It’s been a dream of mine to head to the motherland since I was a little girl. This year, I got to realise that dream by travelling to London, Scotland (and Paris) and I am SO happy I waited until I was in my mid-twenties to go. Why? Maturity. A finer sense of sacrifice and, thus, a higher appreciation for what I was experiencing. I was in London from 5-9 May.
5 May – This is Spring?
6 May – My legs are about to drop off
7 May – To market, to market

King’s Library Tower

I am a massive bookworm, so I was very keen to head to the British Library. Oh. My. Goodness. Books! Books everywhere! Old artefacts! Such excite!

The British Library has exhibitions that the public can access – some are free, but there are some that require paid entry. The Sir John Ritblat Gallery houses the Treasures of the British Library and, let me tell you, if you are interested in history and/or literature: you have to go to this exhibition. Some highlights:

  • ‘A baroque vision of the heavens’ – a celestial globe created by Vincenzo Coronelli and based on the work of A V Newton; 1.1m wide detailed globe with paintings and tiny descriptions.
  • Letters, novels, manuscripts and poems by:
    • Marie Antoinette
    • Oscar Wilde
    • Sigmund Freud
    • The Beatles
    • Ian Fleming
    • Jane Austen
    • Sir Thomas Wyatt
    • Shakespeare (include first editions!)
    • Albrecht Dürer
    • Michelangelo (Michel-frickin’-angelo!)
    • Leonardo da Vinci (!!!)
    • Gandhi
    • Margaret Haig Thomas (a prominent feminist in the 1920s)
    • Elizabeth I (a speech she made in 1567)
    • Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn (letters between them)
    • Alexander Fleming (his notebook – he discovered penicillin)
  • There are also such wonders as:
    • The draft of Britain’s first ultimatum to Germany (1939)
    • Sacred texts, including an 8th century Qur’an from Arabia
    • The Magna Carta
    • Illustrated books including Homer’s Iliad (from 1466)
    • Beowulf (year 1000)

Needless to say, I was having a grand old time. If postage stamps are your thing, there’s also an entire collection of stamps from different locations around the world and different time periods.

The interior of the British Library

There’s not a lot you can actually do outside of the exhibitions without being a member or having a reading room pass (which need to be paid for). But the exhibitions are great, the shop is huge, and the atmosphere is vibrant, if a little noisy for a library. You can also book a guided tour.

King’s Library Tower is the closest thing to seeing amazing bookshelves that you’ll get without making it into a reading room or going on a tour. A six-storey glass tower stands in the centre of the library, lined with books. It’s a collection of over 85,000 books and pamphlets formed by King George III, who was King of Great Britain and Ireland from 1760 to 1820.

The Library is easy to get to – catch the tube to King’s Cross Station and it’s an easy walk less than 5 minutes.

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  • I used to think that the seagulls in Australia (like old mate here) were bold. Bloody hell, past Rowie would be floored if she saw the ones that get around in the UK. They're monsters. They're terrifying. They are freaking huge and scary. Australian seagulls are cute as hell in comparison. Just look at this little fella.⠀
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  • Anyone know what this place is? Hint: it's the home of the wife of possibly the most famous Englishman in the world... You probably had to study him and/or his work in high school. Still no? Mate. This is the home of Anne Hathaway, wife of William Shakespeare. Well worth the detour just to see what it looked like. Didn't pay to go in because I'm cheap af. In all honesty it's a pretty huge house considering the sizes of homes back then and it's got a pretty sick garden. Can't believe it's still bloody standing. Classic England.⠀
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  • A Belgian, a Frenchwoman and an Australian climbed a hill in Canterbury during February to watch the sun set. We were surrounded by roads, a park and a bunch of teenagers who were making out. Classic.⠀
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  • I know that these pictures of galleries don't get that many likes but I really do not give a shit. These are happy places for me and I'll be DAMNED if I don't fill my feed with shit that makes me happy. Like these Lowry paintings. Because ART.⠀
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  • Gimme dat sandstone. Gimme those arches. Gimme great staircases. Argh, the buildings over here are MAGNIFICENT and I will never apologise for sneaking into universities to see what they're like inside because I am a REBEL WITH A CAUSE⠀
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  • There are some beautiful fountains in the UK... and then there are some that look like a child's head has been chiselled open and had a tube stuck in it while their mouth is a yawning cavern of terror. Like this one.
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  • Lowry 🧡
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  • Wandering through the UK towards the end of winter and at the start of spring you see a lot of daffodils. I hate daffodils. So when I found some GIANT SUNFLOWERS (no matter how painted on a wall they are), I had to get a photo with them to shoe my solidarity with oft ignored other yellow flowers of this world 🌻
📷 @levy1989
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  • Sometimes joy comes from watching other people travel! I got to drop off my big brother and his girlfriend at the airport earlier this year - he was taking her on a surprise holiday for her 30th birthday! Pure joy in those smiles ❤️⠀
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Mate, who am i?

(I ask myself the same thing)

Travelling can be really hard when you never feel like you're prepared. But, the more I do it the more I realise that being unprepared is the best way to travel. I’m Rowena. I live with depression and an anxiety disorder, which inspires a lot of my writing. My first reaction is to over-pack, over-worry, freak out, and give myself a headache. I’m consciously rebelling against that.

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