Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Treasures of Tutankhamun Exhibtion in London

Some time last year I saw the Treasures of Tutankhamun exhibition advertised and immediately wanted to go. I was really into Egyptology when I was a kid and really wanted to see some of the things from his tomb when they came to the UK. I asked some of my friends if any of them wanted to go, and surprisingly a bunch of them did. Sam and Jac were already in London one weekend in March to go to the theatre, so asked if we could combine the two. Sam bought eight tickets and that was that!

I asked my aunt if I could stay with her and my uncle in Woking, in Surrey, and go to London from there. In the event, we had a spare ticket so Caroline came with us, which was nice. I also decided that the train and tube journeys would be too much for me, so I thought I would drive into London and book parking near the Saatchi Gallery. This was only slightly more expensive than a train + tube ticket and it was better peace of mind for me as I knew I wouldn't have to walk all the way through the tube stations and tunnels.

We decided to book lunch for after the exhibition and Caroline invited two of her friends as she wanted Lucinda to meet them. We booked into a place close by to the exhibition for my peace of mind too. I know my limits these days and am grateful to have friends who accept that.

Caroline and I set off early on Sunday morning in my car. We went up the A3 and across the Thames and found the car park really easily. It was really non stressful. However, we then kind of went the wrong way round the block where the gallery was and walked the long way, meaning I felt awful by the time we got there, but I had some water and painkillers and waited for everyone to arrive.

The exhibition itself was pretty accessible, the gallery has lifts and everything was well signed, and there were benches at several points which we all made use of. Sarah and Lucinda stuck by me, which was good as it was busy and we were all moving at different speeds.

So the exhibits themselves! I'll start off by saying that I understand why Egypt now keeps a lot of the things from Tutankhamun's tomb (including the death mask) in Egypt, and why these things will be returned there when they've built a museum in Cairo for them in a couple of years. I don't think the uncovering of the tombs was done in a good way, and although I'm glad we now know what happened to Tut, I understand why the Egyptians now keep their treasures close. I would love to visit Egypt one day, but in the meantime I'm really grateful I got to see this exhibition.

There were some really amazing things in the exhibit, but I'll let the photos speak for themselves. I do feel a lot better knowing that they have actually returned Tut's mummy to the burial chamber in his tomb. I think that's pretty cool.

The restaurant for lunch was nice - we were sitting downstairs in a cosy booth that was like in the cellars, ten of us round a big table. The food was nice but the staff all seemed quite stressed and service was a bit slow. It was fine, we had plenty of time to chat. Jac and Sam peeled off and then Sarah and Von and John left too and Caroline and I finally left about 4pm. We got back to Caroline's where Neil was busy making a vegetarian chilli for us. It was absolutely gorgeous!

I stayed over on the Sunday night and headed back home on Monday morning. I was really tired and sore, but I'm glad I made the effort to see the exhibition while it was in London.

Okay, photos:

They took a green screen photo on the way in and this was one of the options for it later. This was my favourite. Lucinda's cardigan did not like the green screen! We bought some of the souvenir photos on the way out

Tiny angry Horus

These pots were both made of cobalt, I believe

I loved this effigy of Tut

And who knew the ancient Egyptians had boomerangs?

I loved these little statues

A tiny figurine of the death mask

I liked this sphinx head made from calcite

Did you know that Tut was buried with a necklace in each layer of his wrappings?

This is the water boy who happened upon Tut's tomb

And a plan of it

And did you know his parents were brother and sister? His mother is a mummy known only as "The Younger Lady". It's amazing what they can find out with forensics

This photo does not show the scale of this statue. It was huge and suspended in the air. Look at the guy standing on the bottom left! I loved this

For lunch I had eggs benedict avocado, which was actually quite weird and had a bit too much spinach for my liking

But then for dessert I had salted caramel and chocolate fondant which was SO good!

It was an excellent day!

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