10/16/2011

London Day 3

Tues. morning we took the hop on/hop off bus to the Tower of London.  On the way, we saw this really cool photo op:

We spent about 3 hours wandering around the grounds of the Tower.  Something I didn't know:  The Yeomen Warders (aka:  Beefeaters) actually live on the grounds.  No way could I do that, not with everything that happened within those walls. We even overheard a little girl (she was around 3 or 4, I would guess) say, "I don't like this place."  There was just something in the air there that something bad happened there.
It was pretty cool to see the actual spot where the beheadings took place:
When you hear about the history and watch movies or read books, you're led to believe that there were beheadings every day.  But, the reality is that there were only 7 beheadings in the Tower Green.

Even more cooler was seeing the etchings on the wall where the prisoners were held.  Amazing that they're still there, after all these years:
We saw the crown jewels, but, to be perfectly honest, they were just a bit disappointing.  When we were in Denmark, we were able to go into the vault to see the crown jewels as well as a lot of other "bling".  And, you could take pictures.  Here....no.  And, the only things that were in there were the crowns and some sceptors.  There wasn't that much, either.  Disappointing.
We learned that there always has to be 6 ravens in the Tower, or else the monarchy will fall.  So...there are actually 8 right now, and their wings are clipped.
Also on the grounds are the remains of a Roman wall.  When you're there, you tend to forget that the Romans once occupied part of what is now London.
And then there's Traitors Gate.  It was so eerie, imagining those people who came through that gate not knowing what their destiny was.
And, of course we took advantage of a great photo op:
We went by All Hallows By the Tower.  This was the church where Thomas More's body was taken after he was beheaded, where William Penn was baptised, and where John Quincy Adams was married.  It was bombed during WWII; only the tower and walls remained.  While walking into the crypt, part of the floor was a Roman street.  It was an amazing building:
After we left, we took the boat down the Thames to stroll by Parliament and Westminster Abbey.  We weren't able to go into the Abbey or to St. Margaret's, but just walking around the site was amazing.

From there we walked up to Trafalgar Square.  On the way, we ate at Lord Moon of the Mall.  This pub was recommended by a friend's husband, who is British.  It was the least inexpensive pub food we had while we were there, and it was the best.  Joyce told me to make sure to try the Sticky Toffee Pudding:  SPOT ON!  Oh my goodness was it good!  

I don't know why, but Trafalgar Square was one of my favorite places.  We didn't have time to go into the National Gallery, and I only got to peek into St. Martin in the Fields.  We did go down into the crypt of the church, which has been turned into a cafe.  I was a bit disappointed to learn that all of the bodies that were buried there are no longer there.  
We had a good time just sitting on the steps of the church and people watching. 
Some of the sights from Day 3:


9 comments:

  1. Soooooo much history to take in. There is just something about hearing about "beheadings" that give me nightmares, even when I was a child. Shivers! Fantastic opportunity to see all the things you've only read about before.

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  2. What an amazing trip! I LOVE history which is one reason I love living in the Charleston area. But the history in Europe- wow. Fascinating!

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  3. Your pictures are of my favorite places. I love London....I rode the eye when I was there last time. It was amazing....but took so much time.

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  4. Some of my favorite places...I love to sit in or around Trafalgar too. I'm glad you got the pud! Oh yeah, and you're killing me with the pictures : )

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  5. I love those Yeoman Warders - every time we go I learn something new (like how the saying "robbing Peter to pay Paul" came to be!). The one thing I remember about the crown jewels was an enormous gold punch bowl that was the size of a small hot tub. Was that still there? Weird that I remember that and not the jewels!

    I'm too impatient to wait for the rest of your posts - did you have a chance to go to the British Museum? That is my absolute favorite thing in London. I could spend an entire week there, I think!

    I love all the photos - they bring back such wonderful memories for me...

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  6. This is so much fun reliving my trip with you. It poured the day we went to the Eye of London, I never got a good picture. I enjoyed the Tower of London but couldn't do all the steps. I took that exact picture of the water/gate. Sorry you couldn't go into the Abbey, there is a secret garden which is beautiful. Beautiful pictures. Didn't you just love everything you saw? So glad you saw so many of the sights. The buses are amazing for sight seeing!

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  7. What a day! Thanks again for sharing with us. I have never been there and am certainly enjoying your posts and pics.

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  8. How wonderful. I am truly, truly envious. Glad you had such a magnificent time.

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  9. Such great photos! You got to see a lot of historical places on this trip. What an experience!

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