Aug 20, 2018 – Monday
We started really early to catch the Queen at Buckingham Palace. We were still late ! There were hordes of people outside the gates by 10.15 to watch the change of guard. We walked around a bit trying to find a good spot but they were hard to come by. While walking I managed to get a picture through the open gate –
We walked across to the St James Park and took a picture from there –
Around 10.45 a small posse of guards came mounted on horses. It was underwhelming to see a small group of 11 or 12 guards … They went around the road in front of the palace and then we couldn’t see what was happening as every railing had a human face peeking through it :). We found a tiny spot near one of the corners and I managed to capture a couple of pictures in between the railings.
I was wondering about how uncomfortable these guards might be under those thick coats and the fur hats as the weather was quite warm.
We lost interest after some time as the crowds didn’t allow us a clear view. We walked off towards St. James Park and sat for a few minutes on one of the benches. I spoke to Ganesh who first answered in his “posh” voice and then changed to his desi voice as soon as he knew it was me :):). He wanted to know if the Queen had asked me to stay for tea and I told him the truth – I had to turn her down as I had other urgent things to attend to. Hmmm…
From St. James Park we walked to Hyde park and for the next hour or so we just walked around Hyde park. Will post those pictures separately as I can’t even put them into a collage – they need to be enjoyed separately. We walked to the Hyde Park corner station to take the tube to Russell Square station which is where our “British Museum” walk was to start from. We took a break in between to go across the street and eat lunch. I managed to get free wifi at the Brunswick Centre where we went to get lunch and posted a blog using the free wifi. Cheap thrills as my prof would say !
There were nearly 30 people for the British Museum walk and the guide was Brian. He walked at a scorching pace to the British Museum and many of us were huffing and puffing behind him but thankfully he slowed down inside the museum. What a MASSIVE collection the British museum has – 750,000 articles are stored there. Phew ! We started with the original Rosetta stone, the replica of which we had seen in the Cairo Museum way back in 2004. The Egyptian section brought back a lot of memories from that trip to Egypt. We saw a bench that had been brought from Saqqara and also the bust of Ramses II, whose “mummy” we had seen in 2004. After the Egyptian section we went to the Assyrian section – fascinating stories and sculptures and stone reliefs.
While Brian had many stories to tell and they were all interesting, he didn’t take the group to the section on India and so at the end of the tour, Krishnan and I went to see what the India section had in store.
We were greeted by the Chola period Nataraja … and a little down the aisle, there was Hanuman. Well, our day was made :).
The India section is woefully small … not sure if it is due to a dearth of articles or just not of tourist interest. We were disappointed. There were sections on Odisha and Amaravati, maybe these were the themes for the day.
On our way out we found this stone carving from the Hoysala period (1026-1343) – if the intricate carving doesn’t blow you away, nothing will. And during the similar timeframe many other parts of the world had barbaric practices and much less finesse in carving stone or bronze.
We exited the British museum about half hour after the tour ended. Below is a picture of the impressive British Museum building.
My dear friend from KVHV, Anu, turned 50 today and the first thing I did after reaching home was to call and wish her. She was pleasantly surprised because she thought I would not remember her special birthday as I was on vacation. How can I miss it?? I wish her the very best always because she is one of the finest people I have met in my life and she doesn’t look a day older than 21 … some genes in her body have mutated with all the yoga and meditation and she has reversed her ageing process :). I passed on the wishes from the Queen too.
This day is dedicated to my dad who wanted to see the Buckingham Palace …. Appa, hopefully you saw it in spirit and enjoyed the day. Remembered you right through the day.