Saturday, April 23, 2011

Time Travel

We are heading into the last week of posts for the A-Z blog challenge.
It's been fun and challenging and I have to say a little bit emotional revisiting so many treasured family memories.

T is for Tower

this image courtesy of free

Often people we know or who hubs has worked with somewhere will call to tell us they have just a day or part of a day to spend in London and what would we recommend they try and see. I usually tell them to take the Red Bus Tour for an overview of the city but to hop off at the Tower because if I could only see one 'sight' in London this would be it.

The Tower was founded around 1066 as part of the Norman conquest of England. There are actually 22 towers on the property but the name comes from the White Tower which was built by William the Conqueror in 1078. The history associated with the Tower is long and fascinating. I have been here countless times but never tire of listening to the Beefeaters tell its secrets and tales...

There are twelve guards at the Tower called Yeoman Warders. They're responsible for watching any prisoners at the tower and guarding the Crown Jewels but they also act as tour guides. Their nickname is 'beefeater' and that likely comes from a time when they were paid a portion of their salary in beef. There is also a Yeoman Warder Ravenmaster who is responsible for caring for the ravens of the Tower of London. Ravens have lived at the Tower since King Charles II rule and legend says if they ever leave the tower and monarchy both will crumble.

The Tower was used as a prison but at one time was also a royal residence. It has also served as an armoury, a treasury, home of the Royal Mint, and home to the Crown Jewels which you can see there today. I'm not even going to try to get into the history of this place because it is so long and deep I wouldn't know where to begin. I will just say it's a great place to learn a lot and don't miss it if you visit London.

When you leave the Tower you will find yourself looking at one of the iconic sights of the city...The Tower Bridge. This is not London Bridge which I am going to mention in an upcoming post.

You can walk across the bridge and even go inside to the exhibition but one of my favorite ways to see it is from the water.

We took these pictures on the ride back from Greenwich, a village in the southeastern corner of London that is full of maritime history and home to the Cutty Sark, the world's last tea clipper built in the mid 1800's.

The Cutty Sark was damaged extensively during a 2007 fire and is currently being restored but we were able to see it prior to the fire.

The Royal Observatory is in Greenwich and it is here you can stand at the Prime Meridian with one foot in the Western hemisphere and one in the Eastern hemisphere.

This is where Greenwich mean time originates and is the official starting point for each new day and year.

The girls and I were not that excited to see a museum and exhibit about 'time' but it was something hubs really wanted to do and as is so often the case, we ended up loving it.

A really interesting place to explore...this is the view as you near the Observatory and that's the the Royal Naval College in the background.

And then of course we had glorious sunshine on the boat ride back into the city. The bridge opened just for us as we were passing underneath...

Okay, maybe not just for us but it made for a perfect way to end the day.
Who says the sun never shines in London?


  1. I have only been able to visit the Tower of London once. What a fascinating place with so much history. It is a place I really do hope to visit again.

  2. Thanks for the travelogue. I love London. Stopping by from the A to Z Challenge. My goal is to visit all 1282 blogs. How about you?

  3. I loved London. I wish I would have had more time there. I've only spent three trips in London and could go back again!

  4. Wow, I feel like I am repeating myself ... but I love seeing the pictures of your travels. You guys certainly made the most of your time abroad. Ah, the memories you made. Wishing you & your family a blessed Easter.

  5. I've been keeping a list of suggestions from you like the bus tour. I think the Tower bridge is beautiful. I know they have a London bridge in Arizona. I haven't seen it but my kids have.

  6. I agree with Nanato, I feel like I´m repeating myself. But I really do love to read your travel reports. It´s much more interesting than going to the webpage or such.
    Hope you are enjoying your girls this weekend!

  7. The Tower of London is something I have only seen from the outside. Now, I must make an effort to get inside. Great perspective from the boat look upwards at the bridge!

  8. Happy Easter! Love your Tower shots...I have been to London many times and never has the sun shone it's face....nice to see in pictures!!

  9. I enjoyed your pictures from London. Looks like you had a fun sightseeing. Are you excited about the wedding? I will be glued to the TV on Friday. We just got back from an amazing trip to Florida. Sorry I have not been around for a while.
    Happy Easter