Friday, June 27, 2014

45 Days in London: Day 4

British Museum, Covent Garden, Les Miserables

The British Museum houses so much history from around the world...Egypt, Greece, Africa, Asia, and on up to the present day. The Rosetta Stone is not to be missed. (A friend of mine reached out and touched it once, and set off all kinds of sirens and alarms. It is now enclosed in glass.)

I am not someone who ordinarily swoons over anquities, but I have to say the Brits have amassed the rockstar collection of all time! All the best stuff is here. We had planned to spend only an hour, catching the highlights, but instead ended up happily staying much longer.

My favorite was the Enlightenment Room. Floor-to-ceiling bookcases always make me feel right at home (and here they are multiple stories tall). But what really intrigued me here was the intense quest for knowledge during the 18th century, wrapping up in 1820. It was a time of searching and discovery like no other, a renaissance of knowledge and information. It became quite evident that this quest for knowledge was an important precursor to the Restoration. (Joseph Smith's First Vision took place in 1820, in my mind a literal culmination of that intense period of searching.)

The Age of Enlightenment covered seven major areas/themes: Trade and Discovery, Religion and Ritual, Ancient Scripts (including a fascinating section on translation), Classifying the World, Art and Civilization, Archaeology, and the Natural World. It was a very clear and systematic search for Truth with a capital T.

Covent Garden

From there we walked over to Covent Garden (one of my favorite London spots). It's a centuries-old marketplace straight out of Oliver Twist and My Fair Lady.

It's always loaded with street performers. Jeff got called out of the crowd, chosen to assist a magician, and he was a pretty fun foil to the performer's tricks.

Les Miserables

Later this evening we saw a fabulous production of Les Miserables. We had sky-high seats, but it didn't matter at all. I am always SO moved by Victor Hugo's incredible story of repentance and commitment to Christ. When Jean Valjean came out for his curtain call I tried to shout "Bravo!" but was so choked up the words barely came out. I am always amazed at this character's goodness, and wish I could live a life that selfless and pure. Then when I remember how initially flawed he was I am even more in awe of the Savior, both for the perfect life He led, and for the way He transforms our lives.

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