Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Ireland-UK Trip: England Day 10 - Tower of London

That's it, stick a fork in us, we are done touring!  This morning we got up early, skipped breakfast and most importantly, coffee, in order to get to the Tower of London before it opened.  This may have been a tactical mistake in retrospect.

We got in right after the Yeoman Warden opened the main gate into the London Tower Castle.  The tower itself, I believe, is the White Tower in the middle of the fortification, the other towers and walls having been built up since William the Conqueror first had the tower built soon after 1066.

Perhaps it's because we've seen 23 castles, from Irish ones, to Scottish ones, to Welsh ones and then finally English ones, but the Tower of London just didn't have the impact some of the other ones had.  Perhaps we're just tired of traveling?  Perhaps skipping breakfast wasn't such a hot idea?

This is in no way a posting to put people off of going to the Tower of London, it's got some marvelous armor/arms exhibits in the White Tower and of course, there's the Crown Jewels (which we skipped, too damn crowded).

The weather was warm and sunny, so the crowds were out, and so were the large school tour groups....

 The Royal Seal above the tower gate used as the main entrance these days.

 Traitor's Gate, back in the day, the waters of the Thames River would
have flowed in through this gate, and one arrived as a prisoner in this manner.

 A view of the court in between the outer and inner walls

 A view of part of the Tower Bridge from
inside one of the towers

 The stained glass windows in the small chapel
where King Henry VII died under "mysterious"
circumstances, May 21, 1471.

 A better view of Tower Bridge from the wall walkway
I added on the "watercolour" effect as the pic looked like a painting
when I was finished post-processing it.

 The White Tower, I believe it was the original tower 
built by King William the Conqueror after 1066, the rest
of the fortifications built on and around it as the years went by.
It now serves as the Armory Museum.

 Posing with the artwork along the castle wall's walkway

 The Coldstream Guards had the "duty" today, guarding the
Crown Jewels.
The cannon used to be Napoleon Bonaparte's

 The entrance to the tower housing the Crown Jewels.

Inside the White Tower is the Armory and Ordnance Museum.  Quite interesting and very well laid out to show visitors not only suits of armor and old edged weapons but more modern weapons manufactured by the Royal Ordnance Corps.

 Armoring one's horse, wonder how the horse felt about it
on a hot day?

 King Henry VIII's Field Armor

 The dragon and the dragging tourist

 View of Tower Bridge from within the White Tower

 Part of the stockpile of cannons

 More evidence of guns which made their crews have
really bad days.

 A cousin Raven to the ones kept captive in the Tower
of London?  See legend of the ravens: LINK

We had a very late brunch after finishing at the Tower of London, and still feeling tired, we trudged over to the underground/tube to Mansion Station to visit Saint Paul's Cathedral.  One wrong turn later, Martha corrected me and we found the cathedral.

Unfortunately, we learned upon entering that no photography was allowed within the cathedral and I was unwilling to fork over the admittance price of 18 pounds each.  So it's just pictures of the outside for us.  Again, we're probably just castle and churched out by now.

Queen Victoria at the front of St. Paul's Cathedral

Martha and I gave up at this point, choosing instead to return to the underground/tube and ride back to Paddington Station.

In case you're wondering why we both are "castled-out" and "churched-out":

We visited:  23 Castles, 19 Churches/Abbeys.
Took 12 guided tours.
Drove 1559 miles in the rental car, on the wrong side of the road.  ;)
Martha and I rode 660 miles by Sidecar Rig in Ireland.
460 Miles of Scottish roads explored by me along with 200 Welsh/English Miles.


Martha said...

As clarification: it is important to note, Dom and I share a passion for travel and yet also a mutual dislike bordering on anxiety of big city-crowded destinations. As we planned this trip, we even gave serious thought to not visiting London at all, given the size and our travel preferences. In the end, it was curiousity and fear of travelers remorse, that made me say, let's check out London. Dom lovingly agreed to my request.

Thank you Dom for making this trip are a patient man, a talented photographer, a master driver (even on the wrong side on one lane roads), and I am grateful for this time we spent, just the two us...your loving wife....

SonjaM said...

I hear you, Dom and Martha. We know the feeling of being "castled out" or "churched out". Nice word play by the way ;-)
It happens... in most countries in Europe: if you tour along the Rhine in Germany or the Loire in France... those darn historic buildings are everywhere ;-)

However it appears that overall you seem to enjoy your trip, especially with the occasional motorcycle content thrown in.

redlegsrides said...

Yep SonjaM, they all started to blend together after a while! But yes, great trip overall. Thanks for your comments and feedback.

RichardM said...

I like the watercolor on the tower bridge photo.

Does the trip continue elsewhere?

David Masse said...

What an amazing vacation. Colorado will be a welcome reprieve. Not a midieval castle or church to be found!

redlegsrides said...

The National Sidecar Rally in Hotchkiss, CO RichardM...

redlegsrides said...

Working vacation but yeah quite the experience David Masse.

Trobairitz said...

Wow, you did managed to see and do a lot on your vacation. You'll be happy to get home and relax.

So much history to be seen/experienced.

redlegsrides said...

Yep, and for a medieval history major, I can safely say I got my fill of it. Thanks for coming along.