Castles and Cobblestones – My Journey to Europe, Part Six

For those following my travel series – now you know my number one fault – procrastination.  Part five of this series was posted October 12, 2014.  Today is January 20, 2015.  Shame on me.  My friends know this about me and still love me.  Whew!  Now, let’s get back to Europe.  We still have several days to enjoy starting with a trip to the Tower of London. Europe092014 077 Our tour began at the main entrance where we crossed a bridge to the Yeoman Warder, who explained the 888,246 ceramic poppies that filled the moat around the entrance.  An incredible sight to behold, the poppies were created by artists Paul Cummins and Tom Piper.  Each poppy symbolized a British soldier who lost his life during World War I.  The poppies were amazing!  A sea of bright red flowers just below the bridge that seemed to go on forever.  Can you even imagine that many flowers in one place?  In hindsight, I wish I had ordered one to have as a keepsake.

Our Yeoman Warder, like all others, was an active guard in the Queen’s service.  He was not only knowledgeable, but he had us in stitches with his historical humor.  By the way, I’m very nosy.  After a couple of days of seeing EIIR anywhere from carved into stone to pieces of clothing, I asked someone what it meant.  It stands for Elizabeth II Regina (Regina pronounced with a long i).  Europe092014 078

This particular Yeoman is also a Ravenmaster.  There are now eight ravens on the grounds who are free to flit around during the day and are called back in at night by the Ravenmasters.  Europe092014 086

Currently, there are fourteen towers open to the public, a museum, a restaurant, various ruins and my favorite, the Crown Jewels.  Dear God, the Crown Jewels!  I truly wish I could describe them to you.  It would be impossible.  They are heavily guarded, but they are up close and personal, too.  The crowns are all encased within glass and on pedestals in the center of the room.  It is very dark with spotlights on the jewels and crowns themselves.  Besides the actual crowns, there are swords/sabers and shields encrusted with precious gems and jewels, too.  All of these pieces are gleaming gold and silver.  Exquisite eye candy for a girl who loves Bling – that would be me, Miss Marly.  No cameras are allowed inside, more’s the pity.  All I could get was a picture of the door. Europe092014 085 A tourist could easily spend an entire day or more at the Tower of London.  There is so much to see, old official documents to read and just incredible knowledge to be gained from the staff members inside and outside the towers.  Since I had to choose due to a knee injury, the Bloody Tower was at the top of my list.  I love all things Tudor, and I wanted to see where all the soon-to-be beheaded folks went.  Narrow stairs, chilly walls, gloomy, dank stones – it felt like the weight of all the trauma from hundreds of years ago settled on my shoulders as I walked around. It’s one thing to read about it in a book, quite another to actually stand in the place where it occurred.

I couldn’t leave the Tower of London without a souvenir, and since I’ve already admitted I love bling, my treasure from the Tower is a lovely silver charm – a crown, what else?  😉

The Tower of London in my opinion is a must see piece of England’s history and well worth the $27 entrance fee.  Go, enjoy and try not to let visions of the guillotine stalk your dreams.

Next post?  Shall we dine at Victoria’s Pub?

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