Monday, April 1, 2013

Day 7 in the UK!

DAY 7- March 13, 2013
Wednesday was our first full day in London- and it was FULL!!  After breakfast, we headed out to the Tower of London, where we saw the Crown Jewels, took a tour with a Beefeater (Yeoman Warder), saw the White Tower, and learned all about the bloody history of the Tower of London.  It was very interesting and sort of ominous!

Outside the Tower of London.

The Crown of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.  It holds the legendary Koh-i-noor Diamond,  105 carats and brings good luck to any woman who wears it, but disaster to any man who wears it.
We started at the Crown Jewels, since they always have the biggest line :)  There weren't too many people there though, so we got to see as much of them as we wanted.  No pictures were allowed, but here are the things we saw, thanks to the Internet.
The Imperial State Crown is set with 3,000 precious stones, including that big mama on the bottom, the 317 carat Cullinan II diamond.  It also holds the Black Prince's Ruby, right above the diamond.
The back of the Imperial State Crown, holding the Stewart Sapphire.
The Sovereign's Scepter with Cross holds the 530 carat Cullinan I diamond.
Next, we took a wonderful tour by one of the Tower's Yeoman Warders, known as Beefeaters.  There are 35 that live in and protect the tower with their families.  Below are pictures of all the things we saw while at the Tower.

Jordan in front of the Bloody Tower, where two young princes were held captive and were allegedly murdered.

Our beefeater tour guide at the entrance to the Tower of London.

Traitor's Gate

A look at the inside of the Tower of London complex.

The Tower Bridge and the White Tower.

The Apartments where the Beefeater's and their families live- marked by the blue doors.
Ancient graffiti ascribed to Lady Jane Grey, a prisoner at the Tower of London.

More "graffiti" in the Prison at the tower.
The executioner's block.

The Tower Green, where the most prestigious executions were carried out, including Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, both wives of Henry VIII.

Jordan next to this MASSIVE sword.  Look at that hilt!!! Jordan is not a small man, either,  at 6'4".

Henry VIII's armor--is that codpiece really necessary?

The swords that belonged to each of these respective kings.

A lance and other pieces of armor and weaponry, all found inside the White Tower.

The world's biggest and smallest suits of armor, one at 6'8", the other made for a three-year-old.

A modern art piece made up of weapons and armor.

The armory under the White Tower.
Jordan in the White Tower.

We got to climb on the castle walls here!

Jordan and I on the tower walls, looking out on the Tower Bridge.
The hill outside the Tower of London where most of the executions actually took place.
After lunch at the Tower cafe, we headed up to Leicester Square, where we got our theatre tickets at the TKTS booth.  Then we took a stroll through Covent Garden, saw the Royal Opera House, and then walked through the area of London known as "The City" to see St. Paul's Cathedral. 
Covent Garden

The courtyard leading to Covent Garden.

The back entrance to the Royal Opera House.

The front of the Royal Opera House

Inside the lobby of the opera house, they had costumes from the Royal Ballet on display!

On the way to St. Paul's, we saw the grand Royal Courts of Justice.

We just had to take a picture!! Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd...

Well, hello St. Paul's!

Jordan outside St. Paul's.  
By the time we got here, we were just too tired to go in to see another cathedral :)  We went back to the hotel to rest for an hour or so before we went to dinner at Bella Italia in Leicester Square and going to see The 39 Steps on the West End!!
Piccadilly Circus.

The 39 Steps at the Criterion Theatre.  It was thoroughly enjoyable and such a great night out!

Out at the theatre! (As you can tell, I got the chance to wash my hair in our break).
The next day, we were off to Cambridge, so we got right back to the hotel for some rest!

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