Thursday, July 8, 2010

Day 8: Books, Books, Books

Thursday opened with a tube ride to that must-see literary place located at King's Cross Station. Platform 9 3/4 of course!

From there, the whole library group made its way over to the British Library, where we were fortunate enough to have a really interesting tour of the public, and a few staff, facilities. Following the tour, we were freed to do things on our own. Not one to ever skip the wonders on exhibit at this wonderful library, I went through the Treasures room. In addition to some of the oft-displayed classics (Beowulf, Jane Austen, Shakespeare, &c.), they had a few cases on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland--both its history and different versions of it. I was quite happy to expand my collection of Alice-themed Christmas tree ornaments in the gift shop afterward (only the Cheshire Cat and King of Hearts left to get!).

I also spent some time in the library's Magnificent Maps exhibit, in which they display some really amazing maps, from and of a variety of places and times, in a setting meant to mimic the places in which these maps would have been shown originally. A highlight of the exhibit was definitely seeing both the smallest and largest atlases in the world in very near proximity to one another.

It was well past lunchtime when a friend and I finally made it out of the library and to Pret A Manger for lunch. Great sandwiches, I suppose I won't be turned off by there being a Pret on nearly every street corner anymore! From there we went on to Piccadilly Circus for a spot of shopping. We headed to Waterstone's to look at books; stumbled on a great little market with some fantastic crafts and art; and stepped into the ground floor food hall at Fortnum & Mason.

On our tube ride back to the flats, we were in the same car as a very funny woman who, immediately upon entering the train, apologized to everyone for whatever she might say in the course of the ride; her reason for such an up front apology is that she "says whatever she thinks whenever she's pissed" (drunk). She was very chatty, and started talking to us. She thought by our accents that we were Irish--quite a mistake!

I was excited to have a quieter evening; after all the places we've gone thus far, I definitely needed some time to reflect on everything. I happened upon a free rush hour concert being put on by the Southbank Sinfonia in a church just around the corner from my flat. They were really very good, and I enjoyed getting to relax and listen to music. The rest of my evening was Italian takeaway and chatting in the apartment complex courtyard. Nice day!

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