on March 11, 2012
William the Conqueror celebrated his triumph (1066) by starting the series of buildings that became known as The Tower of London. My preconcieved vision of this place was based on many old black and white movies I watched at a child...dark, wet and scarey. Surprise! The buildings are really built of white materials and one of the main sections is even called The White Tower. Over the centuries this place did take on the reputation for terror. Two little Princes who should have inheirited the crown, went missing while staying here. Two of Henry the VIII's wives lost their heads here. Lady Jane Grey also died here of head displacement. This was a stop on our whole city tour. I strongly advise that you come here on your own time schedule. And bring along a snack. We stood in line for a very long time to see the crown jewels. Glad I got to see them, the amount of gold and precious stones was startling, giving them a not quite real look. There is a moving sidewalk in front of the cases of jewels to keep the crowd moving at a steady pace. Be prepared to pay full attention, there are no do-overs. One advantage to being on a guided tour was that our guide was buddy-buddy with one of the Beefeaters. This Royal guard walked along with us and chatted for awhile. We also learned about The Ravens. These seven birds are attached to a legend. It says that if these birds desert the Tower, the kingdom will fall. That explains why the poor birdies all have one clipped wing. They aren't going anywhere! We weren't allowed enough time to visit any of the other historic buildings in the complex, but at least had 20 minutes to shop and make the long walk back to the bus parking. When we entered the building we could look down on the Traitor's gate. Boats would bring in prisoners by this entrance. If a person entered this way, they rarely left. Looking downriver we could see the magnificent Tower Bridge. Yes, I would come back here spending much more time with a side trip to the bridge.
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