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Wednesday, July 15, 2009


We flew out of new York on June 25 to Birmingham, England via Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. Although we only had enough time to walk from one gate to another for our flight to Birmingham, the airport looks very nice. We did have enough time to admire the Lego airport scene and stop in the art museum annex to view an exhibit of still-life paintings.

After a short plane ride, we arrived at Birmingham International on the morning of June 26 and took a train into the city and a bus to our budget hotel, the Inkeeper's Lodge Birmingham West (Quinton) shown below. Richard Green, one of the Bead Society members had suggested the hotel and it turned out to be a good deal. The hotel is in the back of a chain restaurant called Toby Carvery so it was a little strange checking in at the restaurant's bar, but the price was right, the staff was very friendly, breakfast was tasty, and the rooms were good-sized, clean, and quiet at night. We even had a kettle and complimentary tea, instant coffee, and biscuits in the room. The bus ride to and from central Birmingham took about 15 minutes and the stop was right across from our hotel.

Since our rooms weren't ready, we left our luggage and headed back to Birmingham to see what it was like. We stumbled across the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, which is a lovely place to spend a rainy afternoon. Opened in 1887 to display objects from around the world as inspiration for local artisans, it has developed a very interesting collection including metal work, tiles and pottery, stained glass windows, prints, body armour, paintings, a vast collection of works by Edward Burne-Jones, and much more.

The Victorian building was just as intersting as some of the exhibits that it houses. Here are shots of the building exterior and part of the interior.

Even the floor was impressive.

A few of my favorite objects from the collection.

Metal Balustrade.

Egyptian beadwork mask from a mummy, 1000-600 BCE

Tile panels designed by William De Morgan, 19th century

After the museum, we went back to the hotel, ate dinner at the Toby Carvery, and were in bed by 7:30 PM.

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