A Date with the Tower of London

London Travel Blog

 › entry 3 of 11 › view all entries
This day, I woke up very early, probably due to the very early sunrise in uk. I mean, it was bright at 5am already. Just when I thought everything was fine, I realised that my right foot was aching like mad. Maybe it is due to the extensive walking the previous day, I couldnt even support myself. The pain was unbearable. After I managed to get dressed, I limped out of the hostel only to find how close St Pauls cathedral is to my hostel. I was so surprised when I saw the magnificent building as I turned into the back of the hostel. Since it was still early, and being a Sunday, the area was still very quiet. I spent this morning quietly by myself, taking in every inch of the cathedral, this current building being built after the 1666 London fire destroyed the previous one.
I am no architect, but the sculptures on the building sure amaze me.
Then I wandered to the Paterson (I think I spelt it wrongly) square. This was a last minute addition to the things I want to see in London. I was watching a documetary before my departure about Jack the ripper and after doing some research on the murders, I found the Paterson square and realised it was very close to St Paul's. I took picutures of the column and the gate. After the clock striked half past 7, I went back to my hostel for the best breakfast I had in the entire trip.
St Pauls served the best breakfast! It comes in buffet style, with oatmeals, cereals, yogurt, bacon, sausages, apples, beans, toasts, fresh juices, coffee, tea and milk. I have read many reviews about the staff in the kitchen and was hoping to see the girl who kept asking guests about orange juice, but the staff in the kitchen was so polite.
Anyway, I had breakfast with 2 of my roommates, a girl from New Zealand and another from Brazil. I made sure I am full before proceeding to the destination of the day, Tower of London.
I took bus to TOL, since it is cheaper (I didnt get a travelcard). Once I reached, I went to the piece of Roman wall left in the London City. I have always been facinated by medievel stuff, so that piece of Roman wall is on my intinerary. Soon, it became to drizzle and I realised I forgot to bring my umbrella with me. Thinking and hoping that the rain will stop, I went into the Tower and got myself an audio guide. Beefeater tour was cancelled due to the bad weather, much to my dismay, but the audio guide was very handy. It became funny when you start to see everyone with audio guide making the same angular turn and stopping at the specific places indicated by the guide.
The infamous traitor's gate

TOL is grand. Listening to the history made the buildings and towers and walls so colourful. The White tower, particularly is soo grand that I made sure I climbed all steps and visited all rooms that are available to the public. There, I also caught the changing of guard. Though it is not as impressive as the one in Buckingham Palace, but I still caught the changin of guard. Combing TOL with a sore feet meant that I had to travelled at a much slower pace, and I had to bear with the pain with each step on the uneven paths. I got to listen to the history of Lady Jane Grey, and the murder of the 2 princes in the Bloody Tower. I mean, a tower or a prison cell is just another tower of prison cell if there is no story to tell, I love the stories and histories that the Tower holds.
The windows of White Tower
Somehow, I started to compare it with the Forbidden City. I remembered a sign I saw in the Forbidden City, which translated to be something like " How many deep secrets does the palace hold", and yes, every great city, the building of power sure has many secrets that even the audio guide cannot finish narrating.
I went to view the crown and royal jewels, things which I have only been able to view either on documentaries or internet. I simply love the Diamond on the spectre. I love diamond...hah. Anyway, By midday, my feet was killing me and the rain continued to pour, so I took shelter near the Salt Tower and there I saw something that is interesting, on one of the bricks on the path, is a hole that is heart-shaped. I wonder if it has been delibrately been carved or if it is just coincidence, but I find it rather interesting.
The heart spotted in the rain
The rain did not stop, so I went on and take shelter in the medieval palace and did more tours around the tower. I didnt come out until approximately 3pm. My foot hinted me to go back to the hostel for a rest before going to explore other places.
I packed fish and chips just outside the tower and back in my hostel, I caught up with my Brazillian roommate, who shared with me some of her country's information. After I rested, I went off again, now towards Victoria, thinking I could probably catch the Horse Guard Dismount Ceremony. After I alighted from the bus, I saw the Horse Guard parade crowded with people. Saw a little of the parade and then I walked up Downing street and saw Big Ben, Westminster abbey, Houses of Parliament. I also did a recce to locate the meeting place of my Haggis tour the next day.
Disciplined Horses
Then I went back to prepare for the Ceremony of Keys that evening.
Before attending, I went to Wagamama to try out some noodles. I am very sorry to say that the chicken ramen I ordered tasted like under-cooked maggie mee with an overdose of msg and salt. It was bad. After washing the noodle down with water, I went off to catch Tower Bridge by the night. It was windy and chilly and finally I went into the Tower  (again) for the Ceremony of Keys.
It was the event which I have anticipated soo much before the trip. I thought it will be worth the effort of writing in for the admission and all. It was very solemn, as our guide briefed us on what was going to happen, and some history of the tower. At first, I was very excited to be part of history. The ugly part happened when our guide told us to "chope" the best place to see the confrontation between the guard and the chief warden, and also to follow him closely when he signalled so that we can get the best place.
TOL and Tower bridge
Apparently, there was another group who will be taking part in the Ceremony and they are already in the tower. Talking about kiasu-ism, one cannot beat a Singaporean, haha, but anyway, we rushed to the front as the ceremony proceed at the signal of our beefeater guide. Due to the uneven path, in our rush to "chope" the best spot, one person almost fell. I dont really like the rush and all, cos it made the whole ceremony, which is supposed to be solemn looked like a big shopping sales frenzy. It was a good thing no one fell. I also felt very stupid when the guard shouted to confront the cheif warden WITH lights on. If the whole ceremony was done according to tradition, it would be justified cos the place will be dark, and the confrontation makes more sense. The prescene of light and the "choping" of best place to witness the ceremony made me feel as if I am attending a well-rehearsed play.
This is Tower Bridge, not London Bridge
That didnt make me feel that I was part of history. Probably, the ceremony has evolved from a practical ceremony to one that is only ceremonial in nature to attract tourist like me. Of course, looking back at the history of the city and bringing some imagination from my day-trip in the Tower of London, I managed to imagine myself going back in time, a medievel girl witnessing the Ceremony of Keys in the pitch-dark TOL. That imagination probably will make the Ceremony of Keys more worthwhile than rushing to get the best spot to view the ceremony. As I am not a christian, in my heart, I hope the ceremony will continue for another 700 years and more.
So, with a whole day dedicated to TOL, I went back and got ready for the Haggis trip. I was hoping and praying that the sore in my foot can be better.
St Paul's by night

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
The infamous traitors gate
The infamous traitor's gate
The windows of White Tower
The windows of White Tower
The heart spotted in the rain
The heart spotted in the rain
Disciplined Horses
Disciplined Horses
TOL and Tower bridge
TOL and Tower bridge
This is Tower Bridge, not London B…
This is Tower Bridge, not London …
St Pauls by night
St Paul's by night
St Pauls
St Paul's
TOL by night
TOL by night
College of Arms
College of Arms
Columns of St Pauls
Columns of St Pauls
White Tower in TOL
White Tower in TOL
In to explore the ancient fortress
In to explore the ancient fortress
TOL
TOL
Roman Ruins
Roman Ruins
Changing of guards at Queens Hous…
Changing of guards at Queen's Hou…
Queens houses
Queen's houses
Bell Tower
Bell Tower
Iane aka Jane
Iane aka Jane
I cant take pictures of the Crown …
I cant take pictures of the Crown…
The ravens are not moving
The ravens are not moving
Live like a King
Live like a King
Line of Kings
Line of Kings
A very peaceful chapen in TOL
A very peaceful chapen in TOL
Result: Gunpowder plot
Result: Gunpowder plot
Beware! (Spotted in the gift shop …
Beware! (Spotted in the gift shop…
Horse Guard Dismount
Horse Guard Dismount
Looks can be deceiving
Looks can be deceiving
TOL by night
TOL by night
This is London Bridge
This is London Bridge
One of the 3 dragons garding the C…
One of the 3 dragons garding the …
Horse Guard Dismount.
Horse Guard Dismount.
St Pauls Dome
St Paul's Dome
Paternoster Square
Paternoster Square
Reminds me of Forbidden City
Reminds me of Forbidden City
Temple Bar
Temple Bar
London
photo by: ulysses