Determined to get an earlier start to our Wednesday adventures, we set our alarms (Gasp!) and had a goal of leaving the hotel by the crack of 10 am – we were successful, however, with some unscheduled tube delays we still ended up not starting our first sight (The Tower of London) until 11:30. The Tower – which is a castle folks, not a prison as is generally thought, completely floored me (Adam would say I was ‘geeked out’). It was incredible to be at the place that was so important to London, indeed this is where it all started! Some sights that were of particular interest were Tower Hill (sight of public executions, a plaque marks the exact spot), Traitor’s Gate (where political prisoners guilty of treason were led to the tower in secret), and Tower Green (private executions, which were said to be more respectful). We took the free Yeoman Warder tour which was excellent! He informed us that on that day, May 19, Queen Anne Boleyn (2nd of King Henry VIII wives) was beheaded – this was the 474th anniversary – how cool for us! Another interesting tidbit which I’ll share (aren’t you lucky!) is that the famous bridge, the one I always associated with the nursery rhyme used in the title “London Bridge is falling down” is not London Bridge at all. London Bridge is a fairly nondescript flat bridge to the right of the Tower and was built by the Romans in around 43 AD. The bridge that everyone probably thinks of when you say “London Bridge” is actually Tower Bridge, commissioned by Queen Victoria – much more modern in terms of London history. While we were on the premise we checked out the crown jewels which are stored in one of the towers – here we saw the WORLD’S largest diamond. We also were shown into the very small chapel there where, every year since Queen Anne Boleyn’s beheading to this day, white roses are sent on her behalf and displayed in the chapel. After the Tower we walked along Tower Bridge and decided to grab some lunch in “The City” near Liverpool Station. I have to say that our lunches here have been some of my favorite moments so far – we’ve been able to find little quiet spots to eat our simple sandwiches and, much to our delight, we’ve found several locals on lunch breaks doing the same.
At this point we were fairly close to Leadenhall market (photo above) so we stopped in to check out the vendors – mostly food – but the space was very cool and felt like we’d stepped back to the Victorian era, you know, minus all the modern people and shops.
Attempting to avoid the utter exhaustion of Tuesday we went back to our neck of the woods, grabbed the laptop, and went to a pub for a pint to update the blog. We even had time for a nap before heading back out for the London Eye. This was such a cool experience, even the momentary “I’m-gonna-be-sick” feeling I had after daring a glance, straight down from our “egg” at the top just added to the overall experience. Adam had a field day with his camera and had to constantly remind himself to spend some time simply sitting and enjoying the views.
Once that journey was complete it was dusk and we walked along the Thames to see the beautiful Houses of Parliament all lit up. This was quite gorgeous and very romantic, reminiscent of our walks along the Seine in Paris during our honeymoon 3 years ago.
One odd thing we’ve discovered (LoL #3, if you will) is that London is a fairly early city with most pubs and restaurants closing up around 11 pm. With that in mind, we quickly set out for Trafalgar Square and Covent Garden area to find a spot for supper. After considering that all of our meals thus far have been sandwiches in parks and pies in pubs, we decided to act like civilized grown ups on holiday and have a “sit down” meal. I was craving a curry, so we decided on Thai (I know, I know but Adam really doesn’t care for Indian food!) where I had a delicious Massaman tofu curry and Adam had an extra spicy Pad Ke Mao. We also have typically been sharing our meals at supper so it was a real difference having your own plate and food to guard from the other person (I was prepared to fight to the death for mine, it was that good). Knowing that we had a very early start (7 am) for our day excursion to Bath and Stonehenge the next day, we called it a night. Can’t wait to share our experience at Bath/Stonehenge with you all later! Remember that you can view all our pictures taken thus far by clicking on the “Our Photos” link to the right, Adam got some great shots from the Eye – way too many to post individually!