Friday March 7, 2014
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On Wednesday, we made our third trip to London. Our goal was to visit Ben Franklin's London home and the British Museum.
We started with Franklin's home. Though born in Boston, he lived at 36 Craven Street in London from 1757 - 1775, serving as sort of a representative of the colonists to the British government. We all know that when he returned to Philadelphia, he had a significant role in the U.S. during the Revolution and as a founding father. The house was great to visit. They has a costumed actor-the daughter of Franklin's landlord-giving the tour and telling interesting personal and professional stories. He was, indeed, quite a man. Writer, printer, publishser, politician, statesman, inventor of the Franklin Stove and bifocal glasses. He also started the U.S. Postal system and conducted several scientific experiments with electricity. My friends in Arizona will be interested to know that Franklin even wrote the first paper on "Cooling by Evaporation" after an experiment conducted right here in Cambridge, England. Thanks, Ben, for our Evap Coolers!
The British Museum was huge...and free! Free is good! The highlight was seeing the Rosetta Stone - which is a huge chunk of stone, discovered by Napoleon's soldiers in Egypt in 1799. It contains an edict by Ptolemy V regarding the repeal of some taxes.It was written in two Egyptian languages (including heiroglyphics) and in Greek. By 1825 it had been translated and consequently allowed for the translation of many ancient Egyptian heiroglyphics that had previously been undecipherable.
After the museum, we walked down to the Covent Gardens neigborhood. Covent Gardens has a huge market square, street players and had a large Malaysian festival going on at the time. Ben Franklin held many meetings in the cafes of this neighborhood and it is also the setting for the play (and movie) "My Fair Lady" which is based on George Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion" which itslef was inspired by Ovid's "Metamorphisis" (The rain in Spain falls mainly in the plain!)
It was a nice trip to London. We especially enjoy the train rides there and the "Underground" subway rides. The whole experience leads us to think "Toto, I don't think we are in Kansas any more." It's so different from home.
I've gone on long enough.
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