Oh, to be in England

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Yes, we are now in London. Tried an Airbnb in North London — a one-bedroom flat that turned out to be much too far from things we wanted to see. We managed to do some laundry and cook some of our meals, but the Tube ride into central London was long, and the flat was just a little inconvenient.  So we’ve moved on to a small hotel close to the train station where we will board a train on Oct. 19 headed for Spain.

This hotel is also close to The British Museum (above), where we saw tons of archeological treasures, including the Rosetta Stone.

img_1149Today, we were at the Tower of London. Steve, our Yeoman Warder tour guide (left), showed us where Sir Thomas More was imprisoned before he was beheaded by Henry VIII. Henry had a lot of people executed, and most of them were held and killed at the Tower of London.

The place is very impressive, even if one of the buildings is called “Bloody Tower.” There has been a fortification there since the Norman Conquest around 1000 CE. The Tower’s claim to fame is that the Crown Jewels are here, on display in a building several hundred years old, guarded by those British soldiers with the big furry hats. img_1165Got lucky enough to see a changing of the guard there. It’s not as impressive as the one at Buckingham Palace, though. The jewels, on the other hand, are very impressive. Some of the stuff on display dates to the 1200s.

We ended our tour in a little chapel where Anne Boylen, another of Henry’s victims, is buried. It’s still an active church. Our guide Steve is the sexton!

But maybe the best part of the Tower of London is the amazing view you have of the Tower Bridge. This is the one everybody thinks of as “London Bridge,” but it’s really Tower Bridge. London Bridge is the next bridge to the west.  See what you think about this view:

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Finally, we happened upon a little church next to the Tower of London: All Hallows by the Tower. We were amazed that there has been a Christian church on this site since 675 CE! John Quincy Adams was married there in 1797. The building doesn’t date back very far, since the Germans bombed it in 1940. But it has the feel of being very, very old. They were having some kind of celebration there today, with lots of people in academic gowns. We didn’t want to intrude, so we headed for the last stop of the day: a pint (for me) and a glass of wine (for Leslie) at the Hung, Drawn and Quartered pub, just around the corner from the church. I found this quote posted on the building’s outside wall, and almost fell over laughing in the street:

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Cheers!

 

 

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