Tuesday, July 8, 2014

45 Days in London: Day 15

The British Library, Primark, The Red Shoes

 The tube stop for the British Library is Kings Cross/St Pancras. Immediately outside to the west is the St. Pancras international train station. Oh. My. Word. This is such a beautiful building. One of the most amazing ones we've seen here. It reminds me of something you'd see in Prague. These photos don't do it justice, but we tried....

The British Library, on the other hand, is not in a very spectacular structure, and consequently doesn't appear on most tourists' lists of must-see attractions. But for somebody like me, this is the real treasure trove of London—far more valuable and impressive than the crown jewels. I could have stayed all day! Note the photo at left: The bench inside the main entrance is an open book...and a ball and chain. Yes! if you're going to be a slave to something, let it be books!

The collection of original documents is astounding: Handwritten manuscripts of original music by Mozart, Handel, Tallis...and the Beatles. Original drawings by Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Dürer. Handwritten novels by Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, and Charles Dickens (whose handwriting looks a little like my grandmother's).  It would be very easy to spend all day here, immersed in rare documents. Unless, of course, you have a 15-year-old with you...in which case you spend about an hour, then he'd to...

Primark! The missionaries told us they got their smart-looking floral skinny ties at a discount fashion outlet called Primark...for just two pounds! Amazing. (Tube stop: Marble Arch). Mr. Cool picked up a couple for himself (one just like Elder Fullmer's), and a sweatshirt and a pair of jeans. Score!

In the evening we saw a restored print of a beautiful film based on a Hans Christian Anderson tale: The Red Shoes. The colors, the set design, and the ballet were all amazing. The story? A little like Anna Karenina.

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