Saturday, December 26, 2015

Towering History

Ok, back to the timeline!  The day after we went to The National Gallery, we went to The Tower of London.  It is amazing that a structure built in 1066 still stands today.  The whole thing was built in stages, with new kings adding walls and buildings during their reigns.  We explored the outer views while waiting for the next tour to start.

The contrast between the castle and surrounding modern buildings was a little unsettling.  At the end of the tour we walked along one of the outer walls and I tried to imagine what the view would have been like back in the day.  No towering glass structures or people wearing brand name clothing, just wood and stone huts, dirt roads, and peasants, with the sound of horse hooves along the ground.

The tour was led by a traditional Beefeater, a military order specifically for The Tower that still exists today.  The members and their families live on site, can be married and baptized in the royal church, and wear the traditional livery to fit in with their surroundings.

The stone walls were beautiful, and we were there at the perfect time of day so that the sun made all the glass windows sparkle.  The church windows were especially beautiful.  Our host pointed out the clock building as the house of the Royal Jewels, which we went to see after, and the tour ended inside the church.  All of the people that were beheaded for treason at the tower were buried at the church in unmarked graves.  A while after, one queen decided that was disrespectful to the dead and ordered all of the remains to be dug up, identified, and given proper burials.  Only six bodies were able to be identified, including Anne Boleyn.  

After walking around the grounds a bit, and taking in the views of The Tower Bridge, we stopped at a pub for some fish and chips.  We were determined to try the dish before leaving England.  Our plates arrived with two of the biggest pieces of fish I've ever seen!  Loch Ness fish and chips!!

(photos by e.hunt)

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