Trip Start May 08, 2004
Trip End May 23, 2004

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Flag of United Kingdom  ,
Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Janice: We still haven't seen any rain! It was very overcast today and, at times, cool, but we had a fabulous day sightseeing. Nick will describe what we saw ...

Nick: Well, last night we went grocery shopping and got a few things to keep us satisfied. We woke up at about 7:30-ish today and I sort of lay in bed and watched tv while my aunt got pruned up.

The first thing we did this morning was go to the Tower of London. I really wanted to see the Bloody Tower, just because it's bloody, but that's not the point of the story.

We started off by getting there just in time to get a tour. The guide wears a uniform for the Queen and I think his best name would be Beefeater. Because that's what they're all called, so really that's their name. He started off by telling us about the castle, about its history, who owned it and who made it. Then he got into the good stuff about all the prisoners and all the torture and all the head chopping off and how they put the heads on pikes and then put them over the Thames River for all to see and let the ravens peck their eyes for a mid-noon snack.

It was very interesting to hear about all the people who got their heads chopped off. I think the best part was probably learning about the two young princes who were smothered to death and later they found their bones under the stairs of the castle. A cool story about the White Tower is that they say that when all the ravens leave, the White Tower will crumble and the Tower of London will fall. But, in this case, they kind of cheated and clipped the last six ravens' wings. So now every little while you can look on the grass and see a fat raven hopping along.

We got to see where they buried about 1,500 bodies -- one with its head still attached. Out of them all, they only identified 33 when they dug them up.

One of the amazing things I saw at the Tower of London were the Crown Jewels. Practically every other step you'd see something engraved in gold or something gold or with jewels and mink. We saw many swords and shields and things like that. Then we had a bit of fun at the gift shop! I learned that when you were a prisoner here you could pay to be treated nicely, almost like a king. But they were prisoners -- I don't get it! Weird.

After that, we had a small lunch, then went up to the Tower Bridge and got a small tour. We saw how the first one they had there was destroyed and how they got the idea of making a second one. Also, how who came up with it and how it works. A cool part of that was going into the engine room and looking at all the hydraulic pumps and engines. There wasn't too much to see, but it was very interesting.

Now, one of my favourite things of the day that we did was go on a warship!!!

It was so cool! We had a can of hot chocolate and then were off to the HMS Belfast. The first thing I did was go in and check out the turrets. It was brilliant! The inside of the turrets was cool because we got to see how the aiming and firing was done. Then we went a bit higher until we were at the very front of the boat which was very cool. After that we went to top of the ship where they drive it and control the guns. Right after that we went down under deck and had some fun looking at the infirmary and stuff like that. We learned about its history and got a little lost. I learned my Auntie Janice has bad knees. She couldn't go down the ladders much. I would go down and she followed slowly after. There were about eight levels to the ship, but I still think the coolest were the turrets and the guns.

After that, we went to the front of the ship and watched the Tower Bridge rise for a cool old-fashioned galleon go through. Brilliant.

Janice: Nick can certainly give you a play-by-play! Not much gets past him. We sure had a full day and we're having loads of fun! After the HMS Belfast, we walked a few blocks to visit the Britain at War Experience. This museum explains what it was like in London during the Blitz. It would be very interesting to visit when it wasn't full of school kids as it was today!

We've now had a few hours rest, watching British TV and enjoying our leftover Bangers and Mash from last night and we're about to head out BACK to the Tower of London for the Ceremony of the Keys. We wrote to the Tower several months ago for special passes that will allow us to accompany the guards while they lock the Tower as they've done every night for hundreds of years.

Tomorrow will be another full day with museums and the Changing of the Guard.

Stay tuned.

PS:aunty janice is the one sleeping on the job not me shes taking 2 hour naps and i hope her knees don't give out.
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