Saturday, December 8, 2012

Bree Femulates in the UK – Part 3

By Bree Wagner, Femulate Guest Blogger


I made it to London a bit later than expected on Saturday and made up my mind that Sunday was going to be a day for Bree and I couldn’t wait.

I woke up the next morning, rushed down for a quick breakfast, and headed back to the room for all the typical prep work. I wish it didn’t take so much time to transform from beast (super hunk) to beauty (marginally presentable)!

The shaving, agonizing over eye shadow color, and fighting with the eyeliner pencil, I knew I was running a bit longer than I hoped. I wasn’t quite going to make the opening of the doors at the museum, but I wouldn’t be too far behind.

Getting dressed was more tough choices. I really wanted to wear a skirt and the one other top I had brought. Challenges came with those choices. The skirt meant I would be wearing my heeled boots and it wasn’t quite the right skirt and boot length combination. Also, it could be a long day on my feet in those as I was planning on walking everywhere.

The top was a pink and dark blue blouse that left me with the same challenges I had while at the castle. The blouse would stick out below the jacket and look silly so I had to hide the bottom of it with a strategic tuck while the jacket was on. At least it also had ¾-length sleeves!

Clothing and hair completed, it was time to head off. The only two must-do things on my itinerary for the day were the British Museum and the British Library. I had visited the museum last year, but there is no possible way to see everything you might want to see there in anything less than a week and I really wanted to get back.

It was a fairly long walk from the King’s Cross area to the museum and I made it longer by accidentally circling around the far side of the museum due to some poor navigation. The heels quickly grew uncomfortable while walking long stretches, but were OK while just standing. It’s too bad that it’s so hard to get a good feel for the long term comfort of shoes when just trying them on or taking them for a quick outing.

I made it to the museum and my first stop had to be the bathroom. Apparently I got there at just the right time because when I came out there was a huge queue. Standing in a long line in that situation would not have appealed to me.

Then on to the good stuff; which there is probably too much to mention. A few of the highlights were the Rosetta Stone, portions of the Parthenon, Egyptian statuary and mummies, incredible collection of Greek and Roman artifacts, and exhibits on medieval Europe.

I got pictures of myself with a lot of it and plenty of pictures of just the artifacts that I could put in other albums.

There were some very friendly exchanges with others “I’ll take your picture if you take mine.” I really should have done more of that, but there is still plenty of nervousness because I know what I sound like.

I spent about four hours at the museum, again not enough, but after a quick stop in the gift shop, I had to get going. It was another long walk to the British Library and now my feet were really cranky. I didn’t have much time before the Library was going to close so I hit the highlights.

The Magna Carta was impressive, but there was a lot more to grab my attention. Probably the coolest things were the maps of the world from 1500-1650. The detail and craftsmanship was incredible. There were also plenty of religious documents, illuminated manuscripts, scientific documents, plays, and of course handwritten Beatles lyrics. Cool stuff. With closing time approaching, I headed back to my hotel.

Even with all that, I wasn’t ready to give up on a night for Bree. All the big attractions were closed, but there were still plenty of sights to take in and experiences to have. I got back to the hotel, took a few Advil for my feet, and relaxed for a few minutes.

I knew I’d need to change for night since there was a lot of walking in my plan. I figured I’d throw my jeans on since it was getting colder and switch to flats. Unfortunately, even the flats aren’t a great fit and not too comfy after a while. With a big sigh I made the completely unfashionable choice to go with my men’s running shoes. While it pained me a bit to do so, it turned out to be the completely right choice and my feet thanked my brain.

With a quick touch-up of my hair and lipstick, I headed over to King’s Cross to catch the tube. It was way busier than I expected and it was tightly packed all the way to the London Bridge station on the far side of the river. It was a bit nerve-wracking to be in such close proximity to so many people, but as is often the case, most people are pretty darn uninterested in everyone around them. If anyone picked up on something odd, they were polite enough not to openly goggle in my direction.

My plan was to get out just across the river and to cross back over London Bridge for some pictures with the well-lit Tower Bridge in the background. That turned out great! I took a few more self-portraits and asked a nice man to take my picture and he was happy to oblige.

From there, I walked along the river taking a few more shots with bridges and the Shard in the background. I turned away from the river to head up to St. Paul’s Cathedral. There were fairly sizable crowds in the area and it was a nice surprise to be able to get into the cathedral. There was a service going on so I, and most of the people, had to just stay in the back and look around a bit. It’s quite an impressive building. I’ll have to go back and take the real tour during the day if I get the chance.

At this point, I had to make a decision to head for the underground or walk all the way back to my hotel. I decided to walk since I didn’t want the night to end any earlier than it needed to and with the choice of shoes I made, my feet were just fine.

I stopped in the busy Starbucks just outside St Paul’s to grab a peppermint hot chocolate (delicious) to keep me a bit warmer for the trip back to the hotel. It was a good choice since all the other coffee shops I passed later were closed already.

The only eventful note of the trip back was missing a street I should have turned on because I didn’t see the name on the far side of the road. I usually don’t wear my glasses while dressed since they aren’t a particularly feminine style and my eyes aren’t terrible. It probably cost me ten minutes of backtracking (and maybe five earlier in the day), so not a big loss compared to the roughly three miles I walked that night. Even so, I’m really hoping to get LASIK soon and not need to worry about that.

Sadly, the adventures ended there. The three days I got out were truly incredible and I’d love to get more opportunities like it in the future, but I know they are hard to come by. The only thing I could think of that would have made it even better would have been having my wife or a travelling companion for some good conversation. Also, you can really only do so many different types of pictures from one arm’s length away!

I hope you enjoyed the trip report.


  1. The "City" of London is very much business orientated and so tends to shut up shop quite early as very few people live there or visit during the evening, even most of teh pubs are closed by eight! The West End is a different matter all together, and you have a lot of London still to see. The tube is definetly the best way to get around.

    If you are coming back to the UK there are plenty of us here who woudl be happy to be your guide, there is so much here that is ancient interesting or just odd you will never have enough time to see it all (I have lived in London for over 50 years and have not yet seen it all!)

  2. I'd love a guide if I get back! I know there's no way to see and do everything that I'd have liked to do even if I had a few weeks. It's an incredible city.