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Everything in Here is Stolen

Posted by Heliocentrism on November 25, 2017

Tuesday, August 8th – Tuesday August 15th

Hey, isn’t this part of the Parthenon in Athens?

Museum Heaven

Since starting this trip, I have begun a love for museums that I’ve never had before. Maybe it’s because a museum visit takes very little planning. I can show up, stay as long as I like, and even have lunch there. Museums are usually very near to public transportation. It’s just super easy and fun, especially if there is a good audio guide involved.

London has the best museums I’ve seen so far. DC has some good ones too, but London has more. Most of them are free and most come with audio guides. And London has all the best stuff. Some would say, too much of the best stuff.

Mark and I were looking at things in a room in the British Museum when a man walked in with his friend. He tried to whisper, but his words came out a little louder than he expected. He looked around the room and told his friend, “Everything in here is stolen!”

All the Artifacts

There are many people protesting all the things in the British Museum that they feel belong to other countries. They say that Britain received these things by less than honest means. The UK isn’t the only country to do this. You can find Greek statues in the Louvre. You can find Egyptian artifacts in London, Paris, China, the US, Greece, and the list goes on. All the bigger more powerful countries have done this.

This is part of Greece’s Parthenon artifacts.

As you might have guessed, this blog entry was written long after I visited London. I’m actually in Greece writing this. (Of course, by the time you read this I will be in Holland or Texas or… I’m not sure.) A few days ago I was at the Parthenon Museum in Athens. Their collection of Parthenon artifacts was sparse in comparison to what I saw in London.

The photo at the top of the blog is an example of what the museum in London had. London had bigger, more complete pieces. Greece had less and what they did have was very fragmented.

It’s not so much that they have all of this stuff, it’s more of how they got it. Everyone involved has a side of the story, but it comes down to this.

Country A wasn’t taking care of their items. They ran out of money, had a war, or just didn’t care. So some rich guy comes in and offers to buy the items. He buys them either directly from country A or some citizen of country A who has or claims to have ownership of the items. The money is paid. Then the rich guy turns around and donates or sells the stuff to the UK or some other government.

Years later country A is back on their feet financially, the war has ended, or now they have start caring about their past. But, it’s too late. Britain, Paris, or the US have most of their items. They have hired a team of experts to restore and study the items. They have written papers and are learning so much about the past. The items are in museums and people come from all over the world to look at the items.

The items have been gone for so long, it’s hard to track down just how they got to these far away museums. Country A says that along the way, something shady went down. The museums say that not only did nothing shady happened but they saved these items from being destroyed when no one was looking after them.

Who is right?

London

I did enjoy seeing all the items though. I learned a lot from them. Mummies, statues, art, tools, helmets, I enjoyed them all.


The United Kingdom

How to get there:

You can enter this country by land via an underwater tunnel, air, or sea.

Check with your local UK embassy for visa information.

Phone:

  • Use 112 or 999 for the police, fire department, or to get an ambulance

Website:

Data:

Videos:

Books: 

Notes:

  • If you’re going to do a lot of travel by train or bus, looking for a Rail card or bus pass before you buy your first ticket.
    • Railway Cards
    • Oyster Card
    • Even getting a day pass on a bus could be cheaper than getting 3 single passes, or a return ticket and a single pass.
  • If you are going to stay in hostels, join Hosteling International, or any of its subsidiaries.
    • YHA – England & Wales
    • SYHA – Scotland
      • Membership at any of these will get you the discounted rate at any of the other hosteling organizations.
      • These hostels tend to be better than most hostels.

Oyster Card

Basic Information

Website

Downloads:

Cost:

  • Oyster Card £5 deposite
  • 7 day pass £33.00
  • You can also pay as you go without a 7 day pass.

Hours:

  • 5:00 – 0:00 Monday to Saturday
  • Reduced operating hours on Sundays

Notes:

  • It lowers the cost of a single fare ticket.
  • This can be used on the subway, buses, trams, boats, and other transport around London.
  • When your vacation is over you can return it at any tube station and get your £5 back. Yes, there is a tube station at Heathrow Airport.

The Tower of London

Basic Information

Website

Cost:

  • £21.50

Hours:

  • 9:00 – 17:30 Tu-Sa
  • 10:00 – 17:30 Su – M

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • If you are traveling into London by rail, you might be able to get a 2 for 1 ticket.
  • There is a free Beef Eater tour every hour on the hour starting at 10:00.
  • Don’t Miss:
    • The crown jewels.
      • Sees these as early as you can; the line gets very long later in the day.
    • The spot where the beheadings took place.
    • The spot, in the White Tower stair case, where the “two princesses” were found.
    • The chapel where the bones of Anne Boleyn might be buried.
    • The historical graffiti.
    • Traitor’s Gate

Museum of London

Basic Information

Website

Cost:

  • free
  • free wifi

Hours:

  • 10:00 – 18:00

Videos:

Notes:


National Gallery

Basic Information

Website

 

Cost:

  • Free

Hours:

  • 10:00 – 18:00

Videos:

Notes:

  • Don’t miss:
    • The Monty Python Foot
    • Venus and Mars – Botticelli
    • Rokeby Venus – Velazquez
    • Sunflowers – Van Gogh
    • The Water-Lily Pond – Monet

The British Museum

Basic Information

Website

Downloads:

Cost:

  • free
  • £6 audio guide

Hours:

  • 10:00 – 17:30

Videos:

Notes:


Westminster Abbey

Basic Information

Website

Downloads:

  • The audio guide
  • You can download the guide to you phone, but you cannot use your phone in the abbey.
  • An audio guide is complementary with your ticket.

Cost:

  •  £20.00
  • You can find cheaper or combination tickets online

Hours:

  • 9:30 – 15:30

Video

Notes:

  • It’s pronounced “Westminster” like how it is spelled, not West Minister.
  • An audio guide is complementary with your ticket.
  • Buy your tickets online to save time, money, and hassle.

Guildhall Art Gallery

Basic Information

Website

Cost:

  • Free
  • Free Audio Guide

Hours:

  • 12:00 – 16:00 Su
  • 10:00 – 17:00 M – Sa

Video

Notes:

  • They were sitting atop a Roman amphitheatre and had no idea until they did some renovations in 1985.

The Imperial War Museum London

Basic Information

Website

Cost:

  • free

Hours:

  • 10:00 – 18:00

Videos:

Notes:

  • I’m not a fan of war museums in general, but I like this one. It’s very well done.

Lots of things to look out for:

Notes:

Map:

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