Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Climbing Stairs at the Tower of London

So when I last left our intrepid heroes (snort!) we had finally rendezvoused (isn't THAT a weird-looking word) with the four other people, Chuck, Katie, Chris and Leo. Well guess what, I have no pictures of these four other people so for all you know we have an entire flock of imaginary friends. Nonetheless, they finished up breakfast when we finally arrived at the restaurant, and then we tackled the Tower of London. We kind of rambled along here, there, and everywhere so the pictures are likewise kind of a jumble.

So "Tower" of London is a bit of a misnomer because it's not a single tower. Am I the only one who was picturing one lone huge tower, like Rapunzel's only bigger and scarier? Well, the Tower of London is actually a big ol' fortress that has *lots* of towers. And probably ghosts since they killed a lot of people here...or more specifically, on Tower Hill outside the fortress. Only a few people were executed on the Tower Green within the walls, but that included two of Henry VIII's wives (Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard) and 16-year-old Lady Jane Grey, who was Queen of England for only 9 days. I always felt particularly sorry for her.

We're thinking that white plumbing thing on the right probably isn't original to the structure ;) The fortress was first built way, way back in 1066 by William the Conqueror (although I doubt he helped much with the actual building process, he probably told other people to do it). So at least parts of this place have been here for nigh on a thousand years.

The Tower is called after the White Tower, which you can see behind the outer wall in the above photo. At least I think that's the White Tower; my guide book is in the other room and I am disinclined to go get it (I'm LAZY, okay?!)

And look, there we are! With one of the guards in the background; this was taken in front of the building where the Crown Jewels are housed. Of course you're not allowed to take pictures of the Jewels themselves, so I got a postcard that has a picture of my favorite piece of the collection--Queen Victoria's small diamond crown, specially made for her to wear with her widow's veil.

And here's another building within the Tower grounds, can't remember what it is 'cause it wasn't open. Anyway, after that, we went into the White Tower, which currently houses a huge collection of armor and other manly stuff like that.

I think this is perhaps the fanciest cannon I have ever seen...

Photographs are allowed in the armory exhibit, so Lee went to town and got some pretty impressive shots.

This display reminds me of like an old GI Joe toy where the guns were in a little plastic frame like this and you had to detach them when you opened up the toy for the first time...or maybe I'm thinking of how they package parts and pieces to make model tanks or something. At any rate, I'm glad I have never had to wear armor like this 'cause it's heavy.

This set of armor I think belonged to Henry VIII, and given the fact that he had six wives I'm thinking there's some kind of message in the design of that codpiece. Which of course now makes it eminently mockable.

Back outside on Tower Green. According to legend, if the raven colony that inhabits the Tower of London ever leaves, then the kingdom and the tower will fall. So they CHEAT because they clip the ravens' wings, leaving them incapable of flight. The Yeoman Warders take care of the raven colony, feeding them and giving them names and everything.

Lee took this picture inside one of the towers, forget which one...some places have quite a bit of graffiti scratched into the walls by former prisoners.

And here's another, even better picture of the White Tower with blue skies behind! The weather cleared up midafternoon after we'd already been there for a couple hours.

You can walk along the outside walls and go through several smaller towers if you are so inclined, which is where we found this guy and I coerced Lee into getting in a picture.

We spent several hours exploring the Tower of London, but still didn't see near everything--I know we missed the torture tools exhibit. But it was about 2:30 in the afternoon and the desire for food overrode our desire to continue exploring the Tower, so we left in search of sustenance. Since we didn't get to eat until around 3, I had quite a nasty headache after that, so this is pretty much all the London photos for this month.

What do you think we should go see next time? I really want to go see the British Museum (Rosetta Stone! Elgin Marbles!), Lee's interested in Mme Tussaud's....suggestions? Sooner or later, we *will* do both, although there may be more fun photos to be had at Mme Tussaud's. I also want to visit 221B Baker Street and see if the world's second-favorite detective is in. The world's favorite detective is, of course, Nancy Drew.

Later this week or over the weekend I'm thinking I may take some more pictures around our village, or else I'll share some scrapbook pages or cards I've made lately. Toodles!


Amber Hight said...

AWesome pics! I'm enjoying your romps around England much mo' bettah than the romps around Japan, things look so much more interesting in England! That "tower" is amazingly huge! Hey did you try to get that guard to smile? I woulda tried that... LOL!

I vote for Mme Toussaud's as your next trip! I've always wanted to see one of those museums!!

Oh, and I'm also dying to see your scrapbook pages you've been working on:)

Miss you and love you!

Giffysk8s said...

I see that you finally got you handsome hubby in quite a few photos! Speaking of photos, Lee has quite the knack for taking cool ones. The armory exhibit shots are awesome!

I agree with Amber~Mme Tussaud's, mostly because I am dying to hear what will undoubtedly be a very entertaining narrative by you.

And I want to see some of your recent hand-crafting, too! Especially since you haven't done any stitching in awhile.

Speaking of stitching: in Cross Stitch Gold, I saw a pattern of Prince William and Kate! Do you want it? You cannot leave England without some sort of William & Kate souvenir! LOL

Giffysk8s said...

Oh, I forgot to say that I would totally love to visit 221B Baker Street! I saw Leonard Nimoy play the lead in the Broadway play many years ago. Funny to see Spock without his pointy ears, but he was fabulous! And I still love to read those 221B stories!

CCsMom said...

Neat, neat. That guard looks like a baby -- so young. I'd do the Mme Toussaud's, too. Those things are so real, they look like they should be breathing.

Look up "Water for Elephants" on IMDB and watch the trailer. Can't wait for that to come out. I really enjoyed the book. I will either read it again or send it on to you.

Gotta run . . . dinner calls! Love you!