Travel Journal: London Day 5

Sunday, January 03, 2016

December 27, 2015

Today, a bunch of museums were actually open! We had a busy day of touring and sight-seeing.

Today was pretty chilly so I wore a vest, as well as my North Face. My long-sleeve shirt is from Ann Taylor, my jeans are from American Eagle, my scarf is from Target, and my vest and boots are both from G.H. Bass. We ate breakfast at the Pret a Manger, and I realized that it is a fast food restaurant but there food is handmade and natural, unlike other fast food restaurant chains. Also, the food that they don't sell at the end of the day is given to the homeless. We took a cab to the Tower of London after.

The ticket line was actually pretty long for the Tower of London, because it was the first day it had been open for 3 days. The Tower of London is where traitors were taken to be tortured and executed.

These are the pictures I took while my mom waited in line for the tickets. They actually put an ice rink in front of the Tower of London for the holidays.

I took this picture while we were waiting for our Yeoman tower guard to give us a tour. The bridge in this picture is the London Bridge. The Yeomen Warders/Guards, also known as Beefeaters, are the ceremonial guardians of the Tower of London. We had over 200 people in our tour group, so instead of doing an hour long tour of the Tower or London, we just went inside the Church of St. Peter ad Vincula, and the Yeoman Warder talked to us for 15 minutes about the Tower of London. In this parish church, many famous people were buried, including 2 of King Henry VIII's wives Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, as well as Thomas More, the lord chancellor. In front of this church was the scaffold site, where many beheadings took place. 

We went to the Crown Jewels exhibit next. The entrance is located under the clock. Some of the royal regalia is still used by the Queen. Many of the old royal regalia before 1649 was melted when Oliver Cromwell established the Commonwealth. In 1660, when the monarchy was restored, King Charles II replaced the crown jewels at a very high price. They tried to get the items returned and recovered. This is a very popular exhibit, so they have moving walkways, to keep the flow of traffic moving. Then we walked along the walkway on top of the towers and went inside Beauchamp Tower. There was graffiti all over the walls. Many prisoners had carved their names, written other things, or had drawn pictures. 

This is a picture of the White Tower, which is one of the oldest towers, built by William the Conqueror. It holds the royal armor and arms. We didn't go inside this tower. We walked over to where they kept the ravens. They keep the ravens very well cared for, because there is an old legend that says the kingdom and the Tower or London will fall if  the six resident ravens ever leave the fortress. After looking at the ravens, we went into the gift shop and then into the cafeteria. We have found that the cafeterias in museums in Europe are quite tasty! They had a variety of different food, but I just got a sandwich since we were going to a fancy restaurant later. After lunch, we went to the Torture at the Tower exhibit, where they show the different equipment that was used to torture people. One of the torture devices was the rack, which would stretch and dislocate the prisoner's joints and and snap their bones. I'm definitely glad they don't use those anymore!

We left the Tower of London and took a taxi to the British Museum. This museum is huge and has artwork that was stolen by the British dating back thousands of years. They did have good reason to steal all this artwork though, because at the time, any of these artworks were being destroyed in war or attacks. The British Museum provided a safe place for these valuable works and kept them preserved.

The British Museum uses mostly natural lighting and is shaped like a dome. The exhibits circle around the center, which is the huge store. We went into the Ancient Greek art exhibit first, which had the Rosetta Stone and pieces of the Parthenon facade. 

We walked around in this exhibit for awhile, but my sister and Dad got split up from my Mom and I. My mom and I were searching all around for them, inside and outside of the museum, but we couldn't find them. About an hour later we decided to keep looking at the rest of the museum. The artwork that we looked at first was the Lewis chessmen, a group of 12th century chess pieces, in a glass case. On the other side of the glass case was my sister and Dad, looking at the same artwork! It was very funny. We split up again and decided to meet by the information desk later. My mom and I looked at some of the Enlightenment exhibit and the Chinese Jade exhibit, and then went to the shop and bought a few things. After we met up with the rest of the family, we ate some snacks at a nearby restaurant while we waited for our dinner reservation at the Mint Leaf Restaurant & Bar, an Indian restaurant. We walked over to the Mint Leaf, using Siri as our guide. Once we got there, there was an elevator that took us downstairs to the restaurant. It was a huge space with dimly lit rooms and a spotlight on the center of the table. The ordered a lot of food and it was delicious- probably the best meal we had in London. I had the chicken biryani. Then we took a cab back to the hotel.

Thanks for reading!

Disclaimer: All thoughts, opinions and photos are mine.

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