worried about leaving it all behind? We’ve got a solution for that: you can take it all with you you into eternity. Worried that you might have to get your hands dirty with domestic chores in the afterlife? No problem, we’ll made effigies of your servants, they’ll take care of that for you. Love your pets to bits? Yep, we have a solution for that too.

The ancient Greeks and Romans meanwhile focused on power, form and beauty.

Deeply impressive are the friezes from the Parthenon, the subject of much debate between modern day England and Greece. The latter want them back, the former have struck a claim under the age old “finders keepers, losers weepers” defence. It’s an interesting debate – ownership vs preservation.

Our last room might well be the most interesting: the Age of Enlightenment room, formed in the 18th century when mankind became introspection, pursuing the endless quest of “why”. It’s a magnificent display covering the natural world, the birth of archaeology, art and civilisation, ancient scripts, religion and ritual, trade and discovery, and of course, classifying it all. Amazing! I could have lost a week just in this room alone.

Eventually, we’re spent. A quick stop for coffee and cake end the day before our train ride home.