Exploring museums

When I was little, we went to museums a lot. My parents took advantage of our proximity to the great Chicago museums, including the Field Museum, Museum of Science & Industry, and the Shedd Aquarium. But I don’t think I ever truly appreciated these museums, even though they were right up my alley. By the time I got old enough to appreciate them, we didn’t make the trip downtown much anymore.

With that in mind, the fact that I got to visit two museums today with Ciara, Tiara, and Malaika meant a lot to me. The second museum was especially cool. Our first stop, the Museum of Natural History, had a beautiful exterior and some interesting exhibits, and it reminded me of visiting the Museum of Science and Industry as a kid. Our second stop was at the Victoria and Albert Museum of art & design, which was stunning.

The museum featured art, sculptures, and other handcrafted items from around the world. It was the sort of museum that I could have spent an entire day at, but we were too tired to stay there for that long. There were just so many things to see, including galleries for all parts of the world, which featured broad explorations of an area’s design and specific galleries. For example, I particularly enjoyed an entire room of breathtaking religious works by the Italian artist Raphael.

An upstairs gallery featured metal carvings, including plates, boxes, and decorative designs. There was also a room featuring jewelry.

After a day spent browsing high European art, Ciara, Malaika and I proved our American-ness by grabbing dinner at McDonald’s. Despite the fact that I usually try to avoid eating McDonald’s food, and visit only occasionally for the $1 any-size sodas and ice cream, I was interested to see how different a UK McDonald’s would be to an American McDonald’s, so I tried a burger and a coke. The most obvious difference was the soda. The soda fountain was behind the counter, so free refills were not available, and the soda sizes were remarkably different. The size medium soda I ordered for 99 pence (about $1.40) would have been a small in America, but here, not all sodas were the same price, so I didn’t bother checking to see if the large soda matched up with a US medium.

McDonald’s also offered a special “Tastes of America” burger that was supposed to taste like Chicago, so naturally, I had to try it. I learned that, no matter where you go, a McDonald’s burger always tastes like a McDonald’s burger and nothing else. I didn’t really notice the Chicago connection, it basically just tasted like a Big Mac with bacon and a different sauce.

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