21 April 2007

London - Day 2 - 12 April

the following is from my journal:

What an unforgettable day! I am just in awe that I finally have been to the Tower of London. Unbelievable.

It was a lot like the first time I saw the Colosseum -- stepping out of the station and seeing it right across the street.

I am afraid Jonathan thought I was not as impressed as I am because I was so quiet, but I was literally speechless. I don't know if I have ever felt that way before.

But I have now seen the place where Anne Boleyn and Elizabeth were held -- seen carvings in the walls made by prisoners -- seen the site where Anne and Jane Grey and Catherine Howard were executed -- and I have seen where they are buried.
Jonathan in front of Traitor's Gate

It is amazing. Jonathan and I were amused to find out how wrong we were -- we had this notion of rough stone walls and open spaces for windows while servants of kings and queens of old climbed the spiral stairs by candlelight! The stairs and candlelight were correct, but the walls inside were plastered in those days and the windows were full of stained glass so it was really quite civilised!

I loved walking around the grounds, imagining all of the people who walked there before me. And looking out of the window in Beauchamp Tower, wondering how many prisoners had looked out the same window.


We spent our lunchtime just outside the tower walls, eating sandwiches by the Thames, admiring the view of Tower Bridge.

After leaving the Tower, we went up in the London Eye. Really incredible views of London and it was amazing to see how enormous Westminster Abbey is. I mean, it is just massive. And it looks massive from land, while you are walking around it looking up at it -- but to see it from the air and compare it to the rest of the city was amazing.

(Jonathan was proud of me, looking around up there, but I think you must. As scared as I get, it was comforting being in an enclosed space like we were and I really was alright as long as I looked out over the city and not down! Besides, when will I ever have that view again? How could I not look?!)

We spent the rest of our afternoon wandering. There is so much to see really and I was a little quiet, just so overwhelmed by the Tower, that we had no itinerary. We shopped a bit in Covent Garden, which was fun, and then we came back to get changed for dinner.

We ate dinner at a lovely Thai restaurant and had the most delicious calamari we've ever ever had. But poor Jonny had to finish his dinner as well as mine because mine was so spicy my mouth literally hurt. He looked very red and sweaty after and he did admit that my meal was really hot -- much more than his. Dear man!

Then we came back here to the hotel and crashed. It was nice walking back through Kensington. It really is very posh -- so I liked looking in all the windows of all the crazy expensive shops that I would never dare enter during the day!

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