i took the bus into town so i could take a train to paddington station in london (and then take the tube from there). this lady and her daughter (who was about my age) got on at the same stop that i got on at. i guess i looked a little confused, because the lady started talking to me…
lady: “excuse me, not to be rude, but do you know where you’re going?” ^_^;
me: “i think so… i’m heading to the train station downtown.” ^_^;;
lady: “if you’d like, we’re headed in that direction, so we can show you how to get there…” ^^
me: “that’d be really helpful – thanks!” ^_^
so they showed me how to get from the bus stop to the train station, where i got my railcard for the day (£13.80) so i could get to london and back, and use the tube and buses in london as well.
tried to find buckingham palace so i could see what it looked like from the outside (some of susan and betsy’s friends said that it was closed up at the moment), but after wandering around it for a while and not finding it, i decided to head to the next stop on my journey.
found my way to westminster cathedral (had brunch in a mcdonald’s that was right next to it first), and went exploring around inside. you couldn’t take any pictures inside and they were in the middle of service, so i was only really able to look around on the ground floor. i wish i had time to get up in the tower for a good view of london from up high, but it was closed up and wasn’t set to open back up for a while later. ^^;; i picked up some postcards of the cathedral in the store since i wasn’t able to take pictures inside, then i headed off to my next stop.
walked through town to the imperial war museum, which was pretty neat. it covered wars / conflicts from world war i up through present day espionage and terrorist activity. i walked through their main hall where they had lots of large oversized exhibits, through an exhibit about submarines and submariners, and then went through the world war i exhibit.
in the world war i exhibit they had this thing called “the trench experience” where people could walk through a replica trench complete with bad smells, wax figures dressed up as soldiers talking to each other, and flashes of light for shell explosions while war sounds were blasted from all over the room.
spent most of my time in the world war ii area. they had lots of stuff used during wwii, and apparently a few years ago the bbc did a show called “1940s house” (kind of similar to the show called “frontier house” that public television has had here in the states – take a family, put them in a period-style house, and have historians and teachers say what happens in that “society” and you see how the family copes with it so you can see what average people were like at that time). they had a big exhibit about that show (complete with the house set up so that you could walk through).
went through almost all of the rest of the museum (saw the vietnam, cold war, nuclear weapon, terrorism, and espionage exhibits, and skimmed the gulf war and korea war exhibits), saw a guy dressed up drilling some kids, then headed to the british museum.
at the british museum i looked at the reading room (a giant circular library that was one of the influences for the library of congress) skimmed through the americas exhibit (it was all pretty much stuff in there that you could see at the smithsonian in dc, hah), so i looked at the japanese exhibit. there they had lots of ancient pottery, weapons, armor, paintings, and even this giant fan that had to have been about 5-6 feet in diameter. you couldn’t take any pictures in that section (because of the paintings, i suppose), so later i tried to find in the museum shop some postcards or posters of some of the paintings they had in there. unfortunately i couldn’t find any, so i had to settle for some postcards of some of the paintings in the museum that i didn’t get a chance to see, lol. before i left the museum i was able to also take a quick look in the money exhibit where i saw some really elaborate coins from across the ages around the world.
after the british museum i decided to take a look at tottenham court road to see the local shopping scene. mostly at tottenham court road it was all electronics or music or furniture stores. but mostly it was a bunch of electronics stores, lol. i poked my head into a few shops there, looked at the cellular phones they had for sale in another store, and explored the virgin megastore’s collection of cds.
it was starting to get late then, so i headed back to reading. later that night susan and i went to a local pub there called “the three tuns” that was about a 3 minute walk from her house. she suggested that i try fosters beer, but i didn’t take to it very much (it was a lot blander than what i was expecting, and rather watery i thought). i finished my half-pint, though, and we headed back to betsy’s house to get ready for bed.