That’s what I kept telling myself, but I knew it was a lie.
Still, I kept on.
Plan for the rest of my day:
Going back to the hotel, checking in, unpacking, then taking myself off to the British Museum for the continuation of my exciting adventure.
Getting to know the Hotel Russell
The famous Hotel Russell stairwell is not even remotely gigantic. Two people wide, maybe three, tops.
But it’s knock-out bee-you-ti-full.
Marble everywhere. Big chandelier. Really nice rugs.
I paid a whole 11 extra dollars per night for “executive” accommodation and ended up with…a turret!
I am sure that I am happy that I got an updated room…
…but one does wonder what that turret looked like when the hotel was first built.
(These pics kind of make the room look crappy, but it was a really really nice room, and the colors were much more coherent, vibrant, and, well, executive.)
I loved the view…
…because each direction was so different.
The bathroom was fabulous, with one of those deep British tubs, that I used each of the three nights that I was there.
And the in-room beverage service: it’s tea oriented! Of course it is! This is Britain!
Now this tea-oriented in-room beverage service might not seem like a big deal; it might even possibly seem quaint. But let me tell you, there is nothing more off-putting than making hot water for tea with those in-room drip coffee pots: it looks like tea but smells like coffee. Uck, uck, uck. But here at the Hotel Russell, the water was made in a kettle, and a proper tea it was.
And so was I revived for my evening of British Museum-ing. To the Hoard!
Tonight is a night of…some of the night
In spite of the jet lag, in spite of the weariness of walking around all day, I practically skipped across Russell Square to the British Museum.
Not all of the British Museum is open on Friday nights, only some of it, and what is open is all on the ground floor, which you might not know if you had flown in from America only that morning just for a long weekend and had read the British Museum website reallyreallyfast four minutes before you left.
I had come to see the Staffordshire Hoard, so I followed the very large sign indicating that the Hoard was upstairs, and practically crashed through the barrier barring the stairs to upstairs, because the barrier was made of grey fabric, the staircase was made of grey stone, there wasn’t any lighting, and there was nothing to indicate that I couldn’t go up there.
It would’ve been pleasanter had the security guard said something to me before said crash rather than after.
And even after I had extricated myself from my…situation, the security guard had to tell me point-blank that only the ground floor of the museum was open, that I couldn’t go upstairs, and that I couldn’t see the Hoard tonight.
But that’s the good thing about jet lag, you dimly realize you’ve made a fool out of yourself but don’t particularly care.
Because I’m a trooper (and the Museum would be open every day that I was in London), I decided to make the best of my situation, and re-checked out my fine Assyrian fellows…
People get all oo-y and ahh-y over the Assyrians and their dazzling hair-ness, but you know, deep down, they weren’t so different from us…
…and the Parthenon Marbles. I mean, you can’t not stop by, right?
Yes, I always thought they were actual marbles too, before I saw them in person. “Oh, bits of marble…marbles, I get it.” I make no apologies for my self-education.
Seeing them in person and seeing what/how many of them there are makes one understand why it it’s such a big deal to Greece that they aren’t in Greece. But in the oddliest of confluences, the Parthenon Marbles have actually been saved by being in the British Museum; it has kept them away from the ravages of time and out of the maw of pollution, and they all remain a marvel of marble…
Anyway, if the ancients are your thing, then the British Museum on a Friday night is just the ticket—your free ticket: not crowded, relaxed, nice.
What do you call it?
The nicest visit you can have on a Friday night at the British Museum is with the actual Rosetta Stone.
You can peer so closely at it that your glasses almost touch it.
The Museum’s Friday night food choices are almost non-existant, unfortunately. I figured I’d look at the Hoard, grab a nice bite at the nice restaurant there, and be done with my first day in London.
Alas, said restaurant was not open on Friday night, again my fault for only reading the British Museum website one-hundred-and-sixty-four times and not one-hundred-and-sixty-five.
I ended up having a perfectly acceptable hummus sandwich that unfortunately disappointed in comparison to my luncheon feast at hummus bros: pre-made hummus, red pepper, celery. Very, uh, edible, but nothing more. But the espresso was decent.
I was so stiff when I got back to my hotel room that I couldn’t cross my legs to untie my shoes.
Glad I bought that paracetamol at Boots.
Almost stopped at the hotel bar for a drink, because I’m a guest and it’s a lovely bar, but I decided against it, because I had a very strong suspicion that having an alcoholic beverage at that point in my jet-laggery would’ve put me to sleep right there in the bar, which would have brought personal and national shame down upon my head.
Spending the rest of the evening in a supine position, i.e., lying in bed watching tv, is quite restorative. Not moving the muscles that had been moving all day made everything feel better. That, and the two rounds of paracetamol.
Day One, Over and Done, and I am pleased with myself. I so go! To sleep, that is.