Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Thursday, 28th September – London

You are spoiled for choice here in London when it comes to museums – I think you could live here for a year and still not see them all. But no doubt the best and certainly the most famous is the British Museum. Rick calls it “Encyclopaedia Britannica National Park”. What an incredible collection!!

We headed straight for the Parthenon Sculptures, formerly known as the Elgin marbles. These are statues and stone carvings that once adorned the Parthenon in Athens. (I suspect the name change has something to do with the long running controversy about whether to return them to Greece or not). Very evocative, with their missing heads and exquisite carving, and the glimpses they give us into a long-gone culture. From ancient Athens we wandered through battles between the Greeks and Centaurs & Amazons; sea nymphs riding the waves; Assyrians fighting lions; Anglo-Saxon warriors and mummified Egyptians. We saw 1800-year old mosaics from Halicarnassus; 2600-year old gold jewellery from Rhodes, 3200-year old terracotta figurines from Cyprus; 5000-year old stone figurines from Syria; 6000-year old ivory figurines – amongst one or two other items. We tried to focus on particular exhibits, but to get from one room to the next you pass by such fascinating displays it’s hard to make much progress. In the end we gave up and just allowed ourselves to be mesmerized. Eventually we left when our brains were full and our feet aching, with a great deal still to see on our next visit.