On Thursday of my visit to London, I headed up to the Tower of London. Before entering the place, I went looking for some food, and got a mediocre partial English breakfast at a pub. The person who served me did not seem to be experienced at serving breakfast, as she had to consult with someone to figure out what was in the different breakfast offerings on the menu. She also gave me tea in a cup that didn’t match its saucer (it barely balanced on the saucer).
While heading to the Tower entrance, I saw a big field of poppies around it:
Here’s a close-up (click to make bigger):
They’re made of porcelain, and attached to wires. They’re a commemoration of World War I – more info can be found here.
I went in and waited for a Yeoman Warder (Beefeater) tour to start. While waiting, I noticed interesting looking buildings across the river:
Soon, this Warder, named Moira, showed up to start the tour:
Here is the entrance through the outer wall:
Some shots inside:
Moira talked about a number of executions and other bloody stuff that happened in centuries past in the Tower (which is actually a big fortress with multiple towers in it). The tour did not actually go inside any of the buildings – we were left to do that on our own after the tour. At the tour’s conclusion, she took questions, and there were some interesting ones. For one, the Scottish independence vote was still a week in the future at that point, so she was asked her opinion (as she is Scottish). She demurred. She was also asked about the first female Yeoman Warder, to which she answered, “Yes.” The questioner then said, “When was that?” and she replied, “I started in 2007.” I later learned that not only is she the first woman to serve in the position, she is still the only one to have done so.
This portcullis is in the bottom of the “Bloody Tower”:
and here is the top of it, inside:
In another building, graffiti carved by people held prisoner there:
A guard outside the residence used by the royal family, if they are ever staying at the Tower:
and this guard is outside the building which houses the Crown Jewels:
The White Tower, at the center of the complex:
A narrow window:
There are ravens kept at the tower:
You can tell they’re used to people, as you can get quite close to them:
This is the Traitor’s Gate, where prisoners were brought in directly from the Thames (safer than bringing them in by land):
A cannon decorated with dragons:
I exited the Tower on the river side, and was able to see the sort of moat there:
as well as the other side of the Traitor’s Gate:
And here is the Tower Bridge:
From there, I took a bus west, and got off by St. Paul’s Cathedral:
I then walked south, to head over the river on the Millennium Bridge:
The view from the bridge:
Looking back toward St. Paul’s:
The bridge as seen from the south bank:
I was headed for the Tate Modern museum, which is pictured here from the bridge:
I spent a few hours there, especially interested in their surrealist exhibit (they had at least one Dali). It’s also generally fun to see cubism and other 20th century stuff.
After the Tate, I went to a pub just downriver, and got takeaway fish and chips (with mushy peas). It was quite good, and included a big slab of fish.
After dinner, I headed into Shakespeare’s Globe, a recreation of the original 16th century theater, to see The Comedy of Errors.
I had bought a ticket to stand in the yard, as it was cheap, and why not be right up by the stage? My feet were a bit sore from days of walking, but I got in early enough that I was able to get a spot right at the stage and could lean on it.
Here’s the interior of the place:
and the exterior when I left later:
The play was quite funny. I had never seen it before, but this is the Shakespeare play that involves a huge misunderstanding, and mistaken identity… 😉
The Millennium Bridge was lit up after dark:
I walked upriver to Blackfriar’s Bridge, and just south of there I was able to catch a bus back to my lodging.