Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Visit to the Old Country, Part 2

Part 1 is here.

Sunday, Sept. 30, was spent in town. First stop was the Wellington Arch:

Wellington Arch 2012 09 30 01 45 02

A few gents were making their way through the arch:

Wellington Arch 2012 09 30 01 45 46

Inside the arch, up several floors, is exhibit space. One can also go out and get a good view:

View from Wellington Arch 2012 09 30 02 03 08

Nearby is Apsley House, Wellington's manor. I enjoyed the Napoleon paintings on the walls.

Apsley House 2012 09 30 06 51 40

Next stop was the monstrosity that is the British Library. For a building that houses so much good stuff, the exterior is mind-numbingly bad. I couldn't bring myself to take a picture of the entrance to the library, but here's a good contrast: in the foreground, the library; in the background, St. Pancras station.

St Pancras Station 2012 09 30 08 50 02

The rare manuscripts collection in the library is well worth the stop, however. (I was in the library around a decade ago, and the exterior was clearly so horrible that I completely forgot about it.)

The University of London proved that young people are just as stupid regardless of which side of the Atlantic one is on. Posters for the Marxist Society, proclaiming that "Capitalism is bad", and promoting a "Day of Rage" were in evidence. (I said, "Grrr. I'm raging. Happy now?")

Harrod's - particularly the food hall - seems to have been taken over by American and Japanese tourists. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that locals for the most part don't shop for food there, but it was an unbelievable mob scene.

Monday involved a train trip to Salisbury, primarily to see the cathedral.

2012 10 01 01 42 48

2012 10 01 02 10 41

Salisbury cathedral has one of the four surviving original copies of the Magna Carta. (Two are, in theory, in the British Library, but both their copies were gone when we were there the previous day.) (The National Archives in Washington, DC, displays a slightly later version of the document, and is always mobbed. In contrast, hardly anyone was around the version in Salisbury.)

The town also has a sense of humor:

Salisbury sign 2012 10 01 12 59 25
It's a long way home. And yes, that's the idiot photographer's finger in the picture.

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