They taketh but not giveth back.

London Travel Blog

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Rosetta Stone

My first day in London!  My aunt Deb was on layover from India back home to Indiana, so she popped in my hostel this morning to spend some time with me before heading out.  I am staying in the Hyde Park/Notting Hill area, which she knew quite well, so we walked about while she pointed out some things and then we grabbed some food.  We just talked for an hour or so about family and what she was doing in India (getting tortured for her health as far as I can tell) and it was just so nice to see a familiar face, especially my aunt's since she lives in another state. 

She went on her way off to Heathrow and I headed back to my hostel to check into my new room.

Easter Island
  This place is packed so I have to sleep in a different bed each night - and they make you check out eating utensils/plates instead of stock them in the kitchen.  Again, not a place I'd recommend.

It was about 1:30, so I decided to do what...hit up one of many free museums of course.  I chose the British Museum because it appeared to be within walking distance of my hostel.  By the way, I paid £4 (8 bucks!) just to use the underground from the bus to my hostel the night before.  Suck.  Anyway, what appeared to be a 15 minute walk on my map turned out to be more like an hour.  Oh well, lots to see on the way.  Well, mostly interesting people.  I swear I saw Boy George.  I walked down Oxford Street, which is a shopper's haven.

From Parthenon
 

Now the British Museum is huge and I thought I'd try to pick some galleries that did not contain items similar to those I had previously seen in the dozen or so other museums I've been to, one of which was their Egyptian collection.  Every museum has one of those and I'm going to Egypt after all.  So I headed off to see a statue from Easter Island, as I doubt I'll make that place on this tour.  Afterwards I was trying to figure out what next, and I could see all sorts of books/cards, etc. in the museum shop showing the Rosetta Stone.  I thought no, Dr. Hawass already won that battle.  Well, as it turns out, no, it's still here in the British Museum! 

My excitement increased, and as I neared the area, a sea of Japanese tourists finally parted and there it was, THE Rosetta Stone.

Egyptian Mummy
  Wow!  I wasn't expecting this.  So I gazed, took pictures, gazed somemore.  For those of you who don't know, it is the piece of history that helped decipher the Egyptian Hieroglyphs.  It was written in 196 B.C.  It's a stone that has the text of an ancient decree etched on it, written in Hieroglyphs on top, Demotic in the middle, which is the script of the literate Egyptians at the time and at the bottom Greek.  It was found in 1799 in the city of Rashid (Rosetta) by Napoleon's invading army.  Due to the three texts written about the same thing side by side, the Hieroglyphs were finally decoded. 

Anyway, I know Dr. Hawass wants it back in Egypt! 

There were also fragments from the Parthenon.  They were obtained from a Lord somebody's personal collection, so I assume not from the Greeks.  The other part I enjoyed were the old items from Mesopotamia, including clay tablets with the earliest writing, Cuneiform.  We're talking 3100 BC!

The Brits also have an enormous collection of mummies, which I can only assume Dr. Hawass would like back as well. 

So there you have it, day one London.  After the "15 minute" walk today and the fact I have a lot of ground to cover tomorrow, I'm going to break down and get on the hop off/hop on bus again.  I promise to stay awake, Jen!  It'll cost me about a day's budget, but if I stick around here any longer, I'll have to forget about Italy. 

Ciao!

mswim says:
I loved the British Museum. It was the first place I visited in London since it was only like 2 blocks from my hotel. I did the Eyptian, Assyrian and Greek exhibits, all of which were amazing. I've enjoyed reading your travelogues, happy travels!
Posted on: Oct 06, 2007
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Rosetta Stone
Rosetta Stone
Easter Island
Easter Island
From Parthenon
From Parthenon
Egyptian Mummy
Egyptian Mummy
London
photo by: ulysses