If you have read me at all, you know how fascinated I am with castles and the Medieval period, especially in the UK. Given that, there was no way in hell I was going to visit London and not see The Tower of London. Having been drug through several other castles prior to this trip, Lars was a bit put off when we got off the Underground and I immediately got in line for the tickets as he snapped pictures of the outside of the castle. He was like There it is. We've seen it. No need to go in. I gave him that look and in we went indeed, for about £15 each. Bargain, that.
The Tower of London is one of William the Conqueror's babies. He was a very busy boy back in 1066 and tossed up quite a few castles. This one is the creme de la creme. I've seen quite a few castles in my various wanderings, but this one here is the one I want to just immediately stake claim to and never budge. I still don't understand why my big ol' viking refused to lay claim to it for me in the name of Sweden. I mean, it is easily defensable, isn't it? It already has all the suits of armor, torture devices, and weaponry needed. Hell they even left out a few old cannons for us! It's like they wanted us to take it, really. Practically an invite, wasn't it? Oh well… perhaps next trip we can take it.
We first trudged up the stairs into the old part of the castle to have a look see. This is the part where I tell I have RA/Lupus and those stairs are an absolute bitch of a climb. The one drawback to this place is that there are stairs just everywhere. Some are very narrow and hard to navigate even for the fully healthy. You have been warned.
The thing of it is though, as with most castles, those stairs are worth the effort. The beauty of it is that if anyone behind you complains that you are going too slow, you can simply turn around and push them a bit. Boing Boing Boing. They won't complain again after that, will they? I mean, especially here. This one is known quite lovingly as the Bloody Castle, intit?
See, this is the place where two wee princes went missing back in the day. Princes who were the rightful heirs to the throne. Their uncle didn't like them being in his way much. Thing of it is, this uncle was really kind of a stand-up guy, what with helping the poor and all, so he's a bit of an unlikely suspect in that reguard. You'll have to come view all the evidence on display and cast your own vote on who was responsible for the disappearance…
This is also the spot where a few folks lost their heads, quite literaly. I was a bit miffed that the scaffolding was being worked on while I was here so I didn't get to actually see the guillotine or chopping block or whatever. It was covered with a tarp. Saw the spot and the little stone marker with the gorey details though. Cool enough. As much as I yearn for a trip back in time, the truth of it is that I am so damn mouthy that I would end up right beside Anne Boleyn in short order, I'm sure.
There really are a few very nice impliments of torture on display various places. The rack was favored for awhile, but I kind of like the water wheel. Cleaner, isn't it? I mean you strap the fellow on this wheel and turn him so he gets drowned off and on, in between which you hope he'll spill the beans, or convert to your special belief system, or whatever it is you're trying to get out of him. So unlike the rack alone, there's just no blood and goo to have to clean up. Yes. I quite like that one. Think I'll install one in my Koi Pond straight away.
Lars shied away from the torture devices a bit, but really enjoyed the part with all the crown jewels… and my how glorious they are. They are kept behind a very large steel door with a very intricate locking system. I told him to pay special attention to the workings of that door for later use, but he just never listens. Men. He liked all of the tableware the best, especially this big ol' gold wine bowl thing. Yeah, that was pretty, but it was the sword collection that interested me the most, naturally. Oooh shiny sharp objects… *drool* Why, it was so beautiful I almost sobbed. I'm not being a bit sarcastic. Strike me down right now because I most surely do covet that sword collection.
We spent a good couple of hours here. There really is a ton to see at the Tower of London. Thank heavens they have benches lining the inner courtyard so you can sit and rest as often as you need. There are also a few places to eat. I noticed both a small window for easy fast food and full blown restaurant. We weren't hungry yet though, so I have no idea how good either of them are.
There are also a few gift shops, which thrilled me to no end and caused a few groans from the male. heh. Actually, he tried to buy me a few things in the Royal Jewel gift shop, but I declined as, really, I thought the stuff to be too far over priced. I did buy a few things though here and there like a baseball cap (£7.99), a metal thingy with the castle on it to attach to my cane (forget the price), post cards (50p), a hat pin (£1.75)… you get the picture. I'm the person these schlock traps are built for. Oh yes.
While you're here, you will also get the greatest view of that marvelous Tower Bridge. They weren't built together, or even close to the same time period, but since this bridge was so near to the Tower itself, they did it up to match perfectly. It is a sight, that's for sure. Funny bit about that… you know the London Bridge that was purchased and put back up in Lake Havesu, Arizona several years back? Dude thought he was buying this Tower Bridge at the time. DOH!
One last thing… you will likely notice some fun folks wandering about in period garb here and there… no, not the Beefeaters (though they are cool too) but the ones in the Medieval stuff. Yeah. Them there. Keep an eye on them because they periodically do little skits for the public. Very fun stuff.
Five full glorious stars for the Tower of London. Highly recommended. A Must See for sure. Just remember, I plan to lay claim to it soon, so don't go getting to comfortable in my future home, aiiight?