Today the countdown was over and it was time for me to become even more touristy and pay the Tower of London a nice little visit. The study abroad program that I’m going through offered a free trip to visit the infamous tower, so naturally I jumped on the opportunity and went with a group of my friends. Typically the tickets are around twenty pounds which is a bit pricey when you do the conversion to U.S dollars, but after my experience exploring the tower grounds, I would probably fork over the money anyway and go because I enjoyed it so much! We really lucked out on the beautiful weather to accompany our trip which probably enhanced our overall experience, although a little drizzle of rain might have set a nice somber mood for the tour. On a side note, it really hasn’t rained much at all since I’ve been here, which has been quite nice because we’ve all been able to enjoy being outdoors without coming home sopping wet (of course as soon as I post this it will probably pour).
We arrived at the tower around noon and had the entire day to explore the different exhibits and rooms within its walls. I really didn’t know all that much about the Tower of London prior to my visit other than that it is where many prisoners were held and often times tortured and that it is the historical site where Anne Boleyn the second wife of King Henry VIII was contained and later beheaded. I walked into the tower knowing very little and left with a bit more knowledge and understanding about the history embedded in the walls, literally in some cases, as you will see later on in this post. Upon entering the castle, a Knight greeted a knight. (Pictured below)
And my friends Sally and Sarah met this gentleman.
We visited the White Tower first, which consists of armor from the days that the Tower was in use. It always is incredible to view the amount of weight that knights had to support on their bodies not to mention carry around with them. There was a display where you could stick your head into a helmet to give you a sense of the visibility and hearing that knights had while fighting, and let me just say that they must have had an incredible amount of skill and strength to be able to get anything accomplished. It was like staring through a tiny viewfinder the size of a thin mail slot. Following the walk through the armory, we had to go take a peek at the crown jewels. I mean a trip to London wouldn’t be complete without a brush with royalty right? It was fascinating to get to view the intricacies of the crown jewels as well as the coronation dining ware, and this might sound silly, but it still amazes me that all of these diamonds and gemstones were cut and set so precisely by hand.
These Baboons had taken over the wall where we exited the White Tower. According to the Royal Beasts exhibition, there were a variety of different species housed in the walls of the tower and it was an honor for a monarch to receive a native animal from other countries. What a sad life these animals must have had though, PETA would not be happy.
It was quite dark and tight for space going up the spiral staircase in the next tower we visited, but we made it just fine. There is my friend Lidia and if you look closely you can see my other friend Brian creepin’ in the background. Once we reached the top, we entered a staged room to give you an idea of what it would have been like back when the tower was in full operation. I thought that the old floor tiles were neat so I figured I’d include a picture, but I didn’t want to give too much away for those of you who want to experience the tower for the first time yourselves.
My friends Shannon and Michelle being adorable! The Courtyard outside of the Bloody Tower.A couple of the guards here at the Tower. The Raven was actually quite calm and modeled for all of the tourists who were taking photographs while it posed on the railing.A portion of the old hospital that used to be used here.Some of the old remaining wall.Classic tourist picture. The only way this would be more American is if I was sporting a U.S.A flag across my shirt.
Getting a little nervous . . . this is the ground floor of the Beauchamp Tower where they used to confine and often times torture prisoners for treason, yikes!Writing etched in to the wall by one of the prisoners held in the tower. See, history is literally embedded in the walls!Catapult! (Henry this one is for you)Remains of a Roman street in the Crypt Museum at All Hallows, the oldest church located in the city of London just a few minutes away from the Tower of London by foot.Stained glass windows at All Hallows that I thought were worthy of documentation.
Following our adventure through the passage ways of the Tower of London, Lidia and I decided to wander around the local neighborhood and eventually ended up at, yup you probably guessed it, BFI Southbank! I don’t know what it is about this place, but every time we make it over to Central London we end up with a coffee in our hands taking a walk along the Thames. Although this time we skipped the coffee, we were filled with enough caffeine for the day already! Spotted this colorful and graphic graffiti at the skate park in Southbank.
Well that is all that I have for you at the moment and if you made it to the bottom of this page you deserve a bar of chocolate or whatever treat you like to munch on because I realize this was a long and photo heavy post. It’s night Knight for me (see what I did there).