The Tower...& Other Tourisms
Trip Start Jul 06, 2008
29Trip End Aug 04, 2008
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The sky darkened, indicating rain, as our group crossed the bridge and into the Tower – and under a terrifying portcullis that we were informed is being held up by the same rope that was tied to it hundreds of years ago. Our Beefeater went over the Tower basics; showed us the Ravens, sitting on the Tower Green in front of the Dutch-looking buildings built for Ann Boleyn; introduced to us the very modern-art-looking memorial for those executed here. We hadn’t gotten through much of the tour before the rain really started coming down and we took refuge in St. John’s Chapel. Here, we were told, Elizabeth of York was laid in state. They still have services there, and it was very beautiful and very small.
Due to the heavy rain, our Beefeater told us he wouldn’t be able to do the rest of the outdoor tour. He told us what buildings were open. I got directions to the Crown Jewels, which I have wanted to see for as long as I’ve known they existed, and hurried through the deluge to the building. There was a long line, but soon I got to file past them. They are unbelievably beautiful and huge – they’re so glittery and perfect they almost look fake. The closest thing I’ve seen to them is the Hope Diamond in Washington D.C. At the end of the exhibit, they had displayed a crown from a contest, where they had schoolchildren design crowns and they made the winning one in metal and jewels. It had a nature design, with vines and leaves and animals.
Next I went to the Bloody Tower, where they believe the Duke of Gloucester killed his two nephews, a story I remember reading about somewhere. The Beauchamp Tower is really cool, with all these graffitis from important prisoners. By the time I got out of there, it was sunny again. Instead of finding another tour, I wandered around, seeing a medieval sword fighting reanactment and wandering through the armory, which has very impressive weapons displays - you can tell they don't use any of it.
The Tower is definitely a place I would like to visit again, and it was also a great end to a wonderful trip.
Since I only spent a few hours at the Tower of London, Nancy and I used the remainder of my last afternoon and evening to walk around to a few London attractions.
St. Paul's Cathedral was first. We didn't stay too long, but did go inside (no photography allowed). As it was Sunday they were currently holding services, so no one was allowed up into the dome, but I was happy to admire the very impressive interior. After that, we made a short trip across the Millenium Bridge, past the Tate Modern, and on to the Globe Theatre. The current production was for A Midsummer Night's Dream, and I truly loved the poster they had for it - it was the scene with the Wall, and the "chink" was between the Wall's legs! Too funny.
I'm not sure why I haven't mentioned it before now, but just down the street from Nancy's flat is a beautiful Greek Orthodox Church. Every night, every morning, I have heard its bells for a month (they only stop for a few hours in the early early morning). We kept meaning to go properly see it, but we never got around to it until now. The name of the church is St. Sophia's Cathedral, and both exterior and interior is absolutely stunning. The interior, although a bit dark, is very intricate and intimate and warm. I will miss hearing those bells; I have gotten very used to them.
For dinner, we went to Geales for one last fish n' chips supper, with sorbet for dessert.