Our first full day in London was a busy one.
We navigated the Tube (underground train) system to get from our Airbnb to Tower Hill. Tower Hill is where public executions were held in the “old days.” Private executions were held inside the Tower of London grounds.
We visited the Tower of London for several hours. It was moderately cool—in the low 40s—when we arrived at 9:30 and that may have helped keep the early attendance down. We were able to walk and view without encountering big crowds. My recollection for 20+ years ago was the Crown Jewels exhibit was overcrowded to the point where I could see almost nothing. This time, visibility was excellent and we were able to take our time. Unfortunately, pictures were not allowed.
Abby was impressed with the ravens at the Tower complex. She was surprised at how large they are. The myth is that the ravens are so important to the Tower that if they leave, the Tower will fall. They seem to know something of their importance and strut around, in complete charge of the place. Abby was pretty sure they were contemplating her for lunch. It’s difficult to see in this picture, but Abby’s body language said “This is as close as I am getting to these hungry ravens.”
We walked the grounds and viewed the (now empty) moat from the battlements. We listened to one of the uniformed (not costumed,as he pointed out) warders talk to a crowd about torture and executions. We had a quick visit to the Bloody Tower, where for centuries prisoners were kept.
We had a nice snack in the cafeteria before heading for the British Museum.
Getting to the British Museum from the Tower Hill underground station was trickier than we would have liked. I have an app that guides me to the station and proper train platform and where to make connections. This time, the app sent us off in the wrong direction so we had to backtrack.
The British Museum was not too busy when we arrived, but it was much busier when we left. The halls we were in were easy to navigate and we dipped into a number of different areas—without even leaving the ground floor. We had planned to visit the Greek and Roman exhibits, but we got caught up in in the Egyptian and earlier exhibits. I’m convinced that it would take many days to even skim all the exhibits.
The highlight of the Museum visit was an exhibit called “The World of Stonehenge.” It was appropriate for us to visit because we will visit Stonehenge on Tuesday and we wanted more background. The items on display came not only from Stonehenge, but also Scotland and Wales, Ireland (including Newgrange, which Patricia and I saw on our last visit to Ireland), and Europe. The exhibit was well curated and we enjoyed it as well as learned a lot from it.
Getting back to the Airbnb was easy: just one train change.
We took a brief rest and, instead of going out to dinner, I walked down Baker Street and picked up some real Italian pizza. Abby had soup instead of pizza, but she did share dessert. Dessert was something called Nutella Ferraro Rocher which was really good. Abby even graciously ate most of the extra piece of dessert so that it would not go to waste.
Abby’s contribution to today’s post follows.
I had so much fun today! The Tower of London was really fun, and I enjoyed looking at the history of the prison. We walked along and eventually encountered some ravens. I had no idea they were that ginormous, and I was stunned at first. They looked like demon birds, and the look one of them gave me didn’t help my assumption. However, we took some pictures and we were on our merry way. I also liked seeing all of the Crown Jewels. They were absolutely gorgeous, and I was shocked to see some that dated back to 1661 CE.
We also went to the British Museum. My favorite room was the one with all the Egyptian artifacts. The Rosetta Stone was a lot smaller than I had imagined, but that didn’t make it any less amazing. I really liked seeing all of the old statues, too. I found it really interesting that they were able to remain in such good condition for all these years. Overall, I had such a wonderful time and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.
We added about 50 pictures to the pictures page.
On the map below you can zoom in on the tracks (in blue) to follow our path as we visited the Tower and the Museum. To see a larger version of the map, click the box in the top right of the map area.