At the Tower of London, we joined one of the Yeomen for a guided tour that was full of laughs. He told us the history of the Tower, about various ‘visitors’ and the current inhabitants. Once the tour had concluded we went to see the Royal Jewels, and all I can say is WOW! Unfortunately, we could not take any pictures here, but they were amazing. One scepter had a diamond that was about 52 carats
! There was a gold punch bowl that could hold 144 bottles of wine with a conch shell ladle! The crown of India was very interesting as it was special made for one of the kings of England to wear in India, as the crowns in England are not allowed to leave the country. The description of this crown said that the king only wore this crown for 3 and ½ hours and upon removing it said it was very heavy, it has never been used again. Next, we moved on to walk around a portion of the outside walls of the tower, getting to see some of the prison cells and beautiful sites of the city. The last exhibit we visited was the tower animals. Here, we learned that the Tower of London used to hold a menagerie of animals for the public and royals to enjoy. The tower held everything from lions, polar bears, camels, to baboons, crocodiles and ostriches. All these animals were in cages but some were able to roam free in the yard, until they were permanently moved into the cages as they were attacking people. Eventually, all the animals were moved from the Tower to the London Zoo, which could better provide for them and to help ensure that both people and animals were safe from one another.
We had a quick lunch in the Tower and then headed to the docks to catch a boat to take us down the Thames to Westminster Abbey. The trip was beautiful and our tour guide was hysterical (based on Mom’s reaction :) )
. There were beautiful lions heads that lined the river, which had previously helped the residents of London monitor the river level and know when there was a potential for the city to be flooded. One popular saying goes ‘when the lions mouth is ducked then London is…flooded’. I think our guide was just being polite. Anyway, after our river tour we walked around Big Ben (which is actually the name of the bell not the clock) and Houses of Parliament onto Westminster Abbey. From here we caught the bus again to Hyde Park. In Hyde Park there was a Christmas fair called Winter Wonderland. There were various stalls selling candy, beer, toys, ornaments, jewelry and much more. At the end of all the stalls were carnival games and rides. By time we finished here it was 6 pm and the tube was packed we decided to walk to Harrods. The department store was huge, selling everything from designer
clothes to pies. We spent most of the time in the food court and got some pies
for dinner. Finally, we headed back to the tube and caught the train back to the hotel. On the ride back we met a woman from New York, who has been living in London for three years. She was delightful and told us about her experience here, what she thought of the
people and gave us some suggests about what to see and do on the rest of our
This morning after a quick breakfast in our hotel, we took a walk to Trafalgar Square. The sun was shining and it was quite warm, so not only were the sites enjoyable, but the temperature was just right. When we reached Trafalgar Square (after getting only a little lost), the area was full of people taking in the sights and performers entertaining the crowds. After some photos and a little people watching, we got on the Original London Tour Bus to the Tower of London.