The British Museum
“Those magisterial Elgin Marbles, at the British Museum, worn and wasted from so many centuries of bombings and displacements (and perhaps from all of us, ogling away at them).” (pg 97)
While Alice and Alfred are walking through the London debris, Alice thinks about the Greek friezes, the Elgin Marbles her papa loved to observe at the British Museum. Her papa would say those friezes stand there as a testament, that even after bombings and displacements, there is something in the heart of us that will always remain.
You can visit the British Museum today in London, and even go ogle away at the Elgin Marbles that are still on display there, a further testament to their ability to make it through anything. Admission is free, and they have tons of art, sculptures, artifacts and more items from areas all over the world and throughout different time periods. They have a wonderful Greek and Roman collection, which I know I’m super interested in seeing (as I’m taking a Greek and Roman mythology course at the moment).
The London Zoo
“The Giraffe House, Regent’s Park. In the gelid light of some enduring, if crueler, April day. Together they’d stood so many years before. He, extending a leaner forefinger toward their favorite giraffe. (Still there!) ‘See, Alice? His tongue — dark as ever.” (pg 124)
The Giraffe House in Regent’s Park is where Alice and Alfred visited a few months before they are hunkered in the tube underground. This is where Alfred compares the giraffe’s shadow getting longer on their visits to the shadows in his own life seeming to get larger and taking up more space inside of him.
Today you can still visit the giraffes at the Giraffe House in the London Zoo. Unfortunately, I don’t think you will be looking at the same exact giraffes Alice and Alfred saw, but maybe their descendants… Fun fact (actually not so fun fact) — the bombings in 1940 led to a zebra escaping from the Giraffe House:( You can get a ticket to the zoo for £31.59 and if you want to splurge and enhance your visit you can even get tickets to meet the giraffes! )
“Still, all children cry out, don’t they? From their beds at night and through the daytime — when separated from their Papas, as she had been, that time in Kensington Gardens. Every statue, every sculpture she’d run past, even that abandoned bandstand, acting as if it had never known her…” (pg 223)
While Alice is in the underground tube during a bombing she thinks about all the other children who may be at home hiding under their beds and in their mum’s arms. She asks herself, “all children cry out, don’t they?”. This makes her think back to the time when she was little and got separated from her Papa in Kensington Gardens.
You can visit the beautiful Kensington Gardens just to the west side of Hyde Park in London. Stroll around, and if you have kids stop by the Diana Playground with its Peter Pan theme. Then finish the morning or afternoon off with some tea and pastries at the Italian Gardens Cafe. Just don’t get lost like Alice!