Tuesday, May 25, 2010

London: Day 1

I'm calling this "Day 1" because yesterday we got in later than we thought, plus we were so tired, that we only did a brief walk through the British Museum. Saw all the highlights according to Rick Steves but we may go back since it's so close to where we are staying. So what did we do today? 1. Tower of London 2. lunch at Wagamama 3. Rick Steve's "the City" walk 4. British Library.

The tower of London was very cool. I followed the guru's (Rick Steves) advice and went straight for the Jewel Tower. Very smart, there was no line yet. The jewels were impressive, they had a diamond that was like 300 carats..no lie. Unfortunately, (I was much bummed) the Imperial Crown was "in use". Ugh! Then we joined a Yeoman Warder tour and got the lively stories of the once palace and prison. And then we explored on our own. After that we did a walk that led us up to St. Paul's. On our way back towards our hotel, we visited the British Library. That was really cool b/c they house some original works by Shakespeare, Jane Austin (and her writing desk), Beowulf, Handel's Messiah and Alice in Wonderland. Oh yeah, and a very badly damaged copy of the Magna Carta (we'll see another in Salisbury). And sorry..no pictures in there.

Here's a shot of the corner of the outer wall with the Tower Bride in the background.

And this is where the keep the mother load. Sorry...no pictures allowed inside.

This was our guide. Seems cheesy to do a group tour thing but it was entertaining and with a guide you get to go in the chapel.

There are two greens inside the Tower courtyard. These were reserved for private executions. At the end of one are the lovely Tudor apartments built for Anne Boleyn. But she never lived to see them finished.

Next we went inside the Beauchamp Tower. Many prisoners that stayed here left behind graffiti. Here they say the "E" inside the heart was left by a supporter of Elizabeth I.

Lunch at Wagamama: Chicken Katsu Curry.

Along the route to St. Paul's is the Twinings Tea store (est. 1706). Had to get a couple of tins.

And I thought this was cool, outside the church St. Dunstan-in-the-West is a 1586 statue of Elizabeth I. It's a rare depiction of the queen from during her reign.

And last but not least, Christopher Wren's St. Paul's.

Tomorrow will be Kew Gardens.

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