I'm all exhausted after my visit to 'that London'. I'd slept really badly the night before (someone came round to see the neighbours at around 2am, announcing their arrival by banging on the door and ringing the doorbell repeatedly, which woke up the dog and indeed, me). I did not feel overjoyed about getting up at 6am. BUT I DID ANYWAY and made the surprisingly short (under 4 hours) trip down south.
I was relying on a mixture of memory, common sense, a printed map and my tablet's map to find my way about. I got lost several times. I'd decided to troll off to the museum first as I'd had to book the timeslot. They searched my bag before I trolled into the exhibition, and during the small talk that we had to do as my bag was being searched to make up for the awkwardness of the situation, they'd asked me where I'd come from. 'North of here', I replied. 'Oh, Birmingham?', they asked. 'Northumberland'. Their expressions were most blank.
The exhibition itself, to be very honest, was slightly disappointing. Not crushingly so, and it was still worth the trip, but I'd have liked to see a little bit more. The set-up of the museum as a whole was quite traditional – objects to look at but not touch, complete with descriptions of said objects. Which I think is fine, it would just have been nice if there'd have been something else too. I'm not hinting at the chance to dress up as a Viking (necessarily although that would have been AWESOME), but something a bit more interactive would've been nice. As it was, I learnt a few new things (that Christianity and the Norse religion co-existed to a degree for some time, with crosses depicting both Biblical scenes and scenes from Norse legends, for example). The main thing making it a bit disappointing though was SUCH CROWDS. I knew it'd be busy, because why else would it have been so hard to get tickets, but this was SUCH BUSY. You had to effectively queue throughout the entire exhibition, so there was no way you could go back on yourself and look at something you'd missed without risking the ire of the thousands of people behind you. At the same time, you had to wait behind a couple of middle-aged women discussing their health problems (rather than the fascinating artifacts in front of them that they'd paid to see) until they'd moved out of the way and you could actually see the exhibit. And then by the time you came to look at it, you didn't want to spend too long looking at it, lest the angry Londoner behind you complain about you in a loud and obvious way. I know the fact that it was overcrowded wasn't really the museum's fault, but one thing adding to all that was the fact that most people had opted to hire the headset guides, meaning they had to stay by each exhibit until the segment had played out. Which, again, they're allowed to do, it's just that it did slow things down a bit.
But NEVER MIND. I was a bit murderous by the time I left the museum, having spent a bit longer in there than I'd intended due to huge crowds. I shouldn't really be surprised by huge crowds in London on a bank holiday weekend, but it's always a shock after Northumberland. I was by this point very ready for FOOD and went to Just Falafel, as I had planned:
I began to feel a bit calmer after my makeshift picnic in Leicester Square, and slightly less like I wanted to try being a berserker, inspired by what I'd just seen. I decided to go to the Scandinavian Kitchen and was surprised to find tables free, hurrah! I decided to fika, because I'm so cultured. This made much of my stress melt away. As coffee and cake should. Also invested in my beloved dill chips, which I plan to eat soon on my balcony garden, complete with wine. Yesplease.
Overall I was glad I went to London but equally glad to go back. I was exhausted by the time I got on the train back to Northumberland. I have a little souvenir though:
Yes! A little Lewis chesspiece berserker, biting his shield in quite a cute manner. He's made friends with the Captain, a birthday pressie from beloved Swedish comrades, and a piece of seaglass with barbed wire inside it I found by the beach.
Today I'm chillaxing and gardening. Am considering walking over to the beach tomorrow. I much prefer life at a slower pace.