Last week, my husband and I traveled to London for a summer vacation. I had never been to London before, so a lot of the traditional "touristy" places (Big Ben, the London Eye, the Tower Bridge, etc.) were on our jam-packed agenda. But in between all the sight-seeing, shopping, and fish and chips eating, our trip ended up being a very literary experience!
First, I caught up on a few books. I brought my hardcover copy of Broken Monsters by Laura Beukes with me, thinking I could pace myself and have it last the entire trip. That was not the case. I was so riveted at the end I could *not* put it down. In desperate need of some downtime reading material (other than all the free copies of the Evening Standard we grabbed at Underground stations), we popped into an Oxford Street bookstore mid-week and I bought Stephanie Danler's Sweetbitter, which transported me right back into New York City while still in the heart of London. Do I regret having to pack two big hardcovers in my filled-to-the-brim carry-on for the flight home? Not at all.
While out and about, lots of our activities ended up being book-inspired. At the British Library, we saw Jane Austen's writing desk, a James Bond short story, one of the few remaining copies of the Magna Carta, and dozens of beautifully illustrated religious books from all corners of the world. At the British Museum, we saw the Rosetta Stone, a large rock discovered in Egypt featuring hieroglyphs, Demotic script, and Greek script; it's how modern scholars were able to transcribe Egyptian hieroglyphs!
We also took a tour of Shakespeare's Globe, located along the Thames River. Although this is the third version of the theater (the first accidentially burned down while the second was intentionally demolished), it was built to reflect the structure of the original buildings (complete with oak, no steel, and a thatched roof). The theatre usually presents two of Shakepeare's plays each day during the summer, and, despite its small size, seats 850 people with room for 700 standing patrons in the pit.
And of course, no trip to London would be complete without some Harry Potter! First, we stopped by the Palace Theatre to take photos of the Cursed Child front entrance display. Then, we toured the House of Minalima for their exhibit on the graphic designs of the Harry Potter films. And last but not least, I took my photo at Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross Train Station—which, all you Harry fans should remember, is how to get to the Hogwarts Express! (And of course I just had to get the commenorative photos.)
Have you ever taken a literary-themed vacation?