Day 4: The Tower of London

Below is the fourth journal entry recording the events of the trip Carolyn and I took to England and France in July of 2006:

Friday, July 21, 2006 London, England

We did a lot today! First we went to the Tower of London in… well… London. It was incredible. It’s a huge medieval castle stuck in the middle of a large 21st-century city.

Tower of London in modern city 

We started out with a tour by a Beefeater, or Yeomen Warder, who are the keepers of the Tower. It was extremely interesting! We saw the Crown Jewels–three times (Carolyn really liked them!)! They were very shiny and impressive, even the ones that were several centuries old. We saw where Anne Boleyn was imprisoned and executed, as was Lady Jane Grey. We saw towers where famous prisoners were confined, and many of them carved inscriptions on the walls that can still be seen. Some of them expressed their gloom and misery, others professed their faith in God, still others carved their coat of arms, quoted Scripture, or simply carved their names. Many if not most carved the year they were there. Very interesting stuff!

carvings inside the prisoners tower 

We also went to the room where the famous murder of the two princes probably happened at the order of Richard III, as well as the place under some steps in the White Tower where their remains were discovered a couple centuries later. We also visited the tower where a tortured Jesuit priest (I think his name was Father Gerard) escaped from the fortress in the 13th century. We visited the site in the chapel where Anne Boleyn’s remains were found buried, along with about 1,500 others. And then there was the massive armory in the White Tower, which was several stories of ancient armor.

White Tower circa 1080

We saw the armor of several kinds, like Henry VIII, Charles I & II, and James I. We even saw some of Charles I’s armor from his childhood. Tons of armor, swords, shields, knives, axes, maces–even some old guns and cannons. Oh yeah, and saddles. The castle was right on the Thames River and very scenic.

Tower of London

After we left the Tower of London, we walked around the Tower Bridge and got to see it open (the drawbridge), which was pretty cool. Then we walked around the other side of the castle and took the Tube to the Victorian Station. From there we took a stroll through Hyde Park–we must’ve walked three miles or so. We crossed over the river and saw the memorial fountain to Princess Diana. Carolyn wasn’t feeling well and we had the hardest time finding a place to eat dinner. It was about 7:30 p.m., and even in downtown London it was really hard to find a restaurant that was still open! Even when we finally found one, across from Harrods, we had to get the subs to go and bring them back to the room to eat here.

It continues to be insanely hot and muggy. This is the most heat I’ve every endured for a week, with the possible exception of boot camp in August in South Carolina.

Tomorrow we’re leaving really early for Dartmoor.

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Published in: on May 15, 2007 at 9:03 am  Leave a Comment  

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