Honeymoon: Day Twelve – Pictures at an Exhibition.

Today was museum day, except that the two of us we in no shape for trudging around museums – we’d alternate between the two of us who was wiped out, though that didn’t stop us from trying to go through a couple of museums. First we hit the Victoria and Albert (or V&A) Museum. From the underground passage that the Underground leads us through, we journeyed in through some European (1600-1800) artifacts, before deciding we needed to find a place to sit. So it was up to the next level to the main entrance, where we found some benches in the meeting point section. What we didn’t know is that the meeting points are where you group for a tour. Luckily for us, the tour was a free one, so we went along.

Our tour guide, upon noticing the amount of noise that construction was causing, decided to amend her normal tour. She first took us to Asia, including a nearly 500 year old carpet from Persia and a really intricately carved (portable) wood staircase for sermon delivery. From here we went to earlier European objects from the Renaissance and before – including some wedding related pieces (maybe a coincident, but we’d like to think she altered her route when she learned we were on our honeymoon…) Then we made our way to the sculptures, where we compared classical and more modern naked men…

Now we were left to our own devices, and first on the list was the great exhibition of food in the cafeteria – plus a look at their toilet exhibit… After lunch, we traveled through the gift shop, and then over to the lengthy walk through the British galleries. Once done, we made for our grand egress to the modern exhibit of the outside world.

Our next, and what would transpire to be our last, museum of the day was the Science museum. First thing through the door, was the gift shop – so we had a look through there. The problem with the Science museum is that it attracts school groups, so there were a lot of kids running around. While this was a bit of a deterrent, we pressed on. We walked through Energy Hall – with it’s big piston engines – Exploring Space – with it’s rockets and satellites – and through Making the Modern World – with half a Mini – before we decided to try and get a snack.

Our first attempt at a snack was in the basement, but that seemed to be geared towards the kids. What we did find here was the Secret Life of the Home, which has all your domestic appliances – including an actual Crapper Valveless Waste Preventer! Since this isn’t what we were looking for we headed towards what we thought was an antenna exhibit, but was an area called Antenna. This involved us walking through all the stuff we had done before, and we noticed other things this time – including an old wooden case Apple computer. Mildly disappointed by the lack of actual antennas, we grabbed a bite at Deep Blue (surprisingly not sponsored by IBM) where the tables provide the light – presumably so you can’t properly see your food…

After our snack, we tried various lifts until we found the right one to get us to the computing and maths wing. Here we were expecting, prior to leaving the US, to find the Babbage Difference Engine No. 2. What we discovered prior to our arrival was that we’d be seeing TWO of them. Our friend Chris (who was also our Officiant for the wedding) works for the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, and he had arrived in the UK shortly before us, told us that they had the second one built and about to be shipped to his museum. We got there the day before it was to go out. In fact, they were discussing how the Engine itself was heavier than the lift’s weight rating. Luckily for them, they were going down so the lift wouldn’t have to strain itself too much…

Having finished with the computing exhibit – and half of Babbage’s brian (I’m sure the curator’s do the “If I had half a mind…” jokes all the time) – we step outside to walk around South Kensington and see the shops. After flittering about the little shops, we decide to go large (as it were) and walk into Harrods after a bit of walking around (or sitting around in Ken’s case) we go back out with a mind to going through Harvey Nichols – but Ken doesn’t last long, so we go back out to catch a bus to Earls Court.

Once back to our home base, we decide to have our dinner at the Masala Zone – which has interesting wall paper, sort of like traditional Indian art but with modern things like cars and airplanes… During our dining, we got a call confirming our plans for then next day. So, after dinner, it’s back to the hotel to pack and sleep – for tomorrow is moving day…

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