Monday, June 21, 2010

The London Experience - Part Three

  You know that anticlimactic feeling you're having right now, after reading part two of this blog? The whole "The audition's over, so now what?" feeling? Yeah, I had that same feeling on Monday the 14th.
  It took me a while to rouse that morning. I was depressed, exhausted from lack of sleep, and I had no plan for the day. All I knew was that the weather was beautiful, and I didn't want to waste my last day in London feeling sorry for myself. I decided, after looking at a map of the Tube system, that I'd head up to Notting Hill and then see where the wind blew me from there.
  A short while later, I stepped out of the Notting Hill Gate stop into the sunshine. The goal was to find Portabello Road, which runs straight through the middle of the neighborhood and was famously featured in the "Notting Hill" movie.
  The area immediately surrounding Portabello Road is very colorful and chock full of antique shops. Really a feast for the eyes. In the middle of marveling at all of this (one shop featured nothing but antique sewing machines!) I walked into the middle of the big street market. If you've ever seen the movie "Notting Hill," you might remember a scene where Hugh Grant walks through the market, with all its fresh fruit and flowers, to the tune of "Ain't No Sunshine." I thought of this scene right away, and then realized I actually had that song on my iPod. So, I cued it up and did my best Hugh Grant strolling impression. I had the biggest grin on my face walking through that market, and it helped to lift my spirits.

                                Hugh Grant doing his best Hugh Grant

  After I was done exploring those colorful streets, I got on the train and headed further north, where I hopped back off at Baker Street. One of my great literary heroes, Sherlock Holmes, used to call 221b Baker Street home. This address was, of course, pure fiction, never existing in reality, but it was fun to see the neighborhood that Conan Doyle had in mind when he wrote those novels.

                                     Jeremy Brett, the best Holmes ever

  Right around this time, I got incredibly lost. Again, I was operating with no map, so it wasn't a surprise. Never once did this concern me. London is incredibly easy to navigate, and it wasn't too long before I happened upon another Tube stop.
  I decided then that I'd pay the British Museum a little visit. It wasn't too far from where I had ended up, and I found myself standing in front of its grand stone columns about fifteen minutes later.
  Museums are a favorite haunt of mine, and I especially like free museums. Throw in some world famous artifacts, and I'm practically salivating. After entering the building and being totally in awe of the "Great Hall," I was floored to find the first display was the Rosetta Stone. The actual Rosetta Stone. Not a copy. The importance of that piece can't be understated. Seeing it in person made the hair on my neck stand up.

                                                The Rosetta Stone

  The size of the museum was impressive, and the array of artifacts from around the world was mind boggling. Egyptian, Greek, Polynesian, South American, Asian. Room after room. I spent the majority of the afternoon eagerly darting from one exhibit to the next. Next time I'm back, I'll be sure to take my good camera and capture some images of these amazing relics.
  One of the best parts of the whole museum, though, was the library room. It was a massive two-story space, seemingly endless in length, with floor to ceiling books. It had hardwood flooring, dark wooden fixtures, and various busts, statues and cases throughout. Between some of the books on the hundreds of shelves lay artifacts from around the globe. It was like some kind of giant-sized study you might imagine Indiana Jones having. I never wanted to leave that room. You could literally SMELL the history. When I stepped closer to look at the titles on the worn spines of a group of large books, I saw that they were a complete set of Aristotle's writings on history. Amazing. You could probably spend many years of your life reading the books in that place and never see a fraction of what was there.
  By the time I left, the museum was closing. It was pouring rain outside, and I didn't have an umbrella, but I didn't care. I walked a few blocks in the warm English downpour, and reminisced about the past three day's events on the Tube ride back to Hammersmith. What an amazing place. What sights I had seen in such a short amount of time. I even got to act on a London stage. Life is unpredictable.

  And wonderful.


  1. As usual Brian, your life is a wonder to experience at second hand. 1st person must be overwhelming at times, but come the end of it you are one person out of a multitude who will have very few regrets as to how he spent his time.

  2. I've been incredibly blessed.

  3. Sorry you didn't feel to good about your's always worse then you think it is. But I'm glad you had a fun time touring around london!