Monday, 13 June 2011

That's A Blooming Big Bridge

On our third day in London we started our morning at the Tower of London, which was definitely a must see destination for both of us, because seriously? A site with precious jewels and a bloody history?


The first thing we did when we got there was to head straight for the crown jewels so we could see that main attraction and avoid the crowds.

Where the jewels are kept.

One of the guys who guards the entrance.

You weren't allowed to take any pictures of the jewels which was a bummer because as you can imagine, the lighting was ultra-fab and those rocks really sparkled like diamonds.

To paint a visual of the display though, first you have to clear security and then you weave through a room that has on display the name and reigning date of every single British monarch since the beginning of the monarchy. When you leave that room you will then move through two separate rooms that have videos playing; the first video is dedicated to the history of the different regalia that you will soon see, and the second video is a summary of the Queen's coronation. Then when you clear these rooms it's finally time to see the crown jewels!

Entering the room, you will see there are two automated walkways flanking a centre display case. Step on whichever walkway you want, and then you will slowly be moved past the centre display case that holds different crowns, the sovereign's orb, the impressively jewelled state sword, coronation rings, diadems, and the Star of Africa. Once you reach the end of the belt, you can circle back to view the regalia again or you can move through the room towards the exit to see displays of massive gold plates, bowls, baptism vessels, and altar ornamentation.

Since Dan and I got there first thing, we probably spent twenty minutes maximum viewing this collection. It was so sparkly. I loved it.

After we left we then we went back to the Tower's entrance, picked up our audio guides, and started touring the rest of the site. Our first stop on the tour was Traitor's Gate.


Looking over the wall at Traitor's Gate I saw the water pooling beneath the iron jaws of this ominous entrance and noticed people's money--their wishes--glinting on the rocky bottom. Do any of you readers remember the post I did about The Wish Fairy? Because my theory that humans are incapable of passing still bodies of water without hurling their life savings into these shallow depths has been proven right.

Do you really think that tossing your money into a splashing of water that has randomly collected inside a seafaring entrance called TRAITOR'S GATE is really the right place to make your wish for a bikini body by summer? No, it isn't. This was the entrance to the Tower where many prisoners--Anne Boleyn famously amongst them--were rowed through knowing that when Traitor's Gate slammed closed their lives were literally over. Sliced, hacked, chopped. Over. So get it together people! Save your money for fish n' chips or wishes at Disneyland.

Other sites we saw at the Tower were the torture chamber, the White Tower (the original 'tower' of the Tower) that spans four floors and extensively documents early military history (which means I had to spend a lot longer there than I wanted to), the ravens, the Tower Green where executions were carried out, and one of the chamber rooms where prisoners were kept.

Fortress walls and slingshots

I liked the circular towers.

'Oh Madam, you do know we have one room still available in the Bloody Tower?'
'Oh really? You don't say. Erm, haha. Silly me, I WAS going to pay for this apple but my wallet is at home. I'll just put that back. So yeah...have a great day. Toodles. Bye.'

I threatened Dan that if I had to visit one more military museum, he was going to end up like the guy on the right.
Except, Dan isn't actually afraid of me.
That's a problem.
Later that afternoon we went to another war museum.

The white tower.
Named so, I assume, because it's not pink.

Military stuff.

The white, not pink, tower continued.

The tower green.
This is where all public executions occurred.
The glass memorial marks the spot of the chopping block, and an inscription reads:

'Gentle visitor pause awhile, where you stand death cut away the light of many days, here jewelled names were broken from the vivid thread of life, may they rest in peace while we walk the generations around their strife and courage, under their restless skies’

Prisoner carvings.

For some odd reason it seems like the only thing I didn't do at the Tower was see a ghost or get a picture of a Beefeater.

Say what?

I totally wanted to see a ghost. Surely there must be some kicking around there, searching for their heads.

After we left the tower we went to gaze at London's Tower Bridge. Upon fully setting eyes upon it for the first time I told Dan, "This can't be the Tower Bridge?! IT CAN'T BE."

Since Dan is extremely sensible, he firstly tried to ignore me. But I cannot be ignored. So with a great deal of mocking in his voice he asked, "Please tell me why that's not the Tower Bridge?"

"Because it's blue! What the hell? Shouldn't it be more...I don't know...sepia coloured? This can't be the 'right' Tower Bridge."

"Well, since we're at the Tower of London, and this is the only bridge around with towers on either side of it, I'd say this is probably the Tower Bridge."

(I can tell that sometimes Dan must have to have the patience of a Kindergarten teacher to deal with me.)

"But it's blue. So blue. This is disappointing."

"The whole thing isn't blue, Caitie. Anyhow are you going to take a picture?"

"Yeah, I guess. SIGH."

It's blue.
I think that's weird, if you haven't already guessed.

Actually, upon reflection I match the bridge:
 my glasses are blue, my earrings were blue, as was my jacket.

After taking our picture, we started to walk back over to the dock where we were going to catch a tour boat up the Thames. As we started to walk away I stopped.

"Wait! I promised Meghan I'd say something!"

So I turned back around, stared at the Tower Bridge, and said in my normal Canadian voice that was coloured with just a hint of sullenness:  "That's a blooming big (blue) bridge."


Habebi said...

Ha ha ha!! You cooridinated with the bridge. Hilarious! And yeah, you need to work on getting Dan to be afraid of you. I'm not saying do anything as drastic as that picture, but, surely there's something? ;-)

Dad said...

I really enjoyed this post Cait. I vaguely remember visiting the Tower many moons ago, seeing the jewelery, etc. Couldn't have put it into words better than you though. Jolly Good!!

Meg said...

Haha! Glad to hear that you remembered to use a few authentic british phrases on your trip. Travel tip #1, learn to talk and act like a local. Pip pip cheerio!