Bloomsbury: an African adventure and good company

31 Jan

On Saturday I travelled to Russell Square to meet up with Jack (unionjackinlondon.wordpress.com) for a lovely afternoon of strolling, museum exhibitioning, pub fooding, and conversing. Russell Square is in the Bloomsbury area of London. It’s different from Kensington in that it is older and more urban feeling but still classic.

One of the first things that caught my eye was a hotel, the Hotel Russell, because of the beautiful architecture.

The details in the archways and the columns, the red brick, the Gothic peaks... A truly majestic building.

Jack and I walked through the Russell Square garden and even though it was cold, we were able to admire the grounds and the locals.

A fountain in Russell Square; I made a joke to Jack about running through it, but we both just cringed and said, "Too cold!"

From the garden we walked towards the British Museum. Along the way we stopped to admire a few things…

Another street name for me to fall in love with, this time because it is a Shakespearean reference (from Romeo and Juliet). Jack joked about finding Capulet Street and asking if they don't like each other. We had a nice intellectual guffaw and embraced our nerdiness.

The Scotch Shop

It's All Greek... more on this store later.

We found a photo opportunity. I am a small child. And that's okay.

Because I made Jack do it too!

We ventured inside It’s All Greek, which was essentially a museum artifact store, and we found this fabulous awkward statue…

This statue replica was called the Frisky Satyr. A satyr is half man, half goat. They were thought to be lustful creatures who chased after wood nymphs and played reed pipes. The god of shepherds and the wild, Pan, was a satyr.

After laughing at it for several minutes, we admired the rest of the shop and chatted about Greek myth before heading across the street to the museum.

This is just the front of the museum. It is seriously the biggest museum I have ever been to. And I have been to a lot of museums.

Because Jack had already been to the museum (twice) and still hadn’t seen all the exhibits, we decided to limit our trip to the Enlightenment wing and the Africa exhibits. If you have been reading my blog, you know that I love museums for many reasons. Specifically, you know that I am a bit immature at times and I enjoy awkward statues and sculptures and I like to pick out new boyfriends among the busts of men. The best exhibits to look at for these games are usually the sculpture halls or any that showcase Greek myth or famous poets, scholars, doctors, lords, etc. The Africa wing didn’t offer too much in terms of satisfying my immaturity but the Enlightenment wing provided enough to make me happy.

Here is a small sample of artwork from the Africa wing:

If you look closely, you will notice the image of a man hidden among the symbols.

A fabulous beaded hat

A variety of cloths

I love beadwork as much as the next girl, but my patience would not carry through something this intricate.

Wooden panels, each depicting a person or family.

A stylish dress, perfect for a breezy summer day.

A giant, woven creature word during parades. I thought it looked like a Dr. Seuss creature.

Another hat, this one worn for parades and shaped like a flying fish. (Speaking of Dr. Seuss: One fish, two fish...)

Another parade costume, this one is a hippo. According to the info card, the hippo-costumed paraders can attack spectators. Hippos are the most dangerous creatures in Africa.

The Throne of Weapons. This was made in a sort of commemoration to the one million plus people who died during war in the Congo.

A tapestry that is almost like The Last Supper but with animals, which is always good fun.

The Tree of Life, made entirely of forged metal. This was my favorite piece in the Africa galleries.

This bird reminded me of Kevin from "Up"

Need a vase?

Throwing knives

And here is a small sample of artwork from the Enlightenment wing:

The entire Enlightenment wing was set up as a giant library; bookcases filled with artifacts, almost like a private collection. If I were a billionaire, I would construct my house to look like this wing. And then I would have fabulous awkward statues constructed for my personal enjoyment.

The winged feet of Hermes, the messenger god.

Love the feathers, girl!

A dazzling model of the solar system

Minerva in full battlements; I wouldn't mess with this chick.

What are you lookin' at?

Greek Coins

I can't wait to see the Egyptian artifacts. Right now the Book of the Dead is on display in a special exhibit.

We did go into one room of Greek sculpture. I couldn’t help it.

Athena, Goddess of Wisdom and Strategy. Looking coyly over her shoulder... She knew how to work it.

Dionyssus, God of Wine (among other things). Thanks for the Pinot Grigio (among other things)!

This guard looks so bored, even though he has just impaled a snake. I guess it's just a day in the life...

This woman appears to be saying, "May I take your coat?"

We left the museum at closing and went back to Jack’s apartment where we watched a bit of a Manchester United game (yes, I watched sport! They call it sport and not sports here. And it’s not math, it’s maths. Yeah. Two of my favorite things.) before heading out to a pub called Night and Day for dinner.

Jack and I have been friends for so long that we have our own language of sorts. We will be talking, say one word and immediately start spewing out movie quotes or tv references or private jokes. To a third party, we sound like we have terrets or some sort of social hiccup, but to us, it’s normal conversation. We chatted about a variety of topics while I enjoyed fish and chips and a half pint of Strongbow, Jack had a traditional English Pasty (meat, potatoes and gravy in a flaky pie crust) and a pint of Carlsburg.

Mrs. Doubtfire quotes ensued.

Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match! Find me a find, catch me a catch!

Oh sir! I saw him, it was a disgruntled member of the kitchen staff! Did you not tip them? It was a run-by fruiting!

Clue references were made.

Mrs. White, looking pale and tragic.

What is it you do, Wadsworth? --I butle, sir.

And I went home warm with the comfort of good food and great company.

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