Saturday, February 26, 2011

Holy Crown Jewels, Batman!

I dunno. I am a bit delirious from exhaustion today. I woke up not feeling particularly well (thought it might be the changing in seasons/weather mood wings here) and I'm thinking I may have come down with a slight cold. Nothing to fear, just terrible timing. But that wouldn't stop me from my London adventures!

Liz, Sarah and I all headed over to the Tower of London this afternoon for some spectacular viewing, despite the on again off again rain that almost always persists in London. What I love about the Tower of London is that it isn't a tower at all. It is like a FORTRESS. Ok, maybe not exactly, but still cool.

We got an abridged tour from the Yeoman guide. They have a nickname- Beefeaters. They have no idea where this name came from nor why it persists, but they still have it today. An interesting fact I learned about them is that they have all served and achieved a pretty high rank in the Royal military. I thought it was just like a tour guide job. Nope. You have to be legit. They and their families live inside the Tower. Pretty sweet, huh?

So we saw lots of execution places and lots of armour (like seriously, you probably could skip the exhibit and just go on my Facebook since I took pics of everything I could) because they were having a Royal Armour exhibit in the White Tower.

I have to say the coolest thing we saw by far was the Jewel House, home of the Crown Jewels. Unfortunately, I wasn't allowed to take pictures, but that is a sight I will never forget. There were about 7 crowns, all composed of hundreds of diamonds, rubies, sapphires and more. God, they were brilliant. You could probably have cut off a small piece of one and solved the world debt crisis. Apparently, the jewels are so invaluable that they cannot be insured. There has only been one attempt to steal them in the history of them being in the Tower.

The crowns aren't the only thing in the Jewel House. It is also home to everything they use in the coronation ceremony and other royal occasions- the orb/globe, the maces, the swords, the communion sets, the dinner set. So. Cool.

So in general, we spent a good 4 hours there just wandering around and being awestruck at the awesomeness that was the Tower. Then we headed off to meet Casey and Andrea to check out Fleet Street.

While we didn't actually find a meat pie shop on Fleet Street, we made due with Pasties because Fleet Street is actually not that popular of an area. Lots of stuff was closed but whatever. Casey and I sang "The Worst Pies in London" while walking down the street with her turkey and cranberry and my steak pasties. I consider this a dream well fulfilled.

Sunny! Enjoying the swing in the London Centre's garden!

Tower of London from outside

obviously the best place to get ice cream?

Yeoman guards

The White Tower

Roman wall inside the Tower

Knight and horse in full armour

Suit of Armour as part of the exhibit

The Kings' Heads. Creepy

The Line of King's exhibit

Small 'nook' that Sarah found- note, it is an old school toilet. 


My fierce knight getup

Legend has it if the ravens leave the Tower England will fall. So they clipped their wings (there are 6). I think that is cheating, England.

In front of the Tower Bridge (often mistakenly called the London Bridge. It isn't)


I know why nobody cares to take them, I should know, I make them, But good? No!
The worst pies in London, Even that's polite! 

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