(Today’s post is a mix of iPhone & actual camera photos) Yesterday morning we woke up early, thanks to jet lag. It gave me time to work on pictures and chronicling, so fingers crossed it becomes a habit.
Our first stop was the Tower of London, which opened at 9am.
We had reserved our tickets in advance, so arriving at opening time with tickets in hand was a big queue jumping bonus. We were in, and had so much space to ourselves, even for a Friday in June!
Because we knew the place would fill up quickly, we chose to check out the popular Crown Jewels first. The last time I went, my family laughed at hearing the Indian families next to us say “ah, there are our jewels,” but this time it was relatively empty when we approached the crowns and royal objects. F and I did remind ourselves, though, that the Tower (and most attractions) were in part British propaganda machines.
No pictures allowed when viewing the jewels.
That didn’t stop us from enjoying the Tower, though. F enjoys European history, so it was nice having him along to tell me about some of the famous events and people in more detail than what the little plaques offered.
Place a finger over a medal to learn more about the person who was awarded it.
The Fusilier museum was short but worth visiting. It details many of the kinds of weapons that fusiliers used, and the lives of members.
I thought the decorative chest plate on the mannekin to the right looked very cool. While this kind of armour was once used for a functional purpose, it devolved into a decorative piece over time.
After wandering through the exhibits along the outer walls, looking at the depressing history of animals being kept at the castle and the tragic events of the Bloody Tower (whereupon we decided to skip the torture exhibit), we finished off at the White Tower.
Superstition has it that if one of the six ravens at the Tower of London leaves, the Tower will fall. Here I snapped one of seven ravens that hop casually around the Tower grounds. There’s six for tradition and one backup just in case one escapes.
The Line of Kings, which I didn’t take pictures of, was interesting to read about. There were many processions of little French school children as we walked through this part of the exhibit, but it didn’t hinder us from learning about the history of the Line and how it has evolved over the centuries. Also, one of King Henry VIII’s suits of armour has a codpiece, which however popular in the 15th century, isn’t something you get to see during your everyday tourist activities. To learn more about codpieces as fashion, see here.
“Visitor” = prisoner. I took a photo of Pasha because his father’s name is Mohammed Ali. Watta champion, I’m sure.
If there’s anything you’re sure to never forget while visiting places like the Tower of London and the Globe Theatre, it’s that 500 years ago, London was a disgusting, unhygienic place. I understand that most of the world was, but here you get to visually learn how people went to the bathroom way back when.
The old waste-hole. It drops right off the side of the tower, for all passersbys to see.
F, testing it out.
The rest of the White Tower is mostly a display of the various weapons used by the British Empire over the centuries, particularly from Henry VIII’s time and onwards (much of what existed in the previous centuries has been lost).
Impractical, quirky weapons that were never really used. To the right is an axe gun.
Tiffany & co. collaborated with the Tower to create this artistic piece.
The grounds were really starting to fill up once we exited the White Tower. We decided then that we’d finished up seeing everything we wanted to see (skipping a free tour provided by a Yeoman Warder), and that it was time to leave. Unlike when we arrived, there was a massive line to get into the Tower of London when we left, and aside from enjoying the history of the Tower, we were grateful we arrived early and with preordered tickets in hand.
Next up was a trip to the Natural History Museum and the Victoria & Albert!