England Part 3

Monday, September 5th, 2011:

Our tour group is arriving in London but we don’t know what time they will make it to the hotel and Josh and I don’t want to waste the day so we decide to go to the Tower of London on our own.  We catch a cab and in fifteen minutes we are at the Tower and it’s a cold day.  The dreary day adds to the creepiness of the Tower, as I stood outside looking at it, waiting for the ticket booth to open.  Just over the Thames is Tower Bridge.

Tower of London is at the top of my list of visits, why?  Because I was addicted to The Tudors series…what can I say?  HBO and Showtime and STRZ make some awesome shows!!  But the Tudors covers the infamous Henry VIII and Josh didn’t even know why I was so fascinated with the Tower until we entered.

Yeoman giving us a tour, these guys are SO entertaining!

The White Tower  

Royal weathervane

There is something about the Tower of London that is historical and mystical and the same time. Maybe it’s the stories of how different Kings used the Tower or the executions and torture committed there.  Even the superstition about the ravens gives me chills.  They have one of the Yeoman be the Ravenmaster and this person is in charge of caring for the six ravens at the Tower of London.  Legend has it that if the ravens leave the Tower of London, the White Tower will crumble or something bad will happen to England.
The Ravens

Apartments built for Anne Boleyn

Because we were touring with the Yeoman he brought us into St. Peter ad Vincula and of course no picture taking was allowed.  It’s where three queens are buried (mind you when people found the bodies they realized they were buried in a mass grave)-Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard and Lady Jane Grey.

Execution site, a memorial to those that died here stands here now

Because of Her Kinf Henry VIII broke with the Roman Catholic Church

Do you love how they put “Way Out”? lol…

When we were done with our tour with the Yeoman, we went to see the crown Jewels.  Here’s a guard standing in front of the building.

Guarding the Crown Jewels

The crowns were quite impressive, I never saw jewels so large before!  But…I saw more dinner ware than jewels…lol…oh well, the crowns were lovely.

And because Josh and I had to rush back to the hotel because we had to join another tour…we made our way hurriedly through the White Tower and got glimpses of armor, even ones owned by Henry the VIII.

Now this place gave me the freaking chills!

These windows are slits…makes me claustrophobic

torture

a model of “the rack”

they would fold people up and place them in between this

After we left the torture chamber Josh looked at me and asked if I felt anything.  I told him I felt sick and cold and creeped out.  It’s like the walls at the Tower of London has eyes!  That or I have a very wild imagination but Josh never feels creepy about anything, so the fact that he said he felt “something” made me shiver.

walking up the steps to the white tower

the ravens home

Armor for Henry VIII

check out the package…lol..talk about protection!

a gift from Japan

this armor was for a very short man…lol…

a model of how the Tower of London looked back in the day

Leaving the White Tower you have to take steps, all the way down a spiral stairwell.  I got dizzy for a bit.

Tower Bridge

Awesome morning at the Tower!  My favorite tourist attraction yet.  Josh also bought a chess set with knights and all…he’s already placed it in the bedroom.  My nephews would love it.

We make it back with a moment to spare, we drop off our bags at our hotel room and rush down to meet the bus to go to Buckingham Palace.  Our guide for the day is Sean, who has a great voice and such enthusiasm it’s infectious (I like Sean even more because the next day he’s our guide to St. Paul’s Cathedral…lol).

Another view of Parliament
So first off we go to the Royal Mews which is basically a garage for the cars, horses and carriages for the royal family.  An American standing next to me asked me what “mews” meant…did I look like I would know?  I had no stinking clue…LOL…but we saw a lot of carriages.
this is THE carriage used in the wedding for Diana and Kate…it opens up

How Cinderella like

back in the day they had people pull you, now that is hard work

and this is what the Queen will use for her Jubilee next year

gold much?

This is THE Rolls Royce that Kate rode in to Westminster Abbey

 Okay, so no pictures are allowed in Buckingham Palace so let me describe the experience.  I felt like I was cattle being pushed from room to room…that’s how many people were in Buckingham Palace.  We got to see the state rooms that the Queen still uses for parties and state of affairs…remember the Queen has no political clout or power whatsoever.  It’s why Josh asked me “what does the Queen do?” because they say Buckingham is not her favorite place, it’s just a place where she comes to work…Josh wonders what “work?” lol….I shrugged, but I figure they do charitable things.

And because Kate and William are like the IT thing about the royal family right now, everyone went gaga over THE dress that Kate wore, which was on display…I felt like I learned more about The Wedding rather than anything historical about Buckingham Palace.  Josh thought it was a let down, compared to being at the Tower of London.  Strangely, I agreed with him.  Josh and I love history…so we wanted to hear more about that while at Buckingham.  But I did see the dress, I walked by it briefly because it was surrounded by people…but Kate is one skinny chic, I think it was a size 0.  It was beautiful and simple.  Her shoes, tiara, earrings and bouquet was on display too…surrounded by women so I walked by quickly also.  We got to see the area the reception took place, etc…and that was that.

Backyard of Buckingham

ahhh the sun is too damn bright

By the time we headed back to the hotel, it was drizzling and raining off and on…but Josh and I decided (tired and all) to head out again to Harrod’s so I can by my sister’s souvenir.  We caught a cab again and got to Harrod’s.  It’ basically a Saks 5th Avenue type store…looks like it too…and when I say Saks 5th, I mean the ACTUAL one on 5th Avenue in NYC.  Looks similar except it says Harrod’s.  It’s a large department store so I cut to the chase and asked a worker there where the Gift Shop was and headed straight there.

We were hungry but Josh didn’t want to eat at Harrod’s…we DID want to find the pizza place that Diana always took her boys…but the doorman at Harrod’s didn’t know which one we were talking about and we didnt know the name of it.  We passed by it Sunday and our guide pointed it out but it was night time.  But the doorman didn’t give up…we stood there for almost 10 minutes as he wracked his brain and asked a cab driver and finally gave some suggestions of where to eat.  Such dedication!

Since it started to rain we walked across the street to another Italian place…I scolded Josh saying we were going to be eating Italian food very soon and here I was in London eating Italian food again!  But I shut up as soon as I ate my Fettucine dish…it had truffle oil and it was absolutely delicious….I need to find a place in Hawaii that makes that dish, it’s sooooo good.

Westminster Abbey 

Harrod’s

What a long, long day and night.  Tomorrow we meet with our tour group finally and finish up our time in London 😦  Still didn’t walk over to Parliament, still didn’t ride the London Eye, still didn’t do so much!

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