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I was slightly unhappy as we just arrived because the museum building seemed like there were great many treasures inside and we had no more than an hour! To tour a museum one is most curious about in less than an hour is a shame, or so I thought. As we entered the museum, I was awestruck just at the idea of being at this very place I had been so curious about.
Immediately after we entered the museum, we were given an impressive ticket. This was great because entry to the museum was free – the most wonderful thing about London! Then what was this ticket for! Now this ticket is what I wish every museum in the world gives me.
On the ticket is an RFID code and beside every exhibit in the museum is a punching machine. This is a technology for people like me who visit the museum in a hurry and don’t have much time to read the stories behind the interesting artefacts. With this bar code, one could punch the ticket in the punching machine and save the story or the description of the artifact which they can later check online and read at leisure while the image of the exhibit stays on their mind.
Wow. That was amazing.
With the ticket in my hand, I walked into the museum excitedly, waiting to be awestruck. The museum layout didn’t show anything exciting. I noticed that there weren’t really many halls as the building would suggest and there weren’t really too many massive to tiny exhibits. A little disappointed, I kept walking and going from room to room and floor to floor – there were just not enough. In fact, the museum seemed like a store room for what couldn’t be accommodated in other museums and not this one Mecca of maritime artefacts. No, it wasn’t that. There were mostly maps and graphics explaining the maritime history of Great Britain, but those are not the only things one expects from a Royal Maritime Museum.
I didn’t want to be disappointed but I was losing heart as nothing really impressed or stunned me. There were a few boats and few rooms with exhibits. Englands maritime relationship with Asia, especially India was highlighted, there weren’t many surprises or new things for me to be amazed and inspired with there.
By now, I was very disappointed and ready to leave. My self-pity for having only an hour grew into relief. I was ready to leave the place but not without checking out the museum shop. Luckily for me, Catharine is just as excited about museum shops as I and we still had around 30 minutes!
Now here was a museum shop that was much more interesting than the museum! I wandered in awe only here as there were many cute nautical things, however the price was not so pleasant as the collection. There were many things I wanted to buy but there was this one thing I really, really wanted. A vintage-map themed passport cover.
There were definitely many things I wanted to get from this museum shop but I couldn’t afford them. Satisfied with just the passport cover, Catharine and I left the museum. While we walked to the tube station, my friend kept explaining how I can get to Islington where The Charles Lamb pub is. I could tell that Catharine was more nervous about me than I was.
As we walked, I noticed a small, wonderful shop called ‘Nauticalia’ which was perfectly decked up for Christmas and in its window were sweet little nautical things, especially tiny boats, lighthouses etc. With Catharine’s permission I escaped into the shop and was truly pleased to find the most wonderful nautical themed souvenirs and perfect prices. After shopping to my heart’s content within my budget, we headed to the Tube station.
Catharine and I would change at the same station she said but we would take different trains. Catharine explained the route to me at least a dozen times and also quizzed me about it. “So where are you supposed to go now, … alright, and which train will you take” etc. With her suggestions, I felt confident about making it to Islington, but The Charles Lamb is hidden in lanes, so would I find the pub – a voice inside me said I would and I kept listening to it.
Catharine said a worried bye to me at the parting bridge and walked ahead. I was somehow sad (I think it’s the weather that makes one slightly gloomy) but also excited at the possibility of being where I once was and had the most exciting evening of my solo travels just five months ago. As I walked I had no clue what the next few hours’d be like and I enjoyed the ‘not knowing,’ though I really wished I’d see Catharine again that night.