A Day at the Museums

Carolyn is prepped for another day out on the town, and also wanted to prove that she really does wear different outfits under that black coat.

After accomplishing all of the major objectives in London thus far, we only had a couple left to tackle. The weather looked to be more hospitable than yesterday, and we have mastered the Tube so well that Carolyn even helped an Englishman with directions. We’re even beginning to think in metric now, as in, “I’ve got to put my shoes on both my meters before we go out,” and “look at that cute little centimeter on that tree!” We’ve also memorized the days of the week now in metric.

Our first stop was to the Victoria and Albert museum, which is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design, and is named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in a can.

The entry hall had an impressive display of statues.
It also had this. I’m thinking it’s a depiction of what your gut actually looks like after a long night of drinking margaritas.
“Samson Slaying a Philistine.” They apparently did a lot of battling in the nude, until someone invented the far more practical suits of armor.
We took advantage of this visit to explore new ideas for home decorating. This would make a marvelous entryway for our house.
The thing that most impressed me about the displays in this museum is that you could get your nose right up in the ancient art, and in cases like these, see the intricacies many layers deep in the wood or limestone. Of course, if you got your nose in too deep and the dust made you sneeze, you had to casually wander away before they discovered the new decor of snot. Not that that happened to us or anything. Move along.
This is a stunningly beautiful reliquary that held old bones that people believed would protect them from the plague. I don’t think it worked because all of those people are dead now.

Okay, now I have a funny story. As we wandered about the exhibit, Carolyn in one area and I in another, I came across a little display that allowed you to take a robe off a hook and put it on. All of this was unbeknownst to her, so I of course donned the thing and walked out from behind a corner and called to her. When she saw me, her eyes grew wide as she immediately thought I was goofing around and had pulled an ancient robe off of some exhibit. For about five seconds I think she truly believed I was about to get arrested. And it wasn’t only her. Another couple was walking through the room and kept staring at me like I was a crazy person. A pretty good off-the-cuff Candid Camera moment, to be sure. I wish I’d taken a photo of her face, it was priceless.

Once her heartbeat slowed down and I proved to her that it was quite okay to wear the robe, I was allowed to strike a pose.
The other robe that was available to wear was that of a peasant. At least now she doesn’t have to do any clothes shopping. She poses in front of an old window that never held any glass. Apparently the mosquitoes were much larger back then.
I was going to buy her a life-sized embroider-by-number kit replica of this but didn’t want to have to pay for oversized baggage.
These doors are over 700 years old. I’d call it the Door of the Day, but of course there are some more door pictures coming along. This trip has made me wonder what psychological condition results in her door obsession? If anyone knows, please contact me. I want to make sure it’s not something that leads to maiming puppies later or something.
Aaaand… it’s a whole row of ’em! Carolyn spent nearly an hour just staring at these doors, in a complete rapturous hypnotic state. I’m sure she’s fine. But if anyone knows someone…
This is an actual staircase from about 1522. I really wish the Doors had sung Stairway to Heaven; that would’ve been a perfect segue.
This is from a church. There’s probably a Craig’s List ad in the Lost and Found section posted by the church asking if someone knows where their missing facade is…
This is a bust of Charles II from 1684, who was obviously a forebear of Shirley Temple.
A mirror selfie. Or maybe a couple of ghosts.
We made sure to take a picture of this room to give us decorating ideas for our bedroom.
They had an exhibit there all about the history of underwear, but you had to pay extra to get in. We didn’t feel motivated enough to see a bunch of underwear to do that. Apparently we prefer free nude statues to pay-per-view underwear.

They had a somewhat intriguing dance show in one of the art rooms. We couldn’t quite figure out what it was all about, but it was very unique and artsy.

At this point we won’t bore you with any more pictures from the museum. But it was a fine museum, to be sure, and Carolyn was also intrigued by a bunch of the fashion and metalwork stuff they had in there. I took those opportunities to rest my feet, which have undergone a lot of extra use these past couple of weeks, so it was good to pace myself.

From there, we walked over to Kensington Palace, via Hyde Park. Below are the gates to Hyde Park, the largest of the royal parks in London. You don’t want to go through it at night, when they rename it the Jekyll park.


In Hyde Park, they have this memorial to Prince Albert. From a distance it looks like a whole church. Guess you could say it’s sort of like a church in a can, which is where that saying must’ve come from.
Once through Hyde Park, we came upon Kensington Palace, which looks less like a palace from the outside then a very, very large mansion. We asked after William and Kate, but they were too snobby to meet with us.
These actual stairs have been used by kings and queens throughout the ages. Carolyn didn’t like this picture of herself and asked me to remove it, so I did.
The view of the front of the estate from inside.
The view of the gardens from the inside. Plus a tree.
The King’s Gallery
The Queen’s Gallery
I’m stairing at something.

The Kensington Palace is definitely a “B” level tourist destination, but it was still worthwhile and we learned a bit more about the monarchy and such. We were glad we stopped by.

From there we went to the Natural History Museum. Our expectations were a little high because we both like that kind of museum, even if it wasn’t particularly England-centric, with exhibits we might see in any one of many museums around the world.

Truth be told, we were both a bit disappointed. It was more like a very large science classroom for middle-schoolers. It had far more plaster models of animals than real life exhibits. Overall, a bit cheesy for our tastes. We were very glad that we went through it at the end of the day when we were both a bit tuckered anyway. Plus it was free. So we dashed through it (well, it was the end of the day, so I think it’s safe to say that “dashed” is a tiny bit of an exaggeration), saw some of the highlights, and then wandered back to the flat to soak our feet.

They did have the world’s most complete Stegosaurus skeleton, so there was that. 
They also had a life-sized plaster replica of a blue whale, so there was that too. I had been hoping for an actual skeleton when I read that they “have a blue whale!” in the literature, but we had to settle for a larger version of the whale in the Geppetto ride at Disneyland.
They did have a few other dinosaur skeletons, which are always intriguing.

And they also had some of the skulls of the knuckleheads who put this together- doh! No, this is actually a representation of many of earth’s hominid species, some of which, but not all, were our evolutionary forebears.

In the end, we had a nice day and felt that we’d made the best of it. Truth be told, made all the better because as we have found ourselves wandering through Amsterdam, and Paris, and London, feeling very fortunate to have done so. We also feel even more fortunate to see our mutual love, affection, and appreciation for each other grow and grow. We’re not only best friends, but we largely enjoy the same things and have found our synergies are even better than we expected, and we expected a lot. So, no matter what happens on the rest of the trip, it has already been an awesome one.


And of course we must close with the Door of the Day.


Note: Carolyn has complete editorial and contributory access to this blog, and does so often. This is truly a team effort, and is only written in the first person for simplicity’s sake.

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