Movin’, Learnin’, and the Circus


After the Marylebone market, Paul and I wanted to see the University College of London, the central college at the greater University of London.  UCL sits on prime London real estate – it is exceptionally close to downtown but still retains a unique neighborhood charm distinct from the hustle and bustle of downtown.  Because of this, though, the school lacks a lot of green space.  I was on campus on a lazy Sunday afternoon, so the college was devoid of the midday buzz of academia (or at least supposed academia!).

The University sits adjacent to the British Museum, one of the world’s greatest collections of Egyptian artifacts.  Having just spent 9 days in Egypt and visiting the renowned Cairo Museum, I was actually surprised at how neat the museum was.  The Rosetta Stone, the Greek-to-hieroglyphic translation stone, is the museum’s most famous permanent artifact.

After a few hours in the British Museum, Paul and I went to Piccadilly Circus to hang out with Londoners.  At the confluence of major streets and a main Tube waypoint, Piccadilly Circus is sometimes dubbed the Times Square of London.  Large neon signs on the sides flash Coca-Cola ads while a graceful Cupid statue sprays water into the warm air.

Anyway, pictures…

Hello, Tube

The trains, like the tunnel, were rounded, hence the tubular name

Neat platform sign

The British Telecom (BT) Tower. Where's V?

Our first glimpse at the old University of London

Ah, UCL at last

The UCL main quad. Space is at such a premium in central London, so UCl quad was incredibly smaller than the UC quad

The façade of the British Museum, one of the world's great collections

This new exhibit was sponsored by BP...at least if they don't know about oil rigs, they know about art.

The most famous item at the British Museum, the Rosetta Stone. Found by Napoleon's soldiers, the stone contains text is both Greek and Egyptian hieroglyphics. As the largest find in Egyptology, this allowed for the deciphering of the once-impregnable hieroglyphic language.

Bad cat

The British Museum is perhaps the greatest collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts, much to the consternation of the, well, Egyptians

Native American totem poles in the main atrium

An ancient Moai statue from enigmatic Easter Island

After the British Museum, we left for one of the main public areas of London, Piccadilly Circus. Along the way, we passed this proudly French restaurant.

A famous old pub opened in the 1700s

Meandering to Piccadilly Circus via Chinatown

Whoa, lots of Chinese prep students

Dubbed the Times Square of London, Piccadilly Circus is a popular hangout spot for Londoners, especially at night

Another view

Street sign at Piccadilly Circus

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