Sunday, August 7, 2016

European Adventure Day 5 (July 5th, 2016)

This was an incredible day! We spent most of the day at the Tower of London right by the River Thames! It was built by William the Conqueror in 1078 and was used as a royal residence as well as a prison. Even though it was besieged several times, controlling the tower has been important to controlling the country. And while it is often known as a place of death and torture, most executions were held on Tower Hill. Perhaps the saddest story was that of the disappearance of the little princes, Edward and Richard. It is said that they were locked away in the Tower of London by Richard III as he took the throne for himself and the boys disappeared. It is assumed that the boys were murdered so he could take the throne.

It is just so hard to explain the feeling of standing in something so incredibly old! I was so grateful that we had our history professor, Diane Boldt! What she could not tell us about the Tower, the Beefeaters were able to. The beefeaters are ceremonial guards who are responsible for ensuring the safety of the Crown Jewels... Which are incredibly amazing and it feels like you have stepped right into a fairy tale when you finally make it through the long wait to see them!

The beefeaters actually live in the Tower of London and they have a curfew! We discussed this with a couple of the beefeaters. In order to assume this post, a person must have at least 22 years of service in the armed forces. They also must have earned the "Long Service and Good Conduct" medal during their time of service in the armed forces.

Many wonder why they are called beefeaters and the story is that they were allowed to eat as much beef as they liked from the King's table. Beefeater is actually a term used to differentiate the Body Guard at the Tower of London and other Royal bodyguards working at various locations.

The Beefeaters have been in service at the Tower of London since 1485 when they were formed by King Henry the VII. The beefeaters are traditionally men, however, Moira Cameron of Argyll, Scotland became the first female Warder in 2007 and remains the only female Beefeater!

Looking at the Tower Bridge from the Tower of London!

We spent the entire day exploring the wonders of this tower! If you go, you must devote the whole day! 

Trying on the armor!

There is a legend that if the Ravens leave the castle, the tower will crumble and the monarchy will fall.

This is the Traitor's Gate entry off the Thames River into the Tower of London complex. Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, and other famous condemned got their last glimpse of freedom here.
White Tower Port-A-Potty. The hole leads directly outside to a 20-foot drop onto the castle grounds. The grass is always greener…?

The armory is impressive and much belonged to King Henry VIII. It was easy to observe how he gained weight throughout the years as his armor grew with him. 

Dragon Sculpture

Being Silly

Just a few extra photos from the day. The first one is a view of our apartment from the street and the second one is of Shawn, Bill and me in front of the National Gallery at Trafalgar Square.

We completed this beautiful day by sitting in the grass, taking in the sights in the park by Westminster Abbey and then enjoying a spectacular cruise down the River Thames. The only thing that could have made this day better would have been to NOT take the Hop on Hop Off bus. LOL!