Another day in London

London Travel Blog

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Changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace

Having stayed up late, Phil and I took the opportunity to sleep in a bit before heading out into the city.  The changing of the guard happens each day at 11:00, so we headed over there a little early.  The place was already packed with people, but we're tall guys so we were able to see what was going on.  It's like a daily parade, the guards come marching down The Mall (the main street leading to the palace), and there's a band and a big show.  Then finally, in an event that takes about 2 seconds, the guards switch places and everyone goes their own way.  Still, all the hustle and bustle made it worth watching!  For the record, the guys with the tall hats and red coats really do not bat an eye at anything...it's creepy.

We then took the underground over to the Tower of London.

The White Tower (Tower of London)
  I was really excited about seeing this and it's something Phil had not seen.  It starts with a guided tour of the grounds, as a friendly beefeater takes you around.  He explains where the prisoners used to come in, where they were held, and where the executions took place inside the walls.  Believe it or not, there were not many on the Tower grounds.  That tour alone was worth the admission, but as the beefeater closes, he points out the various buildings that make up the Tower of London and invites you to check them out.  There are different towers housing different artifacts, and then there's the building with the crown jewels!

We took the time to check out all the towers.  Inside there are replicas of the Tower over the years, as well as weapons from days gone by.

Tower Bridge
  Also within the walls are some of the armor the kings of England used when going into battle.  Finally, we checked out the crown jewels.  Obviously, you can't take any pictures near there.  However, the jewels were spectacular!  From some of the largest diamonds in the world to the crown itself, it was so cool to see!

Within the tower sits a cage for ravens.  Apparently, there have been ravens at the tower for centuries.  During the reign of Charles II, his astronomer asked Charles II to remove the ravens, as they were disturbing his work.   As legend has it, Charles II was told shortly before he ordered their removal that if the ravens ever left the Tower of London that the White Tower, the Monarchy, and all of London would fall.  Charles II had the observatory moved instead to Greenwich.  The ravens have remained safe within the walls of the Tower ever since.

After leaving the tower, Phil and I took a walk over the Tower Bridge.  Apparently you can take a tour of the bridge, but it was closed when we walked by.  We grabbed dinner and spent the rest of the evening walking around London near the Thames and St. Paul's Cathedral.

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Changing of the guard at Buckingha…
Changing of the guard at Buckingh…
The White Tower (Tower of London)
The White Tower (Tower of London)
Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge
Changing of the guard at Buckingha…
Changing of the guard at Buckingh…
Changing of the guard at Buckingha…
Changing of the guard at Buckingh…
Changing of the guard at Buckingha…
Changing of the guard at Buckingh…
Changing of the guard at Buckingha…
Changing of the guard at Buckingh…
Site of the public executions in t…
Site of the public executions in …
The crown jewels are kept in there…
The crown jewels are kept in ther…
Walking across the Tower Bridge
Walking across the Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge
The Tower of London
The Tower of London
This guy would not move a muscle n…
This guy would not move a muscle …
The Black Tower (Tower of London)
The Black Tower (Tower of London)
Armor of one of the kings of Engla…
Armor of one of the kings of Engl…
Some of the weapons in the Tower o…
Some of the weapons in the Tower …
Phil standing next to the largest …
Phil standing next to the largest…
Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge
According to legend, if the ravens…
According to legend, if the raven…
Parliament building and Big Ben at…
Parliament building and Big Ben a…
London
photo by: ulysses