And we’re back to the blog!
On Tuesday, we returned from a 10 day trip to California, which was filled with family, the beach, Lake Tahoe, swimming in the pool and of course, In-N-Out. More on that later. I brought our computer so I could continue writing about our London trip, but that proved to be quite silly, as we did not have a spare moment (or want) to use the computer.
So! Where did we leave off from London?
- Walked all around the city, across the river and back again
- Exhausted, made it back to our hotel and fell asleep at 8:30pm
We headed east to the Columbia Road Flower Market!
Columbia Road was filled to the brim with beautiful flowers. I wish we could have bought some, but they wouldn’t have lasted in our hotel room. Next time!
For breakfast, we found a small place off the main road that served tea and SCONES! Maybe I’ve never had a “proper scone”, but these tasted more like delicious biscuits, rather than the crumbly kind we have here.
We topped the scones with cream & jam; Devonshire cream won for us: clotted cream first, then raspberry jam (it’s a whole debate-Cornish cream vs. Devonshire cream).
Completing our breakfast, we walked from Columbia Road south to the Tower of London.
Before going into the Tower, we walked past to check out the famous Tower Bridge.
Until this trip, I was under the impression this bridge was London Bridge…it’s not.
The Tower Bridge was actually only constructed about 120 years ago, and at the time, it was quite innovative. It used steam-powered hydraulics to raise the bridge for boats to pass underneath. It was painted red, white and blue in 1977 to celebrate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee (25th anniversary). As we noticed over the week, many things are named or decorated for the various Queen’s Jubilees!
Dun dun dun…..THE TOWER OF LONDON!
(I have to tell you, the picture below was actually taken a few days later when we were passing by on the Thames River, but I thought it gave a good look at the entire complex)
Tower Hill was founded in 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England, and the White Tower (large center building) was built a few years later in 1078 by William the Conqueror.
The Tower of London was used as a prison from roughly 1100 to 1952, but that was not its main purpose. It was also a royal residence for a time, an armory, treasury, and is currently home of the Crown Jewels of England. Interestingly, many people believe it reputable as a place of torture and execution, but only seven people were executed here before WWI.
If you are a follower of Tudor history, it is where King Henry VIII had Anne Boleyn beheaded in 1536!
We did not see the Crown Jewels, as the line was very long. We opted to see an outdoor performance called “The Last Days of Anne Boleyn”. It was amazing! There was a string quartet that also served as the “Greek chorus” of sorts, and the woman who played Anne Boleyn was great. Both Taylor and I never realized that most, if not all, the charges against her were made up! If interested, I will give you a full breakdown of her story, but it’s a little long for the blog…
As if this place couldn’t get any darker…we went into a section of the Tower where people were tortured (apparently it was only for a short number of years…) and saw the famous device called “The Rack”. If you have seen The Princess Bride, then you are familiar with what it does. Let’s just say after being on it, you won’t complain about wishing you were taller.
We had reservations at a pub for a traditional Sunday roast at 4:30pm, so we made our way to the Tube and headed to a smaller part of London called Hampstead Heath.
We found the pub, called The Spaniard’s Inn and waited anxiously to be steeped in British tradition. The Sunday roast consists of roasted meat, roast potato, Yorkshire pudding, vegetables, and gravy. It was delicious!
Walking off dinner, we found a different way back into London, making a pit stop through King’s Cross station, which has Platform 9 3/4 for us Harry Potter nerds. It was a bit disappointing, as there was a huge line just to take a picture with the sign!
In case you’re interested: the exterior shots in the movie are actually of St. Pancras, which is across the street. Somehow my pictures of this got lost, but you can always Google.
At this point, it’s about 7:30pm, and as bright as the sky is, you would think it’s hours earlier!
For our final “hurrah” of the day, we walked through the grounds of Buckingham Palace. It is breathtaking!
BP is the residence and headquarters for the Queen, although we heard that she actually prefers to live at Windsor Castle, which is about an hour west of the city. Just a thought, but perhaps it’s due to the thousands of people lurking outside the gates most of the day…
At 9:30pm, we were ready to crash at the hotel and get ready for an early morning. Thankfully, we just had to walk through Green Park!
Day 3: Science Museum, Kensington Gardens, fish & chips, and honey ice cream!