Day 2: Towers and Traffic
After a hearty “full English” breakfast at the hotel, we head to the Underground station, buy our day-passes, and hop on the Bakerloo line towards the Tower of London! Kathy and I were there before, but (again) this one is “for the children” — and the weather cooperates for us beautifully!
The original portions of The Tower of London were built by William the Conqueror in 1078. You can read lots of history here at the Wikipedia Tower of London page, if you’re interested…
We had a really enjoyable morning touring the Tower, seeing everything we could… Henry VIII’s “impressive” codpiece, the “Torture in the Tower” exhibit (see ‘the rack’ below), the dramatic chapel inside the White Tower, and more!
There are some absolutely *ENORMOUS* ravens that are treasured residents of The Tower. Legend dictates that, if the ravens ever leave, the Tower will fall and the Kingdom will fall, so King Charles II decreed that there must always be at least six ravens at the Tower. That tradition has been honored for more than 300 years.
While Andrew started his quest for cars yesterday, Melanie started her trend of having her picture taken with… well… “unique things”, and yes… that’s a real (skinny) guy in the Superman costume. For some reason, he was just *there* having his picture taken with tourists. Go figure.
Of course, we had to get our picture taken with the famous Tower Bridge!!!! Please note, this is *not* to be confused with London Bridge (“… is falling down, falling down.”)… that’s the next bridge up the Thames and is really quite boring. The previous London Bridge, of course, was bought and for some reason moved to Lake Havasu, AZ.
As we waited for our double-decker bus (yay!), the shade was really nice… I also saw one of the *best* pub names on the trip right across from The Tower.
Once we got onto the bus, we found out that half of our planned route has been detoured, due to a UK-wide event (a one kilometer run for some charity) taking place that afternoon! So… after (literally) wasting an hour going *VERY* slowly, we hop off, find the nearest Underground, and head to our next destinations… Andrew and I were *originally* going to go to The British Museum, but we ran out of time, but he had done some homework on London saxophone stores… there was one off of Baker Street (of Sherlock Holmes fame) that was right on our Underground path back to the hotel, so I gave him permission to go off on his own and meet us back at the hotel. Meanwhile, I took Mel and Kathy to *their* preferred destination for the day — The Royal Horse Guards.
Unfortunately, nothing significant was going on, so after looking around a bit, we wandered up to Trafalgar Square, then took the Underground back to our hotel (Andrew was there… whew!), and met our driver who was picking us up to take us up to Julian and Jenny’s house in the Midlands.
I’ve known Julian for over ten years now, and have become very close friends with him and his family. I’ve visited them several times and they’ve come over to the States several times, too. He and Jenny have a *very* cute 2-year old son (Sam), and we’re going to be spending the rest of our England vacation with them in the “Heart of England”…