"If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under." - Ronald Reagan

Friday, July 27, 2007

LONDON! Day 11: Plan B

After seeing the guards in the rain, we were thoroughly drenched. Now, originally, we were going to Buckingham Palace and then hop on a train and spend the day out at Windsor Castle - take the tours, go punting - just have a lovely time. But the British decided to make it difficult for us. Well, to be honest, not ALL the British. Just one. Arguably the most important one: the Queen. As I mentioned before, the country celebrated the Queen's birthday that weekend. And the Queen decided to spend some time at the ol' family homestead...which is Windsor Castle. No tours. So plans had to change at the last minute. We considered a different trip but decided we were really very tired and wanted to hang out, just chill a little.

We took the Tube downtown, our destination being the British Library, which is free and not gushing water. And hopefully it wasn't closed because royalty was visiting (actually, the cafeteria was closed but that was because someone passed out in line, but I suppose she could have had royal blood somewhere in her family, just to irritate me).

The library had recently opened a new exhibit called Sacred. The exhibit was free, which was the magic word, so we took a look around. The entrance was just very serene and lovely, with soft lighting and long pieces of white fabric hanging from the ceiling, reflecting the lights and the projected images of different texts. And gentle music was playing. I was captivated! So much so that I didn't see those stairs at the end. Yeah. Fell down six stairs. Way to make a graceful entrance. So typically me.

I thought the exhibit was - to use the English vernacular - brilliant. They took the three major religions and placed them side-by-side. It started with large copies of the Holy Bible, the Koran and the Torah displayed. From there, you could look through scale models of their places of worship, items used during services, ceremonial (wedding) garb, prayer books, and their respective histories. It was very interesting and really helped me see the other faiths a little clearer.

From there, we went to the other exhibits in the library, where they keep the very rare, very famous items. We saw a copy of the Magna Carta, pages from Leonardo DiVinci's notebook, illuminated (my favorite - means fancy font with pictures along the edge) manuscripts, Jane Austen's writing desk, and pages from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. The most memorable part (besides my elegant entrance) was looking at Handel's hand-written notes on the pages and listening to his Messiah chorus through headphones. That was pretty mind-blowing.

After the library, we were starting to dry out. Lunch was at a place called Pret a Manger. These are all over London and seriously good food for a price that won't make you gag. It's a deli-style place. Everything is made fresh, "no nasties" or preservatives. You pick your sandwich and such from the cases and then pay at the counter. And their chocolate brownies are rather tasty. We actually ate at this restaurant a couple times. Highly recommend it!

After lunch, we went to the Kings Cross station to take pictures. Weren't quite sure what to do after that. Remember, we had planned something entirely different. So stay tuned for our next adventure!


Debi said...

I like Plan A better....there is nothing to Plan B..... (there is nothing on this blog!)

Jessica G. said...

Yeah, sorry...pressed Enter when I meant to hit Tab so it published the blog post with just the title in place. Try it now!

Kristie said...

Sounds like a relaxing bit of time!! What a cool little treausre of a place to go and see that you hadn't even planned on!! I am glad that you enjoyed it. Can't wait to hear what happens next! Are you all feeling better over there?

Debi said...

I like plan B now. I would have enjoyed the Sacred place.... Did you ever finish off those brownies? They still look good...:)

Emily said...

you said Library. I was expecting books :(
I like books.

Interesting place this library.

Jessica G. said...

Em - no picture allowed. Duh. And last time I checked, Chaucer and Austen did write books. :P

Emily said...

you didn't talk about books! You talked about displays.
So there nanananaana:-)

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