Thursday 6/27: Monument & Tower

After visiting the museum, we had lunch on the lawn outside, during which time we were watched from the window by some weird museum-goers as we munched our sandwiches (I went with ham and cream cheese today, one of the more normal available options by my standards).

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It was cool to eat practically against the remains of the original London wall, which I read a bit about in Peter Ackroyd’s London: The Biography. The wall appears and vanishes at random throughout the city, some slices in stone, some in refurbished brick; the whole thing seems pretty odd to me, but the citizens move by these crumbled ruins without so much as a passing glance.

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At the risk of sounding like a Big Amurican Turist, I submit that Wall Street does, also, pay homage to its U.S equivalent: Wall Street. Just look at these dapper folks.

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Lots of photogenic buildings as well.

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Even the Starbucks here are amazing.

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We have yet to ride one of these double-deckers, but I love looking at ’em.

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Sir Christopher Wren’s gold flame-topped Monument to the Great Fire of 1666! At 202 feet high, it’s the tallest isolated stone column in the world. Here it is, all 311 steps of it!

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We climbed every one of them.

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For our efforts, we were rewarded with this unbelievable view.

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For the record: if you go up, don’t look down. I probably spent 600 years retaking this photo because my hands were shaking and making it blurry.

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Then, back to Earth! Lots easier, but it’ll make you dizzy.

P.S. Don’t forget to check out the engravings at the base!

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After the Monument, we hit the road (sidewalk, rather) and moseyed on over to the Tower. Lots of sights here. And LOTS of tourists.

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Have I mentioned how much I love Brandy?
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Followed by… the Tower Bridge!!! (Fun fact: this is the bridge that the kiddy song “London Bridge” actually refers to.)

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Storming the tower!

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I get really excited about lighting.
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DRAMATIC LIGHTING.

The Tower of London: What ominous secrets lie herein…? LENS FLARE. DUN DUN DUNNN.

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And then we wait in line to see the Crown Jewels.

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There is a guard outside. I briefly contemplate how terrible a guard I would make, being incapable of suppressing laughter at anything. I even laughed thinking about it. I’m laughing now.

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Sadly, photography is not permitted inside this exhibit. But I suggest visiting it. My favorite pieces were probably King Henry VIII and Queen Victoria’s crowns. I also liked the gold platters. One piece that’s no longer in use but was once enjoyed at post-coronation feasts was a huge gold punchbowl. It was insane. I could bathe in that thing.

So then we were free to split off and explore. Which I gladly did.

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These dudes were just all over the place.

“Please move to the side, lady!” they told Ivy, a girl from Houston, as they approached her from behind.

“Lady?” she hissed to us. “Not even ma’am?” Personally, I was hoping for something along the lines of “duckie” or “love.”

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After a visit to Bloody Tower and a look at the various torture methods employed there throughout history (nothing to photograph, really), Brandy, Ivy, and I decided to check out the Fusiliers’ Museum.

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Thought this was pretty. A silver wine cooler presented by King Henry VI to Colonel Lord Frederick Fitzclarence for his Regiment’s exceptional service.

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A British Army winter uniform!

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King George V, Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Fusiliers, in uniform. Looks like a pretty fun guy.

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Here’s Brandy trying on the Fusiliers’ pack, used for operations. The one on display was on a quarter of the real thing’s weight, and it was still nearly impossible to lift for everyone who we saw tried.

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There was an entire room dedicated to medals.

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Major John Andre’s last words really struck a chord with me. (Also, the blurb about him involved a recalling of his service during the American War of Independence. This was interesting–the British take on the war sounded just a smudge different than the American version I’ve grown up with. Y’know, I’ll just include that for you too.)

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Here’s the hall. Reverent pictures of war heroes, one and all.

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And, of course, a snapshot of the costumed staff! They were very distraught by the drizzle; I think they were off to hairspray their wigs in this photo.

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All around, a great day!

One thought on “Thursday 6/27: Monument & Tower

  1. Looks like you’re having a blast Mackie!!!!
    My favorite pic is the awkward hands at your side picture! Hahaha! It’s cute!
    Can’t wait to hear about your next adventure!

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