The other weekend I was lucky enough that Dad stopped by on a business trip around the world. He stayed with me for the weekend, and we tried to cram in as much as possible into the 2 days we had- it turns out a weekend is way too short! And being a tourist is really tiring. I already told you about Phantom of the Opera, I'll tell you about what we did on the second day: visit the infamous Tower of London! Rhys and I had tried to go not long after we arrived, but the price is just ridiculously expensive (it's hard to convince yourself to spend £17 on something historical when there is so much exciting free stuff to do). But Dad coming to visit was the perfect excuse to go see the landmark- and actually that price tag is worth it. We bought our tickets, then jumped on the first tour with a beefeater, or yeoman warders as they prefer to be called. Apparently beefeater is actually an insult, and yeoman warders have to serve 20 years in the army before they are allowed to be a yeoman- who is a sort of personal guard to the Queen. Even though the Queen lives up the road at Buckingham Palance, while the warders all live in the Tower of London.
But our tour guide was absolutely fantastic. There were maybe 100 people on the tour, and we were all in stitches for the duration of the 60 minutes- our guide was hilarious (yet informative. what a combination). The Tower is very famous for it's blood, macabre history, so it was interesting to see all the plaques and signs working very hard to say "some people think this is a prison but actually there were only 100 prisoners ever held here" "some people think there was a lot of torture here, but actually only 30 people in all of England's history were ever tortured" etc etc, trying to escape it's reputation. Which was funny in a way.
In fact our guide was so good, that he features on YouTube! This is nearly the exact same speech that he gave while we were there (Thanks for the link Norman!)
After the tour we wondered all around the gatehouses, palisades, portcullises, keeps, and more- for about 4 hours which is enough to wear anyone out. Of course, one of the highlights was going to see the Crown Jewels. This had one of the most hilarious, yet smart, museum set-ups I have ever seen. They had about 10 crowns filled with diamonds, sapphires, gold, velvet, and more diamonds. So in order to get the tourists through lickety-split, they had a conveyor belt going by the case of crowns. so like a little lettuce at the supermarket, you had to get on the conveyor belt, and be whisked in a timely manner past all the crowns. Of course on busy days this must keep the crowds moving along but luckily we were there on a quiet day - so we took the conveyor belt about 5 times, checking out each coronation crown over and over again. good.
|them crown jewels are well-guarded|
|cages of rooks- the traditional guardians of the Tower|