We are nearing the end of our whistle stop city tour of London. If you’ve missed any of the previous installments (of which there are a grand total of two), then you need not worry! You will find Part 1 and Part 2 my simply clicking on those thoughtful reminders.
On our final day in the capital we started the day with determined grit. Our jaws were set and our elbows were sharpened: today, we would make it to the Natural History Museum. Even if it meant sacrificing the goodness of our gentle souls to the shoving of strangers and overtaking of excited children.
The museum is an impressive building. For those of you who have never been there, the facade is unexpected in the middle of a busy street. It almost looks like something out of Harry Potter, or a building made for private boarding schools.
When step inside, you come literally face to face with skeletons of dinosaurs, ichthyosaurs, displays of fossils, glossy exhibitions of insects, and suspended walkways that take you through the eco system.
There is a fantastic section that takes you through the geological timeline of Earth (which Geology student Sam particularly enjoyed as he was able to show off all his science-y knowledge about rocks. A thing I love about him. Truly.) There are astronauts, and escalators that take you through the center of the our planet, and rooms full of mammals. There are whales EVERYWHERE.
And, when things get a bit too educational and start to exhaust your brain, there are cafes, and benches, and random areas of empty floor that you collapse on from lack of any other option.
The day passed all too quickly, which I suppose isn’t surprising. When you’re absorbing information from the beginning of time to the present day, it can distract you from trivial things such as Time.
Sam didn’t let go of my hand once. He walked me through Time and pointed out key periods and animals, pressing his nose against the glass to peer more closely at the ammonoids. His excitement was contagious. My favourite part of that day was watching him, as strange as it sounds. His face lit up as he pulled me from one room to the next, and his proud chest puffed out as he picked up on minor flaws on the labels in display cases.
He was both a boy and a man, excited and thirsty for more knowledge, torn between science and an exhausted girlfriend – compromising by half carrying the one whilst making intellectual love to the other. I hadn’t seen him like that in a long time.
It was late in the afternoon by the time we left. We enjoyed a leisurely tea at the train station, stuffing ourselves with a not-so-wise amount of food, and stepped on to the platform.
It’s strange, the places adventure can grab you. I’ve been going to London all my life but I’ve never been to THIS London: the one with marble hotels and towering architecture. The London that holds a day with endless possibilities, luring you down paths you never thought you’d follow. The one with crowds that melt into the background when that one person holds you close and whispers in your ear.
All of the fantastic travel blogs I read on WordPress tell stories of what I thought of as ‘REAL’ adventure: worldwide travel, exploration of remote regions, self discovery on a mountain-top.
But it turns out you can have some of the greatest adventures by simply venturing out of your front door and tottering down the garden path.
With a forlorn glance back, Sam waved a comic goodbye to the city before, laughing, I shoved him onto the train.