Monday, 19 November 2007

Off With Their Heads!

Isn't it insane to think about people losing their lives that way? I mean regardless of the offense, why would anyone think that was an appropriate way to punish? Today we saw where many of these beheadings took place hundreds of years ago, The Tower of London.

The Tower of London has stood on the Thames for over 900 years. Over these years it has served as a palace, a prison, and a royal mint, but today many people come to see it as a living museum of British history. The tower is a truly a remarkable fortress. While we were there today, we took the "Beefeaters" tour, a guided walk led by a Yeoman Warder. As I listened to our guide, I was able to just imagine the way London looked centuries ago. It is so surreal to think about the kings, knights, prisoners, and other ancient British figures who had walked on those very grounds hundreds of years before me. On the lawn outside the Chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula (a small chapel there on the tower grounds), is the spot where Ann Boleyn was beheaded...some people say they can still see the blood stains.

Our "Beefeater"

Inside what is known as The Jewel House are the Crown Jewels. Behind vault doors, encased in glass cabinets are some of the most beautiful stones you have ever seen set into crowns, swords, and scepters. We saw a 530-carat Star of Africa, a diamond placed on the top of the Royal Sceptre; boy was that a sparkler!! The crowns we saw had so many jewels I couldn't help but wonder how heavy they must be to actually wear on top of you head.

Here we are outside Tower of London, with the famous Tower Bridge in the background.

While Tower of London was the main attraction of our day, we did manage to accomplish a few other things. We saw Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. Overseas visitors are not allowed inside those buildings but we took a few good pictures from the outside.

I think my personal favorite for the day was helping my mom experience her first tube ride!! Those of you that know my mother can appreciate what this must have been like for me. While we were waiting for our first train to arrive, she must have asked me three times if we were going to be going underground on this trip. I also had to assure her that the tube doesn't really move any faster than a car at any given time on a route. Really, she did great and I know she enjoyed herself once three teenage British chippies sat down across from us and she was able to eavesdrop on their conversation for the remainder of our ride.

Bus fare to get to tube station = 2 pounds
Cost of Oyster card = 3 pounds
To travel by tube in London for a week = 20 pounds
Being with Mom on her first tube ride = Priceless


Beth said...

Snaps for Chris! I bet that was quite an adventure. Glad you guys are having such a great time and I know you're enjoying having some visitors. I'm super jealous! I wish I had taken these 2 days off and gone with them!
P.S. My mom can't figure out how to post comments. Surprise, surprise. I guess I'll have to hold a tutoring session over Thanksgiving!

pkhubbard said...

Chris-Where did you get the red hat--neither Mother or I recognize it--we do love it!!
We both laughed at Stephanie's description of you on the tube ride--wish we could have been there for that!

Looks like you are having a great time--isn't it amazing to see all of these places you have read about forever?!