I cannot believe I have not finished writing about my travel in London yet. This is the eighth episode on my travel in London. (The previous ones are here: My Travel in London 1, My Travel in London 2, My Travel in London 3, My Travel in London 4, My Travel in London 5, My Travel in London 6, and My Travel in London 7) I have just said “in London” above, but I was in York on March 20 and stayed in Hull that night. A friend of mine Yuko, who studies English at the University of Hull, let me stay at her dormitory.
Yuko and I got up at 6:00 next morning. We shouted for joy when she opened the curtains. It was sunny! Surprisingly there were no clouds in the sky. We made a quick change and headed to the kitchen. Yuko began preparing for our breakfast in a very assured manner when we arrived there. I asked her, “Do you need a hand?” in a fashion, but I did not help her. I was just watching TV in the sitting room instead. Hmm…we looked like a sweet mother and a spoiled daughter…
Wow! What a lovely breakfast! Boiled potatoes, a boiled egg, a sliced cucumber, cheese, ham, blood oranges, toast with cream and jams, and tea, which Yuko had bought in York the previous day. Everything was fantastic. We enjoyed our breakfast in a relaxed atmosphere.
There is a bus stop across from the dormitory. We left the dorm and took a bus for Hull Rail Station at around 10:00. I do not know the details, but it seems that there are at least two bus companies that run buses to the station, and that the fare is different. So, I did not know how much I would pay when I got on the bus.
Actually I do not know how much I should have paid still now. When I asked the bus driver what the fare to the station was (You tell the driver where to go and pay the fare when you get on the bus in York and Hull.), he said something, blocking the slot of the fare box with his left hand, and motioned me to get in with his right hand. I did not understand what he said exactly, but I got the meaning. It looked like the fare box had broken. That was why I took the bus without paying. Oh, I’m lucky!
After about a 20-minute ride, we arrived at Hull Rail Station. There is a statue of a British poet Philip Larkin in the concourse. Yuko says to him, “Wish me a safe trip!” when she sets out and “I’m home!” when she arrives at the station from her journey. Well, I will say to him, “Hi, Mr. Larkin! Nice to see you again!” next time when I visit the station.
We were going to London. Most of the scenery we saw from the train window was the rural countryside to Doncaster from Hull. Suddenly Yuko shouted, “I’ve just seen a hare!” “Where!?” I looked for the form but missed it. What I just found from the window was a power plant where a chimney and its cooling towers were billowing out white smoke. Those concrete structures looked ominous in the idyllic view.
We changed trains at Doncaster to King’s Cross in London. The train was almost filled with passengers. Our seats were rear-facing table seats. It was my first time to sit at a table seat in a train. Yuko and I were sitting across the table from other passengers. At first, I felt a little awkward, but soon I noticed the advantage of our seats. Surprisingly, Yuko had prepared for our lunch: sandwiches! It was very convenient for us to use the table when we were having the sandwiches. They were, of course, delicious!
We arrived at London at around 2:00. Yuko was going to her hotel in Bayswater to check in and then to St. James’s Park to see daffodils. In the meantime, I was going to the British Museum. We decided to meet each other at the shop in the British Museum at 4:00 and went to each destination separately at King’s Cross. I took the underground to Russell Square. It was an about 10-minute walk to the British Museum from the station. I entered the museum from its north gate, which was under construction when I visited.
My main target in the museum was that famous chunk of rock: the Rosetta Stone. As you know, the Rosetta Stone was a part of a stone pillar discovered by Napoleon’s army in the Nile Delta in the 18th Century. There are the same text written in three scripts- ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, Demotic and ancient Greek- on the surface of the stone. It is beyond renown that a French scholar Champollion deciphered the text in the 19th Century.
I found the stone easier than I had imagined. The stone was sitting neatly in the Egyptian Sculpture section in the Ancient Egypt Department on the ground floor near the shop. It is wonderful to see the real thing that I learned from the textbook in my school days. I had thought the stone would be much smaller.
After the Rosetta Stone, I began exploring in the museum. But I could not. I was more tired than I had thought. I could not climb up the stairs from the ground floor briskly. My legs were heavy like lead. I had to drag myself. I was walking somehow, but I did not have stamina or concentration to appreciate precious exhibits. I was just browsing. I got more exhausted because I was just walking without a plan.
At last, I got too tired to move any more. I used all my strength that was left and bought a guide book of the museum, and then slumped in a chair at Court Café on the ground floor. It was almost 4:00, when I was seeing Yuko. Then she phoned me and said that she would arrive at the museum near 5:00. “Take your time,” I replied and decided to rest there for a while. It was funny and pitiful to scan the guide book of the museum without looking at actual things…Well, I was making a strategic plan to walk in the museum efficiently if you look at it another way…