Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tower of London

After doing extensive research by watching the HBO series The Tudors, I was most excited to see everything related in any way to King Henry VIII and what better place to start than at the Tower of London where he sent friends, wives, thieves and traitors to death. We started, first, at the crown jewels. All there reviews we read told us to get there early to avoid too long of a wait and to our delight we had no line and were able to spend about 20 minutes walking around and around looking at the spectacular crowns and jewelry that puts the prettiest of wedding rings to shame. Stunning, STUNNING, stunning!!!
Next we headed over to the Beefeaters tour for some history and "insider" stories from highly decorated retired military officers who are hilarious and charming. If you ever have the opportunity to visit these sights do this tour!!!
Erica, Dan, Justin, Jenessa, LeAnn and Scott outside the Tower of London
Erica, Dan, Jenessa and Justin
Justin and Jenessa with a Beefeater Tour guide. He was taking pictures with some oriental tourist right before we stepped up and was giving them a hard time about the peace sign they kept making. "Who wants peace? Let's do war" he said.
This is traitor's gate where prisoner's like Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard and Elizabeth, daughter of King Henry and Anne Boleyn, enter the Tower off the Thames River.

This is the Scaffold Site where Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard lost their heads after the king accused them of adultery and in Anne's case witchcraft as well. Jane Boleyn, Anne's sister in law was also executed here for arranging the affairs that Catherine Howard had. Only a few people lost their heads at this specific place. Most were taken to Tower Hill and executed at that site instead. I can't imagine loading up a picnic basket and heading out for the day to witness the execution of traitors and thieves for entertainment.
I don't remember what this building was used for specifically but it was my favorite.
In Beauchamp Tower was were prisoners were held waiting trial before they were most likely sent to Tower Hill for execution. Above is just one of many carving left behind by prisoners. Some were as simple as a name while others were elaborate representing their families of declaring their innocence.
In the White Tower Museum we saw the armor of King Henry VII from the time he was a
boy (above) to his robust days toward the end of his life.
Chopping block and ax. The ax used to execute usually weighted about 7 pound.
Tower Bridge

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Our trip to London (part 1)

It"s too hard to narrow down what my favorite part of this trip was because I absolutely LOVE this city. So I'll just go day by day and highlight what we did in pictures wit captions since, let's be real, that's really what you all want to see and read about.

Day one had us upend departing Las Vegas at 6am on Friday morning and landing in London on Saturday morning at about 9am. We were so excited and tired but were determined to stay awake the whole day so that the rest of the time we were there we could be use to the time difference. Our first stop had us at West Minster Abby which did not disappoint. there is no photography allowed in the abby itself so you'll just have to trust me when I tell you it was stunning.
After a much need nap Justin and I headed out at sunset to walk down the Thames river by the Eye of London, and Big Ben which was literally outside our super awesome hotel. It was such a beautiful night with a spectacular sunset. The perfect ending to a perfect start of our vacation.
This was just down the street about a block from the Park Plaza West Minster Hotel, where we got a smoking' deal and would stay again. With 7 full days left we got something to eat in the restaurant in the hotel and headed to bed to rested for our day at the Tower of London.