Published: September 20th 2008August 26th 2008
My time of summer break has dwindled down to its last week and half before I must start earning my paycheck again and what better way to prepare for school then take another trip? I decided on my way back to Dubai I would do some sight seeing. Thus, I stopped off at London for a day, then to Spain for about a week.
London I have enjoyed in small pieces. Often this is my stopping through point back home, or to Dubai. With this in mind, I thought it best to see London for a day here, then a day there and so on. Besides the exchange rate being so brutal (the pound was worth nearly double the dollar when I was there), I've really enjoyed the city and could imagine how living in London might be. Of course, there is history just about everywhere you look. Be it churches, government buildings, museums, or even just historic living areas, walking around London allows for a lot to be seen. Besides that, London is a very international city. While riding the Metro (subway), I see very different people every time. Most importantly, London is a big city that brings big
For my 22 hours in London (flight connections were tricky on this one), I decided to see the Tower of London, and allow the walk there to entertain me. Getting dropped off from the Metro, I walked across Tower Bridge on my way to the Tower of London. I have to admit, just walking across the Bridge that is famous for so many things reminded me about the joys of traveling. At first I was worried if I would have a hard time enjoying the trip, being soon before school and traveling a lot already. Once I saw the bridge and began walking closer, I realized I was going to see another beautiful thing that I have dreamed about doing. Many people often mistake the Tower Bridge for London Bridge, but the London Bridge is close downstream.
After the walk across, seeing the Tower of London was pretty impressive. Of course, it has changed a lot since it was first built. There are actually ruins of a wall from a previous Roman fortress. Obviously, this location has been important for a long time. Building for the current tower started back in 1078. Originally it was a
Beefeater and Bryant
Now I look really American.
fortress, prison (for high officials) and a Royal palace. It has served other important functions since that time as well. Supposedly, this is the most haunted building in all of England. There have been many executions around the Tower, not to mention a lot of torture. An interesting point is that the Tower was used to hold prisoners off an on up to the time of WW II. Now though it’s mainly a tourist attraction and a landmark.
One legend is that ravens have to always remain in the Tower, or London will fall. There used to be wild ravens, but eventually the Tower housed ravens and kept them on the grounds. During WW II, all but 1 raven was killed. Since that time, the ravens have been re-introduced, and London has been maintained. In the Tower also is placed the Crown jewels. Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed, and the British are serious when they mean no pictures. I have never seen so much gold and so many diamonds in my life. Royalty does have some wealth, which was made apparent.
Walking through the Tower and hearing the stories, seeing the structure and exhibit was a great time.
There are free tours with guards that I recommend. Walking around and getting lost inside is a lot of fun as well. While the history can be overwhelming, I had the impression the people in the Tower were proud of the landmark and what it stood for. Everyone was very helpful and nice, and glad to explain more about the history. London certainly has a lot of that to offer.
Once the sun was beginning to set, I made my way back to the hotel and had some great English beer and food. After a short 5 hours of sleep, I was awake at 4 AM, getting on a bus to the airport for Spain. London again made the stop worth my time.
There are more photos below