Wednesday, August 6, 2014

45 Days in London: Day 44

The Home Stretch Marathon

This was the day we tried (and failed) to check off all the remaining items on our list before we leave London. I'll just make a quick list:

One last breakfast at My Old Dutch: Dutch pancakes topped with smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, another topped with fresh lemon juice and powdered sugar, yet another with bacon, tomato, and romaine. Ah, the possibilities are endless!

We also took one last peek inside the church across the street. 

The Holocaust Exhibit at the Imperial War Museum (An incredibly sobering and emotional experience. You leave determined for nothing like that to happen again...yet terrified that it potentially could. Especially effective is the way they set the stage, showing conditions in Germany, and the ways racism and discrimination grew for five years before Hitler came into power.)

Sir John Soanes Museum If there's a classy version of a hoarder, this is it. (Famous 18th Century architect whose entire house is now a museum. The house has never changed since his death. You see fragments and details from great architecture through the ages, from the Egyptians, the Greeks and more. It was fun to see what inspired him, and try to understand his creative process. I especially loved that there were floor-to-ceiling bookcases in every room of this fascinating house.)

Heperian Museum (Right through the park, directly opposite John Soanes' house, is this 18th century surgical museum.) I had no idea what to expect. Most fascinating—an entire roomful of glass jars, stacked five shelves high—showing specimens and dissections. There are all kinds of animals—from a baby hyena to an alligator to a kangaroo. Pieces of humans are preserved as well—including organs (liver, lung, pancreas, etc.) and every stage of a developing fetus, month by month, all preserved in formaldehyde, looking as fresh as if they were taken yesterday.

An Art Installation at the Tower of London commemorating the 100th anniversary of World War I. There is a red ceramic poppy "planted" for each Briton who died in the war...over 1.6 million in total, spilling out of the tower, surrounding the walls and flooding the grounds. The quote accompanying the exhibit says, "Blood Swept Land and Seas of Red." Sobering.

Final walk to the BFI. Goodbye, London Eye. Goodbye, Big Ben and Houses of Parliament. Goodbye, St. Paul's. Goodbye, Tower Bridge and River Thames. We'll miss you.

Dinner at Rocca. Back to our favorite Italian restaurant for a parting dinner with our co-director and his family.

Then it was time to pack.
We realized this city is truly inexhaustible. It doesn't matter how long you stay here, I don't think you could ever run out of wonderful things to see and adventures to discover.

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